Supreme Court justices yesterday probed whether federal regulators overstepped legal limits with a rule incentivizing energy conservation. At issue is the scope of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s power in a case on a demand-response rule that required that power users be paid for committing to scale back electricity use at times of peak demand. A lower court threw out the rule last year, agreeing with power generators and other challengers that FERC — charged with regulating wholesale electricity sales — had overstepped its authority by wading into the retail electricity market. Retail power sales to businesses and residential customers legally fall under states’ jurisdiction.
The Democratic hopefuls for president vowed to embrace forceful measures to combat climate change in their curtain-raising debate last night without explaining how they would enlist the help of Republican lawmakers needed to enact their ambitious plans. Four of the five candidates raised the climate issue in their opening statements, marking a clear contrast to the 2012 presidential election, when President Obama largely avoided the topic. One analyst described the debate as a symbol of growing Democratic confidence that climate change can win primary votes while also exposing Republicans to vulnerabilities in the general election.
QUESTION: As a young person, I’m very concerned about climate change and how it will affect my future. As a presidential candidate, what will you do to address climate change?
Only a few months ago, it seemed that the renewable energy sector could do little wrong: Stock prices were soaring and money was pouring in as investors flocked to get in on the action. That is no longer the case. Low oil and gas prices have roiled the energy markets, and the specter of rising interest rates has rattled investors’ confidence in the industry’s returns. Although energy and financial experts say that the basics of the business remain sound, the lofty stock prices have tumbled, leading renewable energy companies to scramble for new approaches to their businesses.
Cumulative wind-energy installations worldwide may double within five years as falling costs help producers compete with conventional power, according to the industry’s biggest manufacturer. Last year’s “impressive” growth in new installations — 46 percent more than in 2013 according to the Global Wind Energy Council — points to a “bright future,” Vestas Wind Systems A/S Chief Executive Officer Anders Runevad said Monday.
“It is abundantly clear that distributed energy resources can provide benefits to Hawai‘i. It is also clear, for both technical and economic reasons, that the policies established more than a decade ago must be adapted to address the reality of distributed energy resources as they exist today – and as they are likely to develop in the near future,” the PUC said. “The challenge facing the State now is ensuring that DER continues to scale in a way that it benefits all customers as each utility advances towards 100% renewable energy.”
The West Coast is in a particularly interesting position for trading, as California and Washington state expect to exceed their EPA-assigned goals and are weighing whether to make large amounts of allowances available so that other states can keep fossil fuel generation online. Utilities in California are pushing the state to consider trading allowances, but regulators have been circumspect
Around 70% of Americans believe in the science behind global warming – the highest level of acceptance in the US since 2008 – according to a new survey. The level of belief has increased seven percentage points in the past six months, the polling by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College shows. The researchers said the significant rise in acceptance is particularly notable among Republicans and evangelical Christian groups.
National pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, even if fully implemented, would cap global warming at 3 degrees Celsius rather than the 2 degrees targeted to avoid dangerous consequences, the European Commission said on Monday. European Climate and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said 149 countries had submitted pledges known in U.N. language as INDCs, or Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, ahead of pivotal climate change talks in Paris in December.
MILLIONS of Americans once wanted to smoke. Then they came to understand how deadly tobacco products were. Tragically, that understanding was long delayed because the tobacco industry worked for decades to hide the truth, promoting a message of scientific uncertainty instead. The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a series of articles based on internal documents from Exxon Mobil dating from the 1970s and interviews with former company scientists and employees. Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation.