A low-carbon future is “inevitable,” and the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan is intended to send utilities the market signals necessary to guide those investments, Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “A low carbon future is absolutely inevitable. The question is how quickly will that come out and who will win,” McCarthy said April 28 at Columbia University’s Global Energy Summit in New York.
States face wide variations in Clean Power Plan compliance costs and outcomes depending on the paths they choose and how much time U.S. EPA allows them for writing compliance strategies, according to an analysis released yesterday by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The Washington, D.C., nonprofit’s modeling explores options the draft rule offers to states, projecting outcomes based on whether states choose regional or individual emission plans and weighing variables that include the cost of natural gas.
The modeling projects that the EPA rule will cost $9.7 billion in 2020 and $15.7 billion in 2030 annually before savings from demand-side efficiency are factored in.
Officials say a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. plans to build a 400-megawtt wind farm in northeast Nebraska and sell all the power to Omaha Public Power District. The Omaha World-Herald reports that a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, BHE Renewables, bought Grande Prairie Farm from Geronimo Energy, of Edina, Minnesota. BHE didn’t disclose the purchase price. Geronimo had bought it from a Chicago developer in 2013. The other companies have arranged leases, obtained permits and completed other development steps.
Here are some things to know about California Gov. Jerry Brown’s new target for reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) today ordered the state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, calling it the most ambitious climate target in North America.
The executive order comes as state lawmakers are already considering a 2030 target and follows an inaugural pledge Brown made in January to halve petroleum consumption and achieve 50 percent renewable energy by that date. Brown said the goal, which is based on a 1990 emissions base line, is aimed at aligning California with “leading international governments” ahead of the U.N. climate talks in Paris this December. The European Union set a 2030 target in October, he noted.
Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order Wednesday sharply speeding up this state’s already ambitious program aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, saying it was critical to address “an ever-growing threat” posed by global warming to the state’s economy and well-being. The order, announced early Wednesday morning, was intended as a jolt to a landmark 2006 environmental law requiring an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas reductions by 2050, compared with 1990. Under Mr. Brown’s order, the state would have to get halfway there — a 40 percent reduction — by 2030. Mr. Brown said this tough new interim target was essential to prod the energy industry to act and to help the state make investment and regulatory decisions that would assure that goal was not missed.
A new analysis from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory finds that shared photovoltaic (PV) solar systems — also called community solar projects or “solar gardens” — could account for one-third to one-half of all solar PV power in the United States by 2020. Achieving such robust growth will depend on a variety of factors, according to NREL energy analyst David Feldman, the report’s lead author. They include the continued expansion of net metering and other utility programs encouraging solar adoption, rising customer awareness of solar’s costs and benefits, and the ironing out of financial and regulatory issues that have effectively locked half of U.S. households and businesses out of the solar marketplace.
Dubbed “blue crude,” the fuel does not contain any sulfur or fossil oil but has an overall energy efficiency of 70 percent. The fuel is created by harnessing renewable energy to split water into oxygen and pure hydrogen. The hydrogen is then mixed with carbon monoxide, which reacts at high temperatures and under pressure, creating the long-chain hydrocarbon compounds that make up blue crude.
The proposed change could impact two current proposals. One is to build an oil pipeline that would ship 450,000 barrels daily from production sites in North Dakota to an oil hub in Illinois. The other proposal is to build an electrical line across 16 Iowa counties would transmit wind-generated energy from Iowa to customers in the Midwest and East Coast
Grid-scale battery storage solutions have arrived in Europe, despite a lingering controversy. No longer a distant dream, projects in Germany are already feeding energy into the grid, while in the United Kingdom and Italy, commercial projects are close to coming online. Yet their breakthrough potential — for the quick balancing of intermittent renewables and eventual replacement of fossil power plants — has not been fully tested. Grid-level energy storage remains a new frontier, and among a host of modern storage options, batteries are still sometimes tagged as too costly and unproven in real-world environments.