McCarthy ‘still confident’ despite mercury ruling

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

Last week’s Supreme Court decision on U.S. EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards will have no bearing on the future of the agency’s flagship carbon rule, and may even be corrected through simple adjustments to the toxic emissions rule, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said this morning. McCarthy acknowledged that she was “disappointed” by the high court’s decision eight days ago remanding the 2011 mercury rule back to a lower court on the grounds that EPA should have considered cost sooner in its rulemaking process.

Siemens to open plant to turn electricity from wind into hydrogen

Source: By Vera Eckert, Reuters • Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Siemens will on Thursday start an energy project to convert wind power into hydrogen for re-use as a general fuel or in natural gas pipelines. Siemens’ electrolysis plant in Mainz is based on Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) technology, which allows the capture and storage of electricity into hydrogen. It said the plant can process up to 6 megawatts of electricity, making it the biggest PEM installation of its kind worldwide and able to supply 2,000 fuel cell cars.

Foundations for first U.S. offshore wind farm head for Rhode Island

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Five massive structures that will be attached to the ocean floor for the nation’s first offshore wind farm are coming to Rhode Island. Deepwater Wind is building a five-turbine wind farm off Block Island, with the ability to power 17,000 homes as early as next year. The steel foundations were built in Houma, Louisiana. They’re being shipped north on three barges, with each structure in two large pieces.

The first barge is expected to leave Friday and arrive at the site by mid-July, depending on weather, said Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski. The foundations will be installed by mid-September, he added.

White House quietly revises social cost of carbon

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The White House has slightly reduced its estimate for the social cost of carbon (SCC) in response to public comments that officials collected more than a year ago. The Office of Management and Budget posted its revision of the controversial estimate Thursday, immediately before the Fourth of July weekend. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Administrator Howard Shelanski and Maurice Obstfeld, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in their post that lowering the SCC from $37 to $36 per metric ton of CO2 for 2015 was the result of minor technical revisions in the modeling used to arrive at the estimate.

McCarthy to face GOP grilling as panel takes up agency rules

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

Questions will likely cover EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, the agency’s final rule to change the scope of water bodies in the United States that receive automatic protection under the Clean Water Act and EPA’s review of the national ozone standard. McCarthy will be the sole witness.

Senate Democrats preparing own legislation

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

The Democrats’ bill will build off last month’s letter to all 50 governors, in which 45 senators sought feedback on policies to spur clean energy investment, modernize infrastructure, reduce pollution and boost research funding, according to a spokeswoman for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

BP agrees to ‘game changer’ $18.7B settlement with states

Source: Annie Snider and Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, July 6th, 2015

The $18.7 billion settlement agreement announced this morning for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill promises to set off an unprecedented effort to repair the Gulf of Mexico’s marshes, fisheries and deep sea corals, but it will be, at best, only a first step toward restoring the long-ailing ecosystem, the region’s environmentalists say.

Sacramento tops out at 107 degrees, driving peak electricity use

Source: BY ROBERT D. DÁVILA, Sacramento Bee • Posted: Monday, July 6th, 2015

The California Independent System Operator, which runs the state’s transmission grid, issued a Flex Alert on Tuesday calling for conservation. The ISO said demand for electricity was expected to peak on Tuesday at 44,700 megawatts – one of the highest levels of the year but still below the expected level of available supply. The Flex Alert was also expected to be in effect Wednesday. The alert Tuesday was the agency’s first heat-related warning since early July 2013, when the grid manager issued alerts on back-to-back days for Northern California, spokesman Steven Greenlee said.

Republican Governors Signal Their Intent to Thwart Obama’s Climate Rules

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT. New York Times • Posted: Monday, July 6th, 2015

As President Obama prepares to complete sweeping regulations aimed at tackling climate change, at least five Republican governors, including two presidential hopefuls, say they may refuse to carry out the rules in their states. The resistance threatens to ignite a fierce clash between federal and state authorities, miring the climate rules in red tape for years. The fight could also undermine Mr. Obama’s efforts to urge other nations to enact similar plans this year as part of a major United Nations climate change accord.

Clean Line transmission project in limbo after Mo. rejection

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, July 6th, 2015

A developer’s plan to construct a wind energy superhighway across the Midwest hit a roadblock yesterday when Missouri regulators denied the company’s application. The Missouri Public Service Commission voted 3-2 to deny the $2.2 billion high-voltage transmission project, with the majority concluding that Clean Line Energy Partners LLC didn’t satisfy the criteria needed for approval. Commissioner Daniel Hall, one of two who voted in favor of the project, said he hoped the company would refile its application.