California Energy Bill Gets Approval, Awaits Gov. Brown’s Signature
Lawmakers in the California state legislature granted their final approval with a vote of 33-5 to energy bill AB 327. The bill’s centerpiece would essentially remove the cap from California’s renewable energy portfolio standard, which is already one of the most aggressive in the nation. Once signed into law, AB 327 will empower the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to raise the previously capped 33% requirement for power companies to get their electricity from renewable sources, without the need for legislative action. The bill now heads to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for signing.
Coal Industry Cries Foul Over Obama’s Emission Decree
Representatives of coal-intensive utilities and coal-producing regions said that President Obama would completely outlaw construction of new coal power plants with pending environmental rules. To deal with carbon-dioxide emissions, the Obama administration has been waging a war on coal and has directed the EPA to cap carbon dioxide from power plants as well as require new coal plants to install expensive carbon-capture technology. The Environmental Protection Agency is revising proposed rules from last year in response to opposition by utilities and mining companies. The new version, under review by White House officials is anticipated to be released next week.
Dominican Republic Constructs its First Large-Scale Solar Park
In the Dominican Republic, rapid economic growth and a recent population increase have combined to create rising electricity demand. The island nation still relies on fossil fuels although its solar irradiation is 50 percent higher than Germany. To harness the power potential, German renewable energy developer Wirsol has begun construction on a 64-MW solar photovoltaic park in the Dominican province of Monte Plata. Wirsol plans to connect an initial 32 MW to the grid by the end of 2013.
Global Geothermal Development Steadily Progressing
The global geothermal market is anticipated to reach 12,000 megawatts of capacity by the end of 2013, showing signs of steady expansion. This progression is highlighted by the Geothermal Energy Associations’ recent report entitled: 2013 Geothermal Power: International Market Overview. For comparison, 415 megawatts went online in 2012, while more than 700 megawatts have been commissioned so far in 2013. Ben Matek, GEA analyst and author of the report, says that it is notable that companies looking for new projects have shifted their sights on global market.