With the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit’s surprise decision to push Clean Power Plan arguments to September before the full court, dozens of lawyers are now shuffling their schedules and planning for a new legal timeline. The court’s announcement took everyone by surprise. Instead of presenting oral arguments before a three-judge panel in early June, defenders and challengers of the Obama administration’s signature climate rule will make their case before all participating judges on Sept. 27.
Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced a resolution yesterday to celebrate the U.S. solar industry achieving its millionth solar installation. The resolution cites statistics on solar industry growth, declining costs of solar panels and the increase in industry jobs. It states that “the Senate supports the United States solar energy industry in its effort to bring low-cost, clean, 21st century solar technology into homes and businesses across the United States.”
SolarCity Corp., the largest U.S. solar installer, said Friday it has been subpoenaed in a broad investigation of state contracts and lobbying in New York. The development, first reported by Newsday, involves a probe by Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, of state construction projects, including those tied to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) $1 billion plan to boost the economy in Buffalo, N.Y. SolarCity is building a solar panel gigafactory in the city with a $750 million investment from the state as part of Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” initiative.
When Ernest Moniz looks at Texas, he sees groundbreaking energy research and innovation — and not only related to oil and gas: wind, solar and battery technology that could bolster the reliability of those renewable resources, too. “The kind of innovation shown here is certainly very important for the whole country,” the U.S. energy secretary said this week at the University of Texas at Austin. “I know Houston claims to be the energy capital of the world, but I think Texas has a broader role.”
The US has signed an agreement with Denmark to strengthen cooperation on offshore wind energy. The memorandum of understanding recognizes both countries common interests in developing the technology as a clean and sustainable energy source, the US Bureau of Ocean Energy said.
Massive wind turbines could end up floating in deep ocean waters off Hawaii’s shores under proposals to bring more renewable energy to the islands. Two companies have proposed offshore wind turbine projects for federal waters off Oahu as Hawaii pushes to meet its aggressive renewable energy goals. Their plans would use technology that floats the tall turbines in deep waters miles offshore. The proposals are in the early stages and would face years of environmental reviews and community meetings before possible approval.
High-stakes litigation over the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan will bypass review by a panel of three judges and instead go before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in the fall. The D.C. Circuit announced the change in a short order yesterday, surprising some attorneys involved in the case. Oral arguments had been scheduled for early June before a three-judge panel considered favorable for the administration. Now, the case will be heard en banc on Sept. 27.
California, which fancied itself the centerpiece of what was to become the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), seemed to be in the most trouble. It had done much of the planning for this regional coalition, learning from the European Union’s mistakes and taking more time to design a system of measurements and rules to put an effective cap on its biggest sources of emissions. The plan of the state’s Air Resources Board started with electricity generators and large-scale manufacturing in 2013 and then spread by 2015 to cover 85 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emitters.
“People … understand the idea of someone screwing a wrench on solar panels on someone’s roof or putting up a wind turbine,” Adams said. “A significant part of this economic activity is happening in (energy efficiency), where people at first glance might not realize there are clean energy activities going on.” And actually, those stereotypical clean jobs took a hit. Illinois lost 10.8 percent of its wind jobs and 3.4 percent of its solar jobs between 2014 and 2015, according to the report.
Adams attributes that to a broken set of state regulations.
DePasquale is hoping that more communities will follow West Warwick’s lead. Not only is the town investing in clean energy, it’s locking in a predictable price of energy for years to come, he says. “It is the future,” he said.