News roundup: Senate advances PTC bill, Minnesota beating RPS goals, Block Island moves forward
The mid-week news abounds: legislation extending the PTC makes another step forward, Minnesota surges on its RPS, and Block Island clears another permitting hurdle.
The Senate voted near-unanimously to bring the EXPIRE Act, which includes an amendment to extend the PTC for 2 years, to the floor, hopefully in the near future. reNews:
- The US senate today voted 96 to 3 to advance a ‘tax extenders’ bill, which includes renewable energy tax credits.
- During a procedural vote the legislators agreed to open debate on the bill, which includes renewal of the production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC) as part of an $80bn package of about 50 tax breaks that lapsed 31 December.
- The EXPIRE Act extends the provisions for two years through 31 December 2015. The Senate will consider the bill again at a later time.
Minnesota’s RPS requirement of 25 percent renewables by 2025 may not have been ambitious enough, reports The Dickinson Press:
- This year, Minnesota Power will reach the state mandated-requirement of producing 25 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources. That’s 11 years early. With substantial investments in wind energy in recent years, the Duluth-based utility will reach that 2025 mandate by the end of 2014, Al Hodnik, Allete’s chairman, president and CEO, told nearly 900 people gathered for the company’s annual shareholders meeting Tuesday at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center.
- Minnesota Power, which provides electric service to 143,000 customers in a 26,000-square-mile area in northeastern Minnesota, is one of Allete’s utilities. Its investment in wind energy includes nearly $800 million in the growing Bison wind energy operation in North Dakota — the largest in that state — which Minnesota Power will own and operate.
- “Investing in wind makes economic and environmental sense and reflects in real terms our commitment to answering the call to transform the nation’s energy supply,” Hodnik told the gathering, which included many Minnesota Power retirees who are shareholders.
Rhode Island’s proposed Block Island Wind Farm made another forward step Tuesday night when it scored a key approval from the state. RI NPR:
- Rhode Island is one step closer to having its first offshore wind farm. Last night, the Coastal Resources Management Council unanimously approved Deepwater Wind’s proposed wind farm three miles off the coast of Block Island. The 30-megawatt wind farm with five turbines will produce enough energy to power 17,000 homes each year, according to Deepwater Wind estimates.
- CRMC Executive Director Grover Fugate said the approval vote is “historic.” It’s the first time the CRMC [has granted] a permit to build an ocean wind farm.
- Deepwater Wind CEO Jeff Grybowski said securing this vote from the state’s lead permitting agency is a major step forward for the project. “Rhode Island and CRMC have been working on a process for a long time to consider wind farms planned in state waters, and this is the culmination of years and years of work,” said Grybowski. “So we are extremely excited about the result.”
Staff, “US Senate revives tax breaks.” reNews. 13 May 2014.
Candace Renalls, “Turning toward the deadline: Minnesota Power set to reach renewable-energy mandate 11 years early.” The Dickinson Press. 13 May 2014
Ambar Espinoza, “CRMC Unanimously Approves Deepwater Wind Block Island Wind Farm.” Rhode Island Public Radio. 14 May 2014.