Today’s Climate: July 28, 2010

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Reid Unveils Pared-Down Energy and Oil Bill (AP)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s new bill would eliminate the $75 million cap on economic liability from an oil spill, add $5 billion to the Home Star program and spend $400 million to encourage deployment of electric cars.

Reid: Renewable Electricity Mandate Still Lacks 60 Votes (The Hill)

Sen. Reid Tuesday reiterated his assessment that there are not enough votes to include a renewable electricity production mandate in a slimmed-down oil spill and energy strategy.

Forecast for U.S. Wind Installations Past 2010 Looks Dreary (Los Angeles Times)

Denise Bode, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Assn., said that without a national renewable energy standard, investment and interest in wind projects past 2010 would be headed for a free fall.

Obama Says He Still Supports Climate Legislation (AP)

Despite setbacks on Capitol Hill, Pres. Obama said Tuesday he still supports the need for broad climate legislation and pledged to keep pushing for a sweeping energy plan this year.

U.S. Scrambles Emergency Teams to New Gulf Oil Leak (Dow Jones)

The U.S. Coast Guard dispatched emergency teams Tuesday after a boat crashed into an oil well off the coast of New Orleans, reportedly sending crude spewing some 20 feet into the air.

BP Testing Relief Well BOP (Upstream)

BP has connected the riser of the rig drilling the first relief well to the lower marine riser package and has begun testing the blowout preventer while crews circulate fluids from the bottom up to clean up the bore.

Gulf Oil Spill: Where Has The Oil Gone? (Christian Science Monitor)

Since BP capped its ruptured well, the Gulf oil spill has shrunk dramatically. The Gulf itself is breaking down the oil at top speed, but past spills indicate the effects could linger for decades.

BP Petrol Stations Shut Down by Greenpeace (Telegraph)

Around 50 BP petrol stations came under siege from Greenpeace activists who shut down fuel supplies in protest against the company’s "reckless" pursuit of oil.

Group Seeks to Stall Mont. Coal Railroad (AP)

A conservation group has asked the federal Surface Transportation Board to reconsider its approval of a proposed $550 million railroad that would open new areas of Montana’s Powder River Basin to coal mining.

Massey Puts Mine Disaster Costs So Far at $129 Million (Coal Tattoo)

Massey Energy announced on Tuesday that it lost nearly $89 million in the last three months, largely because of costs associated with the deaths of 29 miners at the company’s Upper Big Branch in the worst U.S. coal-mining disaster in 40 years.

Energy Secretary Hails Oahu Wind Project (AP)

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says a wind farm planned for Oahu is using innovative technology and could set an example for other wind farms across the country. Kahuku Wind Power will use batteries to store energy generated by the turbines.

California’s Clean Energy Future Threatened by Federal Delays (Los Angeles Times)

Plans for a massive expansion of clean energy in California are being jeopardized by federal foot-dragging, according to state officials who say that more than 20 nearly shovel-ready solar and wind projects are being held up by the DOE.

Monitor Urges Utilities to Go Slow on Smart Grid Renovations (Climatewire)

A report by the operations monitor of the North American electricity grid, issued today, raises a large yellow caution flag over climate policy initiatives that would require a massive change in the nation’s power and transmission infrastructure.

Market Value of Biomass Electricity to Reach $53B by 2020 (SustainableBusiness)

The market value of electricity generated from biomass in the U.S. will increase steadily to $53 billion by 2020, up from approximately $45 billion in 2010, according to a new report by Pike Research.

China Considers Setting Coal Production Ceiling by 2015 to Cut Emissions (Bloomberg)

China, the world’s biggest polluter, may impose a cap on the country’s coal production by 2015 and enforce energy consumption targets to cut carbon emissions and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Nissan Makes Like GM With 8-Year Battery Warranty for LEAF (Earth2Tech)

Hot on the heels of GM unveiling an 8-year, 100,000-mile warranty for its upcoming Chevy Volt, Nissan announced today at the Plug-In 2010 Conference in San Jose, Calif. that it will offer the same warranty for the battery in its all-electric LEAF sedan.

The Chevy Volt’s Sticker: $41,000 (Green)

GM began taking orders for the long-awaited Chevrolet Volt on Tuesday, pricing the plug-in hybrid car at $41,000.

Cities Seek Clout for ‘Green’ Taxi Rules (Wall Street Journal)

NYC Mayor Bloomberg and five other big city mayors are asking Congress to give them a lift in a long-running fight over turning traditional yellow-cab taxis into green, fuel-efficient vehicles.

Vodafone Brings Solar Power Mobile Phone to India (AP)

Vodafone Essar Ltd. has unveiled a solar-powered mobile handset in India to better serve the nation’s energy-starved rural masses.