An epic legal battle surrounding the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule formally kicks off today. U.S. EPA is set to publish its Clean Power Plan — a rule to crack down on power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions — in the Federal Register. The bureaucratic move will trigger a flurry of lawsuits and launch what promises to be a lengthy war in the courts over the Obama administration’s regulation.
Google has made a reputation for itself in recent years as a major investor in renewable energy. And, the company announced its newest investment: a wind power project in Kenya that, when completed, will be the continent’s biggest wind farm. The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, which broke ground in July, is expected to generate 1,400 gigawatt-hours of power per year, or 15 percent of the country’s electricity consumption, according to a fact sheet from Vestas, one of the project’s co-developers. The project will include 365 wind turbines, spread along the shore of Kenya’s Lake Turkana.
Procter & Gamble has found a new source for making Tide detergent: wind. The global consumer products giant is teaming up with EDF Renewable Energy to build a wind farm in Texas that it says will power all of its North American plants that manufacture home care and fabric products. Those facilities make some of the company’s best-known household items, including Tide, Febreze and Mr. Clean. It is Procter & Gamble’s biggest foray into wind power, and is the latest in a burst of partnerships between major American corporations and renewable energy companies.
An autumn rainstorm was moving across the Kotzebue Sound in late September as Matt Bergan stopped by the power plant to check how much renewable electricity was flowing into this northeastern coastal community. Four miles outside town, 19 wind turbines were spinning steadily in the breeze, producing 60 to 65 percent of the power being used by the city’s 3,200 residents.
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.