The Senate Finance Committee voted to renew a tax credit for wind power that is set to expire at the end of this year, with several Republicans joining Democrats to support extending the credit for one more year at a cost of $3.3 billion. [New York Times]
The provision, which will apply to projects under construction by the end of 2013, was included in a $200 billion package of popular tax breaks that the committee passed on a bipartisan 19-5 vote. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor when Congress returns from summer recess, although it is unclear if the House will take up similar legislation.
The wind industry considers the subsidy, called the production tax credit, to be vital as it tries to make wind power more competitive with electricity generated from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Wind farms can generally choose to receive a continuing credit of 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced or receive a one-time payment equivalent to 30 percent of the cost of developing a project.
Even as the drought worsened in the Midwest and Great Plains, Congress proved unable to provide relief for farmers and ranchers before leaving for a month of campaigning. [Los Angeles Times]
In yet another display of the inexorable interdependence of Earth’s ecosystems, a bad summer for Midwestern farmland has turned out to be a good one for life in the Gulf of Mexico. [New York Times]
The high temperature in Oklahoma City topped out at 112°F for the second straight day, extending the streak of consecutive 100°F days to 16. [Climate Central]
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s claim that a single energy company could recover $1 trillion worth of oil and gas from the state’s shale is an exorbitant overestimate, according to experts interviewed by The Associated Press. [AP]
A two-day meeting hosted the by US of 17 countries opposed to the EU’s emissions trading system (ETS) has ended without a joint declaration. [Guardian]
India’s paralyzing power outages this week have focused attention on this year’s weak monsoon season, as below-normal water levels in some hydroelectric dams mean both less electricity to go around and farmers pumping more water instead of depending on rain. [Wall Street Journal]
A staff report just released on Solyndra doesn’t appear to back up some of the more lurid accusations that Republicans have made about the Solyndra affair in campaign ads, including Mitt Romney’s claims that money for Solyndra went to “campaign contributors” or “friends and family. [Politico]
The Navy’s plans to power warships with biofuels may not be out of gas quite yet. On Tuesday, the Senate defense appropriations subcommittee voted to continue funding the alternative energy program, keeping alive the Navy’s push for an ambitious “Great Green Fleet,” propelled by renewable fuels. [Wired]