As Listener and Saleswoman, E.P.A. Chief Takes to the Road for Climate Rules

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Monday, March 24th, 2014

Gina McCarthy was deep in enemy territory. Here on this wind-whipped prairie pocked with strip mines, Ms. McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, faced 20 coal miners, union workers and local politicians deeply suspicious of the new climate change regulations she had come to pitch. The Obama administration hopes the regulations will help save the planet, but the North Dakotans say the rules will put coal and their livelihoods at risk.

Iowa lawmakers call for extension of wind tax credits

Source: Bt Christopher Doering, Des Moines Register • Posted: Monday, March 24th, 2014

Iowa representatives in Washington joined more than 140 other lawmakers Friday to call for extensions of a pair of tax credits to help wind energy. The investment tax credit and production tax credit, which both support on-shore and off-shore wind-energy developments, expired at the end of 2013. In a pair of separate letters, lawmakers in both the House and Senate encouraged leaders in Congress to extend the credits that help create jobs and promote renewable energy. Iowa generates 25 percent of its electricity by wind power, the most of any state.

Lawmakers urge renewal of wind energy tax credits

Source: By Timothy Cama, The • Posted: Monday, March 24th, 2014

A group of 144 members of the Congress sent letters Friday urging their colleagues to renew tax credits that help the wind energy industry.
The members want credits for investment in renewable energy technology and production of electricity to be renewed. Both credits expired at the end of 2013. “Like all businesses, the wind industry seeks certainty and predictability so that long-term project decisions and investments can be made,” said the letter signed by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), along with 24 other senator

Renewable standards repeal advances to Kansas Senate

Source: By Andy Marso, The Topeka-Capital Journal • Posted: Monday, March 24th, 2014

A Senate committee passed a bill to repeal the state’s renewable energy standards Thursday after one member said the end of a federal tax credit makes renewables less attractive. Sen. Forrest Knox, R-Altoona, said the expiration of the Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit at the end of 2013 could double the cost of renewable energy, adding one more reason to unshackle the state from the Renewable Portfolio Standards passed in 2009. “Something very big has changed,” Knox said. “The federal production tax credit is no longer there.” The Senate Utilities Committee passed a bill repealing the state standards by voice vote Thursday, with Sen. Marci Francisco and Sen. Tom Hawk, D-Manhattan, asking that their votes in opposition be recorded.

2014 will be producers’ worst year yet — study

Source: Ryan Holeywell, Fuel Fix • Posted: Friday, March 21st, 2014

Reports of coal’s imminent demise are exaggerated, but this year will still be bleak for the industry, according to a new study from ICF International consultants. There has been much speculation about the possible downfall of coal at a time when the United States is inundated with inexpensive natural gas and prospective pollution regulations are hindering coal.

U.K. approves world’s 3rd-largest wind farm off Scottish coast

Source: Press Association/Financial Times • Posted: Friday, March 21st, 2014

The British government has approved construction of two adjacent wind farm projects off the northeast Scottish coast that combined will create the third-largest offshore wind farm in the world, creating 5,000 jobs and generating enough electricity to power a million homes. The projects proposed by Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd. and Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Ltd. will have a maximum generating capacity of 1,866 megawatts from 326 wind turbines. The wind farms could be worth up to £2.5 billion ($4.1 billion) over their lifetime, according to Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing.

FERC moves to reform a gas-hungry grid

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 21st, 2014

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today unveiled a series of proposals to better align the country’s increasingly gas-dependent electric grid with an expanding pipeline complex, a move aimed at preventing gas outages and rolling blackouts that have hit the Southwest in past years. FERC’s proposed rulemaking detailed changes to the natural gas industry’s trading day and nomination schedule, which the agency said would make the system more flexible and ensure gas is available for all parties at critical times.

Urban wind turbines don’t hurt home values, researchers claim

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 21st, 2014

If a wind turbine pops up in your backyard — even if you live in a booming urban area — it won’t affect the value of your home that much, a new report has found. The study, supported by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, did indicate a small impact on home prices during the period between when a turbine project is announced and when it is constructed. But during a webinar yesterday hosted by the Department of Energy, the authors say this value was statistically insignificant. “Our results do not support the claim that wind turbines affect nearby home prices, and what we were quite confident about is that the study did find effects from a variety of negative features as well as positive features,” said Carol Atkinson-Palombo, assistant professor at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Geography.

Former White House CEQ official Guzy discusses future of air regulations

Source: Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Friday, March 21st, 2014

After leaving his post as deputy director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality earlier this year, how is Gary Guzy now advising industry clients to prepare for the Obama administration’s air regulations? During today’s OnPoint, Guzy, senior of counsel at Covington & Burling, gives his take on the current state of play on regulation and the possibility for litigation resulting from U.S. EPA’s New Source Performance Standards. Guzy also discusses the impact White House counselor John Podesta is having on the administration’s climate narrative.

NRDC presses EPA for ‘very ambitious’ standards for existing power plants

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, March 21st, 2014

If U.S. EPA proposes a tough carbon standard for existing power plants, it won’t risk sacrificing energy affordability or reliability, a prominent environmental group said today. The Natural Resources Defense Council released a new analysis of its 2012 report on how EPA could use the Clean Air Act’s Section 111(d) to rein in emissions from today’s power plant fleet. It argued that there are ample opportunities for efficiency and low-carbon energy to allow states to satisfy even very stringent reduction targets.