News roundup: EPA carbon rule approaches, Xcel slashes CO2 emissions, Oregon offshore advances

The end of the week has the power sector preparing for EPA’s new rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions, Xcel’s announcement that they are ahead of schedule on CO2, and Oregon’s WindFloat offshore project moves into the public comment period.

President Obama is expected to personally unveil new rules on carbon dioxide emissions for existing power plants next Monday. Chicago Tribune:

  • President Obama will unveil a rule Monday intended to confront climate change by cutting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the nation's greatest source of the heat-trapping gas.
  • "Carbon policy is going to impact our business, and we have to be prepared for that," said Robert C. Flexon, chief executive of Houston-based Dynegy. "It can be a threat or an opportunity. I'd rather make it an opportunity." Which approach prevails – a legal fight or a political compromise – will help determine how quickly the U.S. will begin to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. As it seeks to reduce pollution, the administration must ensure that electricity supplies remain reliable and consumer rates do not increase significantly.
  • Along a 17-mile stretch in central Illinois, 240 wind turbine towers rise from corn and soybean fields by the towns of Ellsworth, Arrowsmith and Saybrook. The strong winds that blow through McLean County all winter drew Houston-based EDP Renewables to the area eight years ago. The new greenhouse gas rule could prompt the company and others to build more wind turbines.

Xcel is pleased to announce they are ahead of the curve when it comes to CO2 emissions, thanks in part to wind power. Clovis News Journal:

  • As of 2013, Xcel Energy has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 20 percent since 2005, already exceeding President Barack Obama’s goal of a 17 percent reduction by 2020, according to an Xcel Energy press release on Thursday.
  • “Over the past decade, Xcel Energy has invested in a cost-effective, clean energy strategy that is benefiting both our customers and the environment,” Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, said.
  • Fowke said the company has been reducing emissions “through a combination of energy efficiency programs and coal plant retirements and conversions, and by embracing renewable energy earlier than other utilities.”

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is awaiting public comment on a proposed offshore demonstration project, WindFloat, off the Oregon coast. North American Windpower:

  • The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is seeking public comment as it prepares an environmental assessment to analyze potential impacts of the proposed 30 MW WindFloat demonstration project offshore Coos Bay, Ore.
  • Principle Power and Deepwater Wind plan to build the floating wind farm, which will feature five 6 MW direct-drive wind turbines. The offshore project was one of three selected to receive up to $47 million each in follow-up grants from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Principle Power had received an initial $4 million grant from the DOE in December 2012 and submitted an unsolicited request to BOEM for a commercial wind energy lease in May 2013.

Be sure to check out This week’s other roundups:


Neela Banerjee, “Obama to unveil rule to cut greenhouse gas emissions.” Chicago Tribune. 29 May 2014.

Staff, “Xcel reduces carbon dioxide emissions.” Clovis News Journal. 29 May 2014.

Staff, “BOEM Seeks Input On Oregon Offshore Wind Demo Project.” North American Windpower. 29 May 2014.


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