The U.S. has enough installed solar energy capacity to power 4.6 million homes. Solar energy accounted for 32 percent of total new power generation in 2014, exceeding coal and wind energy but lagging behind natural gas. In just nine years, the installed cost of solar energy has fallen by more than 73 percent – setting up the industry for explosive growth.
Environmentalists are seizing on TransCanada Corp.’s twin legal challenges against President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal pending before Congress. The company, which is hoping to build the pipeline from Alberta into the United States to largely carry oil sands crude, accused the White House of flouting the Constitution and international norms. And many supporters of the project in Congress are rallying to its side.
Environmentalists and officials at Oregon’s two largest utility companies have reached an agreement that could radically change the state’s electric supply in an agreement that looks to double renewable energy by 2040 and eliminate its dependance on coal by 2035. The groups plan to introduce the bill in the 2016 legislative session. If the bill is enacted, environmentalists have agreed to drop ballot measures that would require additional changes.
The state of Washington yesterday proposed its first-ever limits on carbon dioxide emissions from large facilities. The plan calls for capping CO2 from emitters of 100,000 or more metric tons of the heat-trapping gas and requiring a 5 percent reduction every three years. Entities would be allowed to trade pollution allowances to meet the limits, both within the state and through other carbon markets, including California and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in the Northeast.
The White House plans to release the president’s fiscal 2017 budget request, the administration’s final blueprint of priorities, on Feb. 9. The budget will come later than the traditional release date of the first Monday in February, narrowly missing the statutory deadline for the White House to deliver the document to Capitol Hill. It will also emerge two days after the Super Bowl — and on the same day the political world will be paying attention to the New Hampshire presidential primary.
U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said she has no “plan B” in case the courts block the agency’s Clean Power Plan during litigation as challengers have requested. Speaking at a Council on Foreign Relations event in Washington, McCarthy expressed faith in the legal underpinnings of the rule and said her focus was instead on working with states to craft compliance plans due in September.
State renewable energy standards netted $7.4 billion in environmental benefits in 2013 while spurring the creation of roughly 200,000 new energy-sector jobs, a new analysis from the Energy Department finds. Among other things, the joint study released yesterday by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that renewable portfolio standards (RPSes) have spurred $2.2 billion in benefits through reduced greenhouse gas emissions alone and reduced water withdrawals by 830 billion gallons in 2013.
United Wind Inc., a leading developer of distributed wind energy projects, has secured a record $200 million in funding from a Canadian investor, officials announced yesterday. The financing, from Forum Equity Partners Inc. of Toronto, is the largest investment ever made in a distributed wind energy firm and will allow Brooklyn, N.Y.-based United Wind to install roughly 1,000 new turbines in key markets in the Northeast and Midwest. The investment also represents a huge financial-sector endorsement of distributed wind power, a niche industry that is applying the wildly successful solar lease model to wind power
During a town hall meeting in Sioux City, Iowa, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said she would like to see a half-billion solar panels installed throughout the country by the end of her first term, and she said she’s willing to begin the process in Washington, D.C. After being prompted by an event attendee, Clinton said she would like to see panels reinstalled on the roof of the White House. President Carter originally installed the panels, but President Reagan had them removed when he reached office. President Obama installed new solar panels in 2014.
Federal agencies plan to survey residents of North Carolina and South Carolina on their support of proposed wind farm development off their coasts. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will use the survey’s results in evaluating commercial leases across more than 300,000 acres of federal waters. North Carolina’s outer continental shelf is the latest area that the Interior Department has eyed for commercial wind development