News

Harvesting Sunshine More Lucrative Than Crops at Some U.S. Farms

Source: Bu Je Ryan, Bloomberg News • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

For more than a century, Dawson Singletary’s family has grown tobacco, peanuts and cotton on a 530-acre farm amid the coastal flatlands of North Carolina. Now he’s making money from a different crop: solar panels. Singletary has leased 34 acres of his Bladen County farm to Strata Solar LLC for a 7-megawatt array, part of a growing wave of solar deals that are transforming U.S. farmland and boosting income for farmers.

Exxon swings back at ‘politically motivated’ probe

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

fter a roster of leaders from different states peppered Exxon Mobil Corp. today with allegations of climate change fraud, the company shot back, saying politics were fueling those claims.
“The allegations leveled against Exxon Mobil again today are politically motivated and based on discredited reporting funded by activist organizations,” said Suzanne McCarron, Exxon Mobil’s vice president of public and government affairs. “We are actively assessing all legal options.”

Gore, state AGs beef up ‘fraud’ probe

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Former Vice President Al Gore and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today accused fossil fuel companies of committing fraud by lying about climate change science while they announced a multistate effort to hold companies accountable. Schneiderman (D) convened a coalition of state attorneys general here today, where they announced a multistate effort to tackle climate change, including further investigations into whether fossil fuel companies lied to investors and the public about the impacts of climate change.

Pennsylvania Governor vetoes bill against Clean Power Plan, citing GOP ‘intrusion’

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) vetoed a bill that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to hold sway over the state’s Clean Power Plan compliance strategy. H.B. 1327, which was passed by lawmakers with the state budget earlier this month, included language granting either chamber of the General Assembly the ability to disapprove of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s efforts to meet federally required emissions cuts in the power sector.

EPA allies assail ‘meritless’ legal challenges

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

U.S. EPA’s allies in state governments, the environmental community and industry are urging federal judges to reject the onslaught of legal challenges against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. Tuesday marks a deadline set by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for some of EPA’s backers to file their briefs as judges weigh the fate of the contentious regulation to curb power plants’ greenhouse gas emissions.

Why this new solar market could be set to explode

Source: By Chris Mooney, Washington Post • Posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Right now, there’s an odd thing about solar in the United States (and elsewhere). It’s either really big — at the scale of massive solar farms with the capacity to generate tens or hundreds of millions of watts of electricity — or pretty small: on your rooftop, with maybe as little as 5 kilowatts, or thousand watts, of capacity. Solar has been growing extremely fast in these existing markets. But more and more, analysts say, there’s a middle-range market whose large potential is just becoming clear. It’s bigger than individual rooftop installations but smaller than vast solar farms. And it’s for a much broader and diverse range of people than fairly wealthy, suburban homeowners.

First US Offshore Wind Energy Projects Could Deliver Jolt Of Momentum To Struggling Sector

Source: BY MARIA GALLUCCI, International Business Times • Posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

By the time summer rolls around, five wind turbines, each rising 600 feet, could be spinning in the Atlantic Ocean near Rhode Island. Two more could spring up off the coast of Virginia by late next year. America’s first offshore wind farms will arrive after more than a decade of fits and starts, and they could deliver a jolt of much-needed momentum to the struggling industry. Yet building the next, bigger offshore wind projects will require states stepping in to help defray the sky-high electricity costs and attract wary investors, analysts say. A handful of other East Coast wind farms are in the works, but none are likely to come online this decade without stronger clean energy policies, or better financial incentives.

Colorado air pollution funding caught in climate rule crosshairs

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Colorado’s top air official has condemned an effort by Republican lawmakers to block about $8.5 million in funding over concerns about federal climate change regulations. If passed, the move “would significantly interfere with our ability to do our job of ensuring clean air and reducing emissions,” said Will Allison, Air Pollution Control Division director with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Former state officials back EPA in lawsuit

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

A group of 17 former state energy and environmental leaders is asking to support U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan in federal court. The coalition includes former officials from states ranging from Vermont to Texas who intend to counter “exaggerated claims” made by critics of the regulation, according to court documents.

First-ever energy jobs report finds solar, efficiency surge

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Solar energy and energy efficiency firms are predicting strong hiring growth over the next year, according to a new federal report assessing national employment in multiple energy sectors. The first-ever analysis from the Department of Energy reports a swirl of numbers on how U.S. energy trends are affecting national employment. It finds, for example, that energy employers are having a difficult time finding qualified workers, and that minorities and women remain underrepresented in energy jobs when it comes to their overall numbers.