Searching for a reason major climate change legislation hasn’t passed Congress yet? You could do worse than start looking around Washington, D.C., with its endless think tanks, lobbying firms and trade groups, many of which have swung into action in the past to block such bills and stand ready to do so in the future.
The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), representing state and local air officials, is crafting a template for how states could craft plans for complying with EPA’s pending climate rule for existing utilities, which may help address states’ concerns over the burden in meeting the rule’s tight timeline for writing the plans. One state source says the model will help state air agencies as they grapple with questions like “what the heck do I have to do” and “what are the choices I need to make or can make” as they scramble to meet an aggressive deadline set by President Obama to get state implementation plans (SIPs) for compliance submitted to EPA by June 2016, just one year after the agency has been directed to finalize the utility new source performance standards (NSPS).
Iowa received about 27 percent of its energy from wind generation last year, placing it first in the nation, ahead of South Dakota at 26 percent, a new report today shows. The American Wind Energy Association said Iowa generated enough wind last year to power 1.4 million homes, second only to Texas, which generated enough wind energy to power 3.3 million homes. Iowa has 5,117 megawatts of installed wind energy capacity, with 1,055 megawatts under construction.
U.S. EPA’s upcoming rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from today’s power plant fleet should encourage as much demand-side energy efficiency as possible, according to a white paper released yesterday by the Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative. The initiative, which is a project of Harvard Law School, argues that Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act allows — and perhaps compels — EPA to reach for proven strategies “outside the fence line” of individual plants in setting emissions standards. And because many states already require their utilities to meet energy efficiency targets or run programs to help their customers save energy — programs that have been proved to reduce emissions — EPA must promulgate a standard that takes into account the success of those existing programs, it said. “Any adequately demonstrated system of emission reduction available for compliance with a performance standard must also drive the standard’s stringency,” said the paper, authored by EPI Director Kate Konschnik.
If legislation to stymie U.S. EPA carbon rules is to clear the Senate this Congress, it will be because moderate Democrats from coal states insist on it, a key House legislator said yesterday. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) expects to see his bill to scrap EPA greenhouse gas rules for the utility sector pass the House today with little difficulty. But the Energy and Power Subcommittee chairman acknowledged last night that the Senate version — S. 1905, sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — faces more hurdles.
The 2015 White House budget proposal also included the reinstatements of several expired tax provisions, such as credits for cellulosic biofuel and wind energy production.
In the cooperative’s plan, independent system operators (ISOs), the managers of regional grids, would place a carbon fee on generated electricity. Great River Energy is the first electric cooperative to publicly offer a response to EPA’s rules.
“It takes advantage of all of the infrastructure that’s been created in our industry,” said Jon Brekke, vice president of membership and energy markets for Great River Energy. “It just adds another component to the management [of the grids] and, we think, could add another benefit to it.”
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today touted the president’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal for the Energy Department as a means to advance a “grid of the future,” curb carbon emissions — including those from natural gas — and bolster cybersecurity.
A 2012 deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars to expand wind energy projects across the Northeast was dealt a blow Tuesday by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled that a state agency’s approval of the complex deal was invalid.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who attended the Podesta-brokered meeting last week between governors and Obama, said in an interview that Podesta “speaks through his actions” and that the session “demonstrated in the most tangible way how committed the president is to trying to address this issue. It showed that we have a real situation. They actually said as much.”