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MD: Key vote on chicken manure plant delayed until January

WBOC | Posted on November 14, 2017

After months of debate, the public was expecting a vote at Wednesday night's Crisfield City Council meeting.  But that won't happen now until January 2018.  People in Crisfield have been adamant about their rejection to the Carvel Hall project.  The city must make a decision to lift the existing ordinance that keeps Clean Bay Renewables from opening a chicken manure energy plant in Crisfield. Neighbors have concerns like odor, noise, traffic and pollution.  John Davey Wilson lives next door to the old Carvel Hall building where the plant could potentially set up shop.  He says the idea keeps him up at night. 

Icahn Subpoenaed US Attorney Wants Information on Energy Investor's Involvement With RFS

DTN | Posted on November 9, 2017

Though no longer an adviser to President Donald Trump, billionaire energy investor Carl Icahn may now be the subject of a federal investigation related to his involvement with the Renewable Fuel Standard. The U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York has subpoenaed Icahn's company, Icahn Enterprises LP, for information on Icahn's work with the president on the RFS, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission on Nov. 3."The U.S. Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York recently contacted Icahn Enterprises L.P. seeking production of information pertaining to our and Mr. Icahn's activities relating to the Renewable Fuels Standard and Mr. Icahn's role as an adviser to the president," the SEC filing said.

Illinois House, Senate energy panels discuss Dynegy 'bailout' request

The News Gazette | Posted on November 9, 2017

Opponents referred to a package of bills to benefit Texas-based energy company Dynegy Inc. as a "multimillion-dollar state of Illinois bailout" and urged Illinois lawmakers to act cautiously on the proposals. Meeting jointly Tuesday, the Senate and House energy committees took no votes on the bills drafted to benefit Dynegy, which operates eight coal-fired power plants in central and southern Illinois. The company has warned lawmakers that under downstate Illinois' current electricity-distribution system, it may have to close at least four of its power plants by 2021 and possibly sooner."These closures would cause the loss of almost 550 well-paying union jobs and threaten approximately 4,000 indirect jobs," Dynegy said in a statement.The appeal from Dynegy is similar to one advanced successfully last year by Exelon Corp., which got state help to continue the operation of two downstate nuclear plants, including one at Clinton.But some of the groups that supported Exelon's plan now oppose Dynegy's. In fact, nearly all of the testimony, including from the attorney general's office, consumer groups and others, was in opposition.

As solar booms in Michigan, townships tackle land use questions

Midwest Energy News | Posted on November 9, 2017

With the declining costs of solar energy and Michigan’s increased renewable portfolio standard, small townships throughout the state are confronting challenging land-use questions amid the increase in large-scale solar proposals. Reactions have varied from blocking utility-scale solar projects until local zoning rules are adopted to accommodating developers as they amass land for projects that require hundreds of acres.But in most of these cases, there were no local regulations permitting large-scale solar projects when developers came. Local planners are now revisiting their zoning rules and figuring out where large-scale solar projects could be located. It is similar to the way communities first responded to wind development here roughly 10 years ago, though solar brings a unique set of land-use questions.

Cost Benefits of Switching to Solar: A State-by-State Guide

The Simple Dollar | Posted on November 9, 2017

The advantages of solar power and other renewable energy sources are colossal, and arguably necessary for our survival. On solar, the electric grid becomes more efficient and resilient to natural disasters (including hail) and disruptions — not to mention scalable to the 1.3 billion people on our planet living without electricity. On solar, power becomes cleaner, moving us that much closer toward the net zero goal advocated by climate researchers. But the benefits don’t stop there. Solar costs are falling. In fact, the installed price for residential solar systems is less than half of what it was in 2009 (due in large part to technological and manufacturing advances from cleantech leaders like Tesla, SolarCity, and SunEdison). After installing an 8kW (8,000-watt) solar system, the average American stands to save over $23,000 on electricity in 25 years, which is the average, ever-increasing lifespan of a residential solar system.

Peak oil? Majors aren't buying into the threat from renewables

Reuters | Posted on November 9, 2017

Two decades ago, BP set out to transcend oil, adopting a sunburst logo to convey its plans to pour $8 billion over a decade into renewable technologies, even promising to power its gas stations with the sun. That transformation - marketed as “Beyond Petroleum” - led to manufacturing solar panels in Australia, Spain and the United States and erecting wind farms in the United States and the Netherlands. Today, BP might be more aptly branded “Back to Petroleum” after exiting or scaling back its renewable energy investments. Lower-cost Chinese components upended its solar panel business, which the firm shed in 2011. A year later, BP tried to sell its U.S. wind power business but couldn’t get a buyer.Even as governments and environmentalists forecast a peak in oil demand within a generation - and China and India say they may eventually ban gasoline and diesel vehicles - leaders of the world’s biggest oil firms are not buying the argument that their traditional business faces any imminent threat.

