Skip to content Skip to navigation

Energy News

Growth of green energy sector surges in Minnesota

Minnesota Star Tribune | Posted on October 5, 2017

Minnesota's fast-growing clean-energy economy, rooted in wind, solar, conservation, technology and even software, is a change for a state that historically imported its energy.

Rick Perry manages to unite oil, gas, wind and solar — against him

The Washington Post | Posted on October 4, 2017

On Monday, a coalition of 11 energy lobbying groups asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to delay issuing and enforcing a new rule issued by the Energy Department. Energy Secretary Perry had asked for FERC to streamline the rulemaking process but the groups want time to weigh in during the traditional comment period. The coalition attracted some strange bedfellows, including renewable-energy lobbyists such as the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association and oil and gas heavyweights such as the Natural Gas Supply Association and the American Petroleum Institute.  “This is the first time we've filed a motion in conjunction with API,” said Gil Jenkins, a spokesman for the American Council on Renewable Energy, one of the groups in the coalition.“So, it's unprecedented,” Jenkins added. “Just as this very action taken by DOE.”Here's the backrgound. On Friday, Perry, issued a sweeping proposal to redefine how coal and nuclear power plants are compensated for the electricity they provide to the power grid.In a letter and proposed regulation, Perry asked FERC to consider issuing new rules to ensure that nuclear and coal-fired plants are compensated not only for the electricity they provide to homes and businesses, but for the reliability they add to the grid.

Minnesota once again leads the Midwest in annual energy efficiency ranking

Midwest Energy News | Posted on October 2, 2017

Minnesota is the only Midwest state ranked in the top 10 of the annual American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. The state’s ninth place standing, announced this week, topped Michigan and Illinois (tied for 11th); Iowa (19th); Wisconsin (24th); Ohio (31st) and Indiana (40th). South Dakota and North Dakota rounded out the bottom.Last year Minnesota ranked 10th on the scorecard and was, once again, the only Midwest state to make the Top 10.

EPA Pressed on RFS Changes

DTN | Posted on October 2, 2017

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering a major change to the Renewable Fuel Standard that could include offering biofuel credits attached to gallons of ethanol exported from the United States. Already this week, the U.S. biofuels industry took a punch to the gut when the EPA announced it was considering more cuts in some biofuel volumes in addition to cuts already proposed in the Renewable Fuel Standard.Now, another media outlet, citing anonymous sources, reported the agency is considering a proposal from Valero Energy to leave renewable identification numbers, or RINs, attached to U.S. ethanol gallons produced in the United States and exported. Currently, RINs are removed from exported gallons.Valero said in Aug. 31 public comments to EPA on the RFS that keeping RINs attached to exports would help ease pressure on the RINs market.When contacted by DTN an EPA spokesman said, "EPA is currently seeking input from all stakeholders involved. Nothing has been finalized at this time."

The future of wind turbines could be bladeless

CNBC | Posted on October 2, 2017

The design of Vortex's generators offers a potentially revolutionary shift from today's traditional designs, blades and all. One key facet of the Vortex design is that it uses less material than conventional turbines, meaning less maintenance as well as less noise. Vortex is not the only business looking to develop new ideas and technology in the field of wind energy. Kite Power Systems, for example, is a U.K.-based business that wants to use kites to harness wind energy. Earlier this year, CNBC spoke to researchers in the U.S. looking to develop vast wind turbines taller than the Eiffel Tower.According to Vortex co-founder David Suriol, the business is targeting the residential market. "My vision, and I think it's the vision of the team, is to change the landscape," he said.Looking at the bigger picture, the executive director of RenewableUK predicted a bright future when it came to both renewables in general and wind.

Feds move forward on asking states to track car emissions

Chicago Tribune | Posted on October 2, 2017

Federal officials moved forward with requirements that states track vehicle emissions on federal highways after months of delays that prompted California and seven other states to sue. But they might repeal the new rules next year anyway, rendering this week's decision moot. The rules require state transportation departments to track on-road emissions of greenhouse gas emissions by looking at gas purchased and miles traveled on federal highways. States must then set emissions targets, with the goal of reducing them over time. Emissions from cars, trucks and other vehicles make up roughly 27 percent of the nation's total greenhouse emissions.In the short term, the rules will move forward. But federal officials will also undertake a fresh review of whether they're necessary or could be made better.

Maryland sues EPA to get 36 coal-fired plants to increase pollution controls

Utility Dive | Posted on September 28, 2017

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced yesterday that his state will sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its decision not to require 36 coal-fired power plant units in five upwind states to run their existing air pollution controls more frequently. In July, Maryland officials indicated they were considering a lawsuit, after the EPA rejected a request to broaden the roster of states in the region responsible for helping address cross-state pollution. EPA allowed itself a six-month extension to act on the petition, which expired in mid July. Maryland estimates that, on some days, up to 70% of its ozone problem originates from emissions in upwind states.

Illinois Supreme Court ruling leaves wind-power line up in the air

Chicago Business | Posted on September 28, 2017

The Illinois Supreme Court has dealt a punishing blow to the proposed clean-power "super highway" designed to transmit output from Iowa and Dakotas wind farms to the Chicago market. The state's high court today upheld an Illinois Appellate Court ruling​ that concluded state regulators improperly approved the Rock Island Clean Line project. 

EPA seeking input on ‘potential reductions’ in RFS volumes

Agri-Pulse | Posted on September 27, 2017

A notice from the Environmental Protection Agency has the biofuels community up in arms as they face the prospect of a potential hit to renewable fuel blending levels.  the EPA released a Notice of Data Availability (NODA) giving public notice and inviting comment on “potential options for reductions in the 2018 biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel volumes, and/or the 2019 biomass-based diesel volume under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program.” A 15-day comment period will be triggered when the NODA is published in the Federal Register.  In July, the EPA announced Renewable Volume Obligations for 2018 as well as biomass-based diesel for 2019 at levels that didn’t exactly thrill biofuels supporters. The biodiesel RVO was proposed at 2.1 billion gallons, the same level proposed for 2018. That negated some of the happiness about the Trump administration leaving room for 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuel, the amount called for in the legislation that created the RFS.In the NODA, the agency discusses reductions of biomass-based diesel by 315 million gallons, lowering the advanced biofuel and total renewable fuel RVO by the equivalent of 473 million ethanol Renewable Identification Numbers, or RINs. The NODA cites concerns over biodiesel imports which it says “could affect our analysis” of factors used to set the Renewable Volume Obligations in the first place.

Florida residents prohibited from using solar energy after Hurricane Irma

Inhabitat | Posted on September 21, 2017

Millions of Florida residents lost power after Hurricane Irma raged through the state. But homeowners with solar energy installations couldn’t use them during the outage – or they’d be breaking the law. State code requires people to connect their homes to the local electric grid – and when parts of it were damaged after the hurricane, even those homeowners with solar power were legally obliged to sit in the dark.