Senate and House of Representatives negotiators have agreed on a final rewrite of the US tax code that maintains the wind energy Production Tax Credit phaseout and prevents the Base Erosion Anti-Abuse Tax from destroying the tax equity finance market for renewables, say congressional Republicans. A final vote is expected next week.
States, municipalities and companies across the US are embracing clean energy sources such as wind and solar and the many benefits the industry brings, including job creation, low-cost electricity and better air quality, writes Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club's Ready for 100 campaign. "Community by community, local leaders are demonstrating that a transition away from dirty fuels like coal and fracked gas and toward 100 percent clean energy is already happening," she writes.
A report by GateHouse Media citing negative health effects for people living near wind turbine installations "flies in the face of science," writes blogger Brendan DeMelle. DeMelle writes that the report was based entirely on anecdotal evidence and that the American Wind Energy Association cites 25 scientific reviews to refute the GateHouse report.
Renewables and natural gas are poised to fill the capacity gaps left by retiring coal-burning power plants over the next 10 years, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp. Observers say the report's findings cast doubt on the need for Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed rulemaking favoring nuclear and coal.
EDF Renewable Energy has connected its 154-megawatt Rock Falls project in Oklahoma to the grid and will sell 120 MW of its output to Kimberly-Clark per an existing power purchase agreement, according to the companies. "We applaud America's corporate sector and companies like Kimberly-Clark, who through the purchase of wind energy, demonstrate leadership in the drive for a low-carbon economy," said Executive Vice President Ryan Pfaff.
German turbine maintenance firm Deutsche Windtechnik has opened an office in Houston and will begin offering operations and maintenance services in North America next month. The company said the location will allow it "to react quickly and flexibly to challenges in this new market."
Norway is planning on opening at least one, if not two, new areas suited for floating offshore wind development, according to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy. "The government wishes to accommodate offshore wind power, in particular with demonstrations of floating wind turbines in mind," it said Wednesday.
A coalition of 50 major firms including Amazon, Facebook and Google have petitioned the EU to set a 35% renewable energy target and lift all barriers against power purchase agreements with wind and solar projects. "A strong investment signal is key to further positioning industries with large investment potential in supporting Europe's clean energy goals," they said.
South Florida chefs are pushing for sustainable fishing practices to fight back against overfishing, pollution and other issues threatening the local fish population. "In Florida, where people are so connected to the oceans, one of the most important reasons to think about [sustainable seafood] is because ... we've seen a lot of the species that we enjoy most start to be less available -- and in some cases, unavailable -- for us to enjoy," said Sheila Bowman of the Seafood Watch initiative at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.
A recent Government Accountability Office report says climate change is costing the US government billions of dollars and recommends that the White House use economic data to "help identify significant climate risks and craft appropriate federal responses." The GAO has also released targeted recommendations to various agencies in an effort to get them working on sustainability issues.
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