Secretary of State John Kerry said today the administration has learned from the mistakes of the past and is laying the groundwork for a “durable” climate agreement in Paris. Speaking at a climate and clean energy event for private-sector stakeholders at the State Department, Kerry said his aim in working for last year’s bilateral agreement with China — which is seen to have injected new life into the United Nations negotiations — was to “try to change what prompted the failure in Copenhagen.”
Former U.S. EPA Administrator William Reilly said today the Clean Power Plan would survive legal challenges, urging regulators to start writing state plans. Reilly — who was President George H.W. Bush’s EPA chief — criticized Republican elected officials who have publicly opposed EPA’s bid to reduce the power sector’s carbon footprint and said it would be a “bad idea” to not write state implementation plans, or SIPs, to comply with the program. “Move ahead with planning and assume the rule will survive,” he told an Environmental Council of the States meeting in Washington, D.C.
“Renewable energy should be given priority, complemented by conventional energy in a local network with peak shaving, in order to reduce the need for constructing grid capacity to export electricity,” said a document released by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). Though the regions should build more transmission lines to increase outbound capacity, the authority also urged them to attract more energy-intensive industries from China’s east, helping to better absorb the supply of renewable energy locally.
Liberal leader Justin Trudeau — who will be the country’s next prime minister — has pledged to consider greenhouse gas impacts in approving oil pipelines similar to Keystone XL and called for new national climate targets and a ramp up in renewable energy. His policies are expected to be a sharp shift from those of Harper, who withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol, cut funding for climate science and renewable energy, and won the derision of environmentalists because of his staunch support for development in the oil sands — the country’s fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Echoing comments by other lawmakers, Heitkamp said she expects a possible deal on crude exports to end up in an end-of-year omnibus package. “I think it is the most likely [vehicle], and at that point the question is what is it that’s going to end up in the omnibus,” she said. But Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) yesterday said the weight of too many add-ons to end the crude export ban could end up sinking a package, noting for example that a tax extenders package that includes green energy credits may move as part of an omnibus as well.
The top U.S. oil refiner industry group told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday it opposes any subsidies for renewable energy or other interests that would be potentially included in a package to lift the ban on most exports of domestic oil. “I respectfully ask that you oppose any effort to provide subsidies, impose new mandates, or layer on more energy taxes to facilitate lifting the crude oil export ban,” Chet Thompson, the head of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, wrote in a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican.
President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan aims for the United States to source 28 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030 – an aggressive goal that will require vast amounts of new transmission. In a March report by the Edison Electric Institute, the utility trade group found that 46 percent of $47.9 billion of U.S. transmission projects planned through 2025 are intended to support renewable energy resources. “It’s very much in line with what we believe this administration is trying to accomplish,” Michael Skelly, Clean Line’s president, of his company’s building plans.
Wind companies are continuing to plan projects that rely on the federal production tax credit, according to an industry lawyer, even though the incentive expired at the end of 2014 and there is uncertainty whether Congress will reinstate it.
Environmental activists at NextGen Climate yesterday unveiled the group’s latest step in its bid to push presidential primary contenders to embrace renewable energy policies, launching a new million-dollar ad campaign in New Hampshire and Iowa. The political action committee, backed by California billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, is pushing candidates from both major parties to adopt platforms that would shift the country’s energy production to 50 percent renewable resources by 2030.
China’s largest direct investment in Mexico has come in the wind energy sector, as a wind turbine manufacturer has acquired controlling stake in a large-scale wind energy portfolio. Envision Energy, a manufacturer of low speed wind energy turbines, has acquired a majority stake in a portfolio of wind energy projects with total capacity of 600 MW. The construction of the projects is yet to start — expected for 2016, with operations scheduled to begin by the end of next year — with the right to develop owned by ViveEnergia.