E.U. ratifies pact, paving way for it to take effect

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

The Paris climate agreement likely will take effect this week now that European Union lawmakers have endorsed the deal. European lawmakers this morning voted for the 28-member bloc to ratify the agreement to limit warming. The agreement cannot enter force until 55 countries, accounting for at least 55 percent of global emissions, adopt it. Before today, 62 countries had endorsed the deal, but they accounted for 52 percent of emissions

Carbon neutrality push undercuts Clean Power Plan — study

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

A new analysis finds that congressional efforts to require federal agencies to consider biomass a carbon-neutral power source would lead to a major increase in carbon dioxide emissions that otherwise would be cut under U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The white paper, released by the Partnership for Policy Integrity, uses U.S. Energy Information Administration data to assess the additional carbon emissions that could result if biomass is considered carbon neutral, as envisioned by language in the Senate energy bill (S. 2012) and House and Senate appropriations bills. The legislation would direct EPA, the Energy Department and the Agriculture Department to craft a policy that reflects the carbon neutrality of forest bioenergy.

Colo. approves its largest wind farm

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Colorado’s largest proposed wind farm cleared a key hurdle last week as the Colorado Public Utilities Commission granted final permission to build the 600-megawatt Rush Creek Wind Project in the state’s remote eastern plains. Under a PUC-approved settlement between developer Xcel Energy Inc. and more than a dozen parties, the Rush Creek wind farm will begin construction in 2017, with an expected completion date of late 2018, according to officials involved with the project.

Republicans Split Over Renewing Alternative-Energy Tax Breaks

Source: By Billy House, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

House and Senate Republican leaders are at odds over whether to renew expiring alternative-energy tax breaks during Congress’s lame-duck session after the Nov. 8 election. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is committed to taking a look at the possibility. But House Speaker Paul Ryan and his lieutenants have signaled they won’t go along with continuing what has been a perennial late-session ritual of extending targeted tax incentives that are set to expire.

NYC details how it can move to ‘renewables-based’ grid

Source: Saqib Rahim, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

To meet its climate goals, New York City will need a power grid that’s “renewables-based” — not the fossil fuel-dominated grid it has today. That’s the finding of a report issued yesterday by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Office of Sustainability. De Blasio has set a goal of cutting the city’s greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Lawyers, law profs dish in marathon court session’s wake

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

The decision over the Clean Power Plan’s legality could hinge on judges’ conclusions about how clearly Congress had to spell out the authority for U.S. EPA to issue the rule. Attorneys who argued the case said today that was one of the most significant issues that arose during yesterday’s nearly seven hours of oral arguments in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Trump’s energy and environment team leans heavily on industry lobbyists

Source: By Steven Mufson, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

When President Obama came into office, one of his top priorities was laying down ethics rules restricting lobbyists from serving in the White House. Donald J. Trump isn’t likely to share that concern judging from the team of coal, oil and gas industry lobbyists who are working on his campaign and transition teams tailoring energy and environmental policies for a Trump presidency.

Georgia Power fires back over distributed generation shortfall

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

The shortfall of small, distributed solar projects on the grid is not Georgia Power’s fault, the utility said in response to allegations from a solar industry group. The utility is supposed to have 100 megawatts of distributed solar projects on the grid by the end of the year as part of its long-term energy plan that state regulators approved in 2013. The Georgia Public Service Commission approved 65 MW worth of projects, but a state solar industry group said it’s unclear whether the remainder will be vetted and online by December.

Business interest in building wind farm off Outer Banks may be waning

Source: By Jeff Hampton, The Virginian-Pilot • Posted: Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Business interest in building a wind farm off Kitty Hawk may be waning as the Oct. 17 deadline for proposals approaches. Five companies expressed interest early in the process, but now one says it hasn’t decided whether to take part in the auction, and another is citing flaws with the site and heading elsewhere.

Oklahoma, Arkansas governors discuss wind energy project

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson agreed when they spoke Monday at the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission’s annual conference that energy policy needs to be included in the national political debate. But the two governors disagreed on a controversial transmission line project that is designed to move wind energy from the Oklahoma panhandle to western Tennessee. Fallin, the 2016 chairman of the commission, said she supports the $2.5-billion Plains & Eastern Clean Line transmission project, for which construction is scheduled to start next year.