Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 26, 2014

Posts in "Renewables"

October 23, 2014

Another State Deals A Blow To Tesla’s Business Model

dw0904211081 240x159 Another State Deals A Blow To Teslas Business Model

A view of the 2009 Tesla Roadster plug, during a show of various company’s models of hybrid, alternative fuel and electric vehicles outside the Russell Senate Office Building, in anticipation of the April 22 celebration of Earth Day. (Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly)

Tesla Motors lost a crucial legislative battle in Michigan on Tuesday when Republican Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bipartisan bill that would prevent the electric vehicle manufacturer from selling its cars outside of a dealership network. It is already illegal to make direct sales of any new automobile but the new law, supported by General Motors, will explicitly require manufacturers to sell through auto franchises.

Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder, has been fighting to sell his cars directly to consumers but so far more than half of all states have laws on the books similar to Michigan’s that protect their automobile franchises from direct sales competition. The California-based company has been selling its cars through galleries in 23 states, mainly along the east and west coasts. And in the states where they can’t sell directly, they take orders online.

Snyder, a governor known for his championing of entrepreneurship, drew charges of hypocrisy and took criticism from several quarters, including from supporter and Detroit billionaire, Dan Gilbert. Gilbert decried the role lobbying played in the decision and added, “To me you have to have a philosophy and you have to stick to it and you can’t let your personal circumstances compromise that.”

Adam Jonas, auto analyst with Morgan Stanley, thinks that this is just the beginning and that a broader debate on the national level is due. In a client note mentioned in the Detroit Free Press, Jonas wrote, “As Tesla grows in significance and expands its sales network, we expect more debate at the Federal level on the double standard in the application of dealer franchise laws. It’s only a matter of time before something gives. We expect that in the next two to three years, this could likely mushroom into a national issue. We believe these laws exist to support the weakest link in the network.”

October 22, 2014

Energy Ads Intensify As Senate Campaigns Heat Up

LAPOL14 312 092214 240x159 Energy Ads Intensify As Senate Campaigns Heat Up

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., right, answers questions from the local media during her event to exchange endorsements with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., left, in Baton Rouge, La., surrounded by local elected officials on Sept. 22, 2014. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With just under two weeks until an election in which control of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs, campaign ads are starting to intensify — in volume and rhetoric — in several key battleground states (Louisiana, Alaska, West Virginia, Arkansas, Kentucky, Colorado and Michigan). Somewhat surprisingly, energy and environment are the third most mentioned issue in Senate races this cycle (surprising since it barely registered during the 2012 presidential campaign). Some are running because the states they air in are significant energy producers. Others are running in states that feature environmentally conscious electorates.

The ads tend to focus on coal, oil, green energy and climate change. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that West Virginia and Kentucky are leading the way in coal-related ads with both states featuring pro-coal positions in 87 percent of their energy-related ads. Also unsurprisingly, 39 percent of Iowa’s energy ads are anti-oil while 40 percent focus on green energy (likely, due to ethanol).

It’s also notable that both Democrats and Republicans are finding politically advantageous ways to deploy these energy ads. For instance, in blue states, Democrats are attacking Republicans for denying climate change and accepting money from the Koch brothers. And in red states, Republicans look to tie President Obama’s new environmental regulations around the necks of their opponents.

 

October 17, 2014

ICYMI: Oil Slides, CO2 Talk & Yucca Echoes

Down, down, down was the way oil looked this week, with the global benchmark Brent crude dropping 27 percent from July before rebounding slightly Thursday. Full story

October 16, 2014

3D Innovation for Electric Cars

2014 inverter P05004 article 3D Innovation for Electric Cars

(Energy Department)

Researchers at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory used 3-D printing to construct a high-efficiency power inverter that takes up less space than current technology, the department announced this week. Full story

October 15, 2014

States Fighting CO2 Regs Get Money to Comply

495453921 445x296 States Fighting CO2 Regs Get Money to Comply

Appalachian Electric Power coal-fired Big Sandy Power Plant in Cattletsburg, Ky.
(Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

The Energy Department has awarded $4.86 million to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase efficiency through programs in 13 states, including several that are fighting proposed regulations. Full story

October 14, 2014

The Week Ahead: Russia, Solar, Gas, Carbon and Coal

A little bit of everything is happening this week, and much of it takes place Tuesday. Full story

October 7, 2014

Developing a Solar Battery

batteriesinc 445x441 Developing a Solar Battery

Nanometer-sized rods of titanium dioxide cover the surface of a piece of titanium gauze. (Yiying Wu/The Ohio State University)

Looking to increase the efficiency of solar power storage, researchers at Ohio State University devised a process to integrate solar electric generation and storage into one implement. Full story

October 6, 2014

The Week Ahead: International Energy & Winter Heating

Monday

Energy Central will hold a webinar on U.S. energy policy with Mike Morris, former head of American Electric Power. Full story

October 3, 2014

ICYMI: Cove Point LNG, India Agreement & Radio Star Ernie

175090439 445x297 ICYMI: Cove Point LNG, India Agreement & Radio Star Ernie

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz to be on NPR radio show.
(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Here’s a roundup of this week’s stories and items of note.

Citing the expiring investment tax credit, a company balked on plans to build a second solar concentrating plant after getting approval for just half the project. Full story

October 2, 2014

Spanning Solar Division, U.S. Firms Partner in Asia

Solar panel producer SunEdison, Inc., expects to slash energy used to produce polysilicon for solar cells at a new plant in South Korea. Full story

DOE Approves 1GW Canada-NYC Renewable Powerline

The Department of Energy signed off on a presidential permit for a $2 billion transmission line to carry primarily hydro and wind generated high voltage direct current from Quebec to New York City. Full story

September 29, 2014

Without ITC, Solar Concentrating Plant in Doubt

A company that had planned to build a second massive concentrating solar plant is reconsidering its request because of the expiration of a tax benefit and regulatory constraints. Full story

On Tap This Week: Conferences, Expos & An Anniversary

The Johnson Rice 2014 Energy Conference kicks off Monday in New Orleans and runs through Wednesday with presentations Monday from Pioneer Energy Services and Wednesday from Tesco Corp. Full story

September 26, 2014

ICYMI: Climate, ISIS Oil & A Keg Stand

LAPOL14 301 092014 445x511 ICYMI: Climate, ISIS Oil & A Keg Stand

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., holds the beer keg nozzle for LSU football fan as he does a keg stand at a tailgate party on the Louisiana State University campus before the LSU-Mississippi State game Saturday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Taking a look back on the week that was:

  • Addressing the United Nations, President Barack Obama called on countries to join together to try to forestall climate change. “We can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation, developed and developing alike,” Obama said. “Nobody gets a pass.” CQ Roll Call’s Lauren Gardner had more on the speech and new administration efforts (subscription). Full story

Questions on CO2 Compliance Dates

92591158 445x295 Questions on CO2 Compliance Dates

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Industry, states and advocacy groups are asking how EPA’s Clean Power Plan will treat measures that will be taken between the reference year of 2012 and the compliance deadline of 2020. Full story

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