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Floating solar fuels rig created for seawater electrolysis

Science Daily | Posted on December 21, 2017

Design is the first practical floating solar hydrogen-generating device to perform water electrolysis without pumps or membranes; could lead to low-cost, sustainable hydrogen production


Illinois Praised as Property Tax Model for Wind Farms

Tristates Public Radio | Posted on December 21, 2017

Illinois' taxing model for wind energy companies is touted as one of the best in the country, bringing in $30.4 million in property taxes in 2016, according to economic experts. Barton DeLacy, a tax expert from Chicago, said that the Illinois system is a good model that is very close to the value he gives to wind farms and is much more consistent than in other states.


U.S. renewable energy industry relieved as Republicans keep tax credits

Reuters | Posted on December 18, 2017

The U.S. renewable energy industry expressed relief after a compromise Republican tax bill preserved key tax credits that had been at risk of being removed, but it raised concerns about a provision that may threaten investment in the sector.The final tax bill retains the production and investment tax credits for wind and solar energy that have spurred investment in the fast-growth industries. It also eliminates the alternative minimum tax, which would have reduced the value of those credits.


California and Washington state join carbon pledge in defiance of Trump

Reuters | Posted on December 18, 2017

California and Washington state joined five nations on the Pacific coast of the Americas on Tuesday to agree to step up the use of a price on carbon dioxide emissions as a central economic policy to slow climate change.The U.S. states were acting in defiance of President Donald Trump who says he doubts that man-made greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels are the prime cause of global warming and plans to quit the 2015 Paris climate accord.


The simple way we might turn food waste into green energy

NBC | Posted on December 18, 2017

Scientists have been looking for solutions to the food waste problem, and now researchers at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, think they've hit upon a possible fix. They say that by making use of a pair of simple chemical processes — hydrothermal liquefaction and anaerobic digestion — we could turn food waste into environmentally friendly biofuel.


Insurance giant Axa dumps investments in tar sands pipelines

The Guardian | Posted on December 18, 2017

One of the world’s biggest financial services companies is both dumping investments and ending insurance for controversial US oil pipelines, taking fossil fuel divestment to a new level.Axa is also quadrupling its divestment from coal businesses and increasing its green investments fivefold by 2020.


Under Trump, E.P.A. Has Slowed Actions Against Polluters, and Put Limits on Enforcement Officers

The New York Times | Posted on December 13, 2017

The highway billboard at the entrance to town still displays a giant campaign photograph of President Trump, who handily won the election across industrial Ohio. But a revolt is brewing here in East Liverpool over Mr. Trump’s move to slow down the federal government’s policing of air and water pollution.The City Council moved unanimously last month to send a protest letter to the Environmental Protection Agency about a hazardous waste incinerator near downtown. Since Mr. Trump took office, the E.P.A. has not moved to punish the plant’s owner, even after extensive evidence was assembled during the Obama administration that the plant had repeatedly, and illegally, released harmful pollutants into the air.“I don’t know where we go,” Councilman William Hogue, a retired social studies teacher, said in frustration to his fellow council members. “They haven’t resolved anything.”Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, has said the Trump administration’s high-profile regulatory rollback does not mean a free pass for violators of environmental laws. But as the Trump administration moves from one attention-grabbing headline to the next, it has taken a significant but less-noticed turn in the enforcement of federal pollution laws.


How Arctic Drilling, Stymied for Decades, Made Surprise Return in Tax Bill

The New York Times | Posted on December 13, 2017

As another fevered push to open the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to energy exploration collapsed on the Senate floor in December 2005, Ted Stevens, then the powerful and wily Republican senator from Alaska, declared it “the saddest day of my life.” At that moment, it looked as though the decades-long fight over drilling in 1.5 million acres of the remote refuge could finally be at an end. Republicans essentially gave up for the remainder of the George W. Bush administration after Democrats won control of Congress, and the drilling proposal had no chance during the Obama years, so it virtually disappeared as a topic of congressional conversation.Now, almost out of nowhere, determined backers of drilling are on the verge of a remarkable comeback victory, nearing approval of the long-sought measure as part of the tax plan being negotiated between the House and Senate. The fight has a symbolic significance that is almost impossible to overstate, pitting the nation’s leading environmental groups against Alaskan lawmakers and energy companies over a slice of tundra on the North Slope of Alaska that is home to abundant wildlife, including caribou and polar bears.This latest effort has two distinct advantages for drilling proponents. It avoids a certain Democratic filibuster because of special rules being applied on the floor for considering the tax bill. And it simultaneously secures the vote of Senator Lisa Murkowski for the tax measure.


White House pressures Big Corn to meet on U.S. biofuels policy

Reuters | Posted on December 12, 2017

President Donald Trump’s administration called two lawmakers from the U.S. corn belt to convince them to join talks about potential changes to biofuels policy to ease the burden on oil refineries, according to a spokesman for one of the lawmakers and a source briefed on the matter.


Coal CEO: Senate tax plan 'wipes us out'

Northwest Arkansas News | Posted on December 12, 2017

Coal CEO Robert Murray warns that if the Senate version of tax reform is enacted by President Donald Trump, he'll be destroying thousands of coal mining jobs in the process. "We won't have enough cash flow to exist. It wipes us out," Murray told CNNMoney in an interview on Tuesday.Murray, a fierce supporter of Trump's efforts to revive coal, condemned the Senate bill as a "mockery" that would inflict a devastating tax hike on beleaguered coal mining firms as well as other capital-intensive companies.The tax bill the Senate passed last week would help companies by lowering the corporate tax rate, but it also eliminates some tax breaks.For coal companies, it could be a double-whammy. It would preserve the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and impose new limits on the interest payments that businesses can write off. Murray Energy estimates that these changes would raise its tax bill by $60 million per year.


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