Can Puerto Rico Be The Model For A Renewables-Powered Energy System?

Fast Company | Posted on November 9, 2017

As the island rebuilds from Hurricane Maria, renewable energy storage companies like Sonnen and Tesla are constructing microgrids on the island to create a more resilient system before the next storm strikes. In the small Puerto Rican town of Loíza, after Hurricane Maria took out the power grid, residents started washing clothes in a local river–filled with bacteria that then made many people sick. But at a local church, a new solar microgrid now powers donated laundry machines, along with a refrigerator for food and medicine and outlets for charging phones.The microgrid–a combination of solar panels, battery storage, and other equipment, completed last week–is one of 15 that the battery-storage company Sonnen is rapidly deploying with partners over the next several weeks to respond to the disaster on the island, which is still mostly without power more than a month after the hurricane. Like another microgrid that Tesla is building next to a children’s hospital in San Juan, it’s a renewable alternative to the diesel generators that are also in use. But it’s also one piece of what could become a much more renewably powered grid for the entire island.The case for a shift to more renewables seems clear. Sunshine is more abundant in the Caribbean than in California or Spain. The amount of wind is competitive with states like Texas, which leads the U.S. in wind energy production. New renewable energy is affordable to build, and could help cut electric bills in a place where residents have been paying twice as much as Americans who live on the mainland.


Ohio ruling expected to shrink credits paid for sending excess electricity to power grid

The Columbus Dispatch | Posted on November 9, 2017

Central Ohioans who have rooftop solar panels receive a credit on their electric bills for selling excess power back into the grid. After a ruling Wednesday by state utility regulators, that credit is likely to shrink.For an American Electric Power customer, the credit would be reduced by about 30 percent.The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio issued the 3-0 ruling in a case dealing with the rules for so-called “net metering,” a term that refers to the two-way flow of electricity for consumers who generate power through small-scale solar panels, wind turbines and the like.Right now, an AEP customer producing excess electricity receives a credit that is the equivalent of 5.86 cents per kilowatt hour sent back into the grid. For example, if a customer produces an excess of 100 kilowatt hours in a month, the current credit is $5.86. The amount rolls over and is applied to the next monthly bill.The PUCO ruling says that some parts of this credit no longer need to be applied. In the AEP example, this would reduce the amount of the credit by $1.81, or 31 percent percent, based on a review of AEP rates and confirmed by the company.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg Ethanol and Big Oil Are Advertising on Fox News to Try to Get Trump’s Attention

Bloomberg | Posted on November 8, 2017

Big Corn and Big Oil are taking their long-running fight over renewable fuels to Fox News in a bid for the attention of one of the network’s biggest fans -- President Donald Trump.  Advocates of ethanol -- the corn-based fuel that is mixed with gasoline in the U.S. -- started running a television commercial Monday on Fox News using campaign footage of Trump pledging to support the government’s existing Renewable Fuel Standard and thanking the president for upholding his promise. Last week, the oil industry ran an advertisement on the Fox & Friends show saying that Trump is “caving to ethanol lobbyists” and putting thousands of manufacturing jobs at risk with his support for the program.Other industries are also banking on Fox News being the way to Trump’s heart. Fox News host and Trump friend Sean Hannity cut an ad last month advocating for the U.S. solar industry in a campaign against import tariffs.

Syria joins Paris Climate Agreement, US only Nation Left Out

CNN | Posted on November 8, 2017

The United States is now a party of one in its stance on climate change.Syria will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the US as the only country in the world not signed on to the landmark climate deal.Syrian officials announced their intention to ratify the accord at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP23) in Bonn, Germany."I confirm that the Syrian Arab Republic supports the implementation of Paris climate change accord, in order to achieve the desired global goals and to reflect the principles of justice and shared responsibility, but in accordance with the capabilities of each of the signatories," Syria's Deputy Minister of Local Administration and Environment M. Wadah Katmawi said.Nicaragua was the only other hold-out, based on criticisms that it was "insufficient" in addressing climate change.However, the Central American country recently announced its intent to join the agreement.