Articles filed under Energy Policy from USA
L.D.1791 was amended to keep the megawatt goals - a small victory for wind advocates - but the bill now also seeks to require developers to prove a project’s economic worth before receiving approval from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. The original bill had included a goal, not a mandate, that a developer substantiate job creation and lower electricity rates.
That tab, according to BPU staff, could be about $187 million if outside financing falls through. Staff members have argued in board documents that because federal grants are not certain, the project would pose technical and economic risks as proposed. A spokesman at the BPU said this does not mean staff members there oppose the project outright, as has been reported by other news outlets.
Commissioner Laura Cobb said the issue was never discussed in a commission meeting. She said she only found out about it when she ran into one of the Terra-Gen representatives, Cobb said. Commissioner Emmett Owen said he had spoken to some people about the wind farm and asked them to come to a commission meeting to talk about it in public. “I think it should have had the backing of a resolution,” Owen said. “I think if they’re pushing legislation or an agenda, as far as the commission is concerned, it needs to start here.”
There are growing concerns that a bill under consideration in Springfield could dampen Illinois' status as a leader in wind energy. Senate Bill 3263 would transfer regulatory responsibilities for wind-energy permitting from counties to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, a move supporters say is needed to address inconsistencies in the state's wind-farm rules.
It has only taken Lillian “Lilli” Coker, 6-year-old kindergartener from Gadsden, Ala., three days to get almost 600 Alabamians to sign a petition encouraging the Alabama legislature to “Say ‘no’ to wind turbines” ...If you would like to help Lilli reach her goal of 1,000 signatures before she presents her petition to the Alabama legislature on Wednesday, CLICK HERE TO SIGN, and take a moment to SHARE this story with your Facebook, Twitter and email friends.
Members of the Senate Finance Committee proposed several amendments, including what some say was a moratorium on wind - a debate that began after Green Mountain Power constructed a 21-turbine wind project in Lowell, which the town supports. "We should not be destroying our ridgelines and dividing our communities for and economic development program that the surrounding communities don't want," said Sen. Peter Galbraith, D-Windham.
The opposition is prepared to assert that wind farms are visual blights and environmental disturbances. But Deepwater’s adversaries believe that the high cost of this particular type of green energy is their strongest argument. A stack of handouts by the door to the Narragansett Town Council chambers raised the alarm. They proclaimed: “Wind Power Invasion Coming Soon,” and warned of a “predatory development,” and “a risky venture,” doomed to fail, while guaranteeing “huge profits” to Deepwater Wind.
The bill as amended adds new criteria to the state's wind-energy goals, including one that says new grid-scale wind power projects in Maine must show how they will reduce the price of electricity, create jobs and bolster the state's manufacturing industries prior to approval for construction by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
Six years into a state plan to charge ahead with wind development, the game may be changing. Gov. Paul LePage has put forth a bill that would shift the goal posts and redefine what the state expects from its wind projects. While the LePage administration argues that the state can and should switch strategies, pro-wind interests say the bill is just the latest attempt to tackle the industry before it can gain any yardage.
Despite acknowledging that it will not pass, Democratic legislators introduced the Wisconsin Renewable Energy Act, which would mandate a 30 percent renewable energy production requirement for utility companies by 2030. Wisconsin’s current renewable energy goal for utility companies is 10 percent by 2015.
Maine set ambitious goals to spur wind power development but now Republican Gov. Paul LePage says the targets don’t really help the state and are so far out of reach as to be meaningless, so why have them?A bill recently introduced by the governor would do away with the megawatt targets and replace them with goals to expand economic opportunities and lower electricity prices.
Demands from conservatives to jettison Kansas' renewable energy standards died down by halftime of the 2014 legislative session, but like the Kansas weather, that could change at any moment. Asked if the effort to repeal renewable energy goals was dead for 2014, Senate President Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, responded. "Oh no. The session is just starting."
Williams said the bill is supported by a myriad of state and local agencies, such as the Public Service Commission, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the governor’s office, the League of Municipalities and utility providers such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and Alabama Power Co. The bill sets up bonds on the projects, institutes property setbacks with decibel limits and places wind energy under the PSC, like other modes of power production.
The state has spent the last several years pushing renewables, imposing mandates on utilities to create markets for the power and offering incentives to spur the construction of wind and solar projects. Last year, more than 242 megawatts of solar generating capacity were installed in the state ...The state has 103 megawatts of wind generating capacity. Using more alternative energy, however, could raise utility bills for households and businesses. Wind power and solar power tend to be more expensive than traditional sources, while large-scale hydropower is cheaper.
House Bill 1168 would prevent the state from approving construction of wind turbines that exceed a range of heights within the Atlantic Test Range used by the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. If approved, the legislation would suspend construction of the 70 megawatt Great Bay wind project in Somerset County.
LD 1750 gives a blank check to foreign and out-of-state industrial wind companies to build thousands of huge turbine towers across the middle and top half of Maine with limited environmental review. Southern Maine voters don’t want wind turbines there, so the Legislature is effectively arranging for hundreds of towers to be built in northern and central Maine where, under current law, residents won’t even get the chance to decide if they want these huge industrial zones or not.
The SEC’s vice-chair, PUC chairwoman Amy Ignatius, told lawmakers, “what used to work as an ad-hoc grouping that would come together for a particular project, now really is becoming overwhelming. The state’s four largest environmental groups presented a united front in favor of the proposal, but stressed that they considered it a work in progress.
State officials under Republican Gov. Paul LePage say the Democratic-supported bill would prevent regulators from receiving information needed to weigh wind energy projects. And Patrick Woodcock, director of the governor’s energy office, spoke against the measure. He told the committee the proposed decision-making process ‘‘would continue to try to simply rubber stamp projects going forward without asking those questions about how can we help this project benefit the Maine people.’’
A recent influx of power-hungry data centers is pushing smaller Eastern Oregon utilities closer to large-utility status. Faced with the prospect of complying with the tougher standards, a lobbyist for the Umatilla Electric Cooperative has been collecting signatures for a ballot measure that would allow Umatilla and other consumer-owned utilities to get around the mandates.
Citizens must have faith that their voices are heard in the Site Evaluation Committee decision-making process. This is a fundamental requirement, and the perception today is that the current siting process does not provide the public with that assurance.