Supreme Court justices dread taking on the complex cases that make environmental attorneys swoon, a well-known expert who has argued environmental issues before the high court said. Harvard Law School’s Richard Lazarus told a conference of environmental lawyers, “We share something in common, which the justices don’t share. We like the Clean Air Act; we like the Clean Water Act; we like RCRA; we like CERCLA. It makes our hearts go pitter-patter.” But for the Supreme Court justices, he added, “These are the dogs of the docket.”
“And we continue to expect further advances in the efficiency of wind technology as you get toward the end of the decade,” he said at Platts 17th Annual Financing U.S. Power Conference here. “We’ve been pretty vocal in supporting a phaseout of the production tax credit as you get to the end of decade,” he said. “We think by that time, given what we see in terms of technology advancements, you won’t need it in the better wind resource regimes in the country.” Ketchum said keeping the wind tax credit to 2020 would “bridge the gap” until U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan takes effect.
Renewables experts continue to foresee a December appropriations deal as the best chance for lawmakers to extend wind production tax credits, considering Congress did just that last winter when it extended those credits through 2014. And it is too soon to tell whether lawmakers will simply extend the PTC through 2015 or give it a two-year bump, according to one source.
As countries skirmish here over money and carbon emission cuts, a seemingly abstract debate is shaping up with real-world implications for investors and governments alike. Dubbed the “long-term goal,” it is wording in a burgeoning international climate change accord that defines how 194 countries want the world to look by the century’s end. The hope of many here is that the phrase will go beyond current calls to keep temperatures below the 2-degrees-Celsius threshold that will avoid the worst impacts of climate change to defining what that means.
Wind energy provided more new U.S. electrical generating capacity than any other resource did during the first nine months of 2015, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update reportfrom the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Citing the FERC statistics, nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign says 26 new “units” of wind power accounted for 2,966 MW – or, more than 40.76% of all new U.S. capacity – during the period.
New figures reveal that US utility-scale renewable energy projects accounted for more than 60% of new energy capacity installed throughout the first three quarters of 2015. In new figures released by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in its monthly Energy Infrastructure Update (PDF), it was revealed that renewable energy sources — including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind — accounted for 60.20% of the total 7,276 MW of new electrical generation installed in the US during the first 9 months of 2015.
The most significant U.S. tax credit for solar power will expire at the end of next year, and the biggest one for wind power already has. Renewable-energy developers aren’t losing much sleep over it. “The fundamentals of the renewable business have never been stronger,” Jim Robo, chief executive officer of NextEra Energy Inc., told investors during a conference call Wednesday. Robo said the largest North American wind and solar builder will as much as double its resources for developing clean energy projects over the next few years. The need for tax breaks, which once underpinned the economics of wind and solar projects, is fading as prices fall and the technologies become more competitive with electricity produced from fossil fuels. At the same time, other federal policies such as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan are creating new incentives for renewable energy plants. Developers are planning now for the day when they will no longer receive the credits.
President Obama’s top environmental attorneys said they’re ready for what one dubbed the “Super Bowl” of climate litigation. The legal battle over the administration’s Clean Power Plan — a rule to slash power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions — formally kicked off last week. It pits U.S. EPA and its allies against 26 states and numerous industry challengers.
Federal judges won’t decide whether to freeze an Obama administration climate change rule prior to international climate talks this year, to the chagrin of at least one Senate Republican. A panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order laying out a schedule for a handful of requests from states and industries to halt implementation of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Foes of the administration have asked the court to stay the rule while EPA’s critics challenge the regulation that aims to slash greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
Following House passage of the two-year budget deal, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) last night set the procedural wheels in motion for bringing the bill up in the upper chamber. McConnell filed cloture on the bill (H.R. 1314), while also “filling the amendment tree” to prevent extraneous proposals from clogging up the bill.