Critics blast IRS wind tax guidance

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Critics of the renewable energy production tax credit are crying foul over new Internal Revenue Service guidance allowing wind and other facilities an additional two years to qualify for the incentive after breaking ground. Last week’s IRS notice doubled the amount of time renewable energy production facilities have to qualify for the PTC after starting construction. The guidance extended the time from two years, a number set in 2013, to four or more years.

California Utility-Scale Solar Energy Surpasses Wind Energy For 1st Time

Source:  By Adam Johnston, CleanTechnica • Posted: Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

California leads in solar PV installations, as it continues to dominate the solar landscape. With the state having one of the top Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) of 50% by 2030, this will put further need to increase not only utility-scale solar energy, but also improved local solar forecasting to produce maximum results, as the state heads towards its clean energy goals.

Energy-water bill likely to move this week

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

The test of the precarious path will come when the Senate holds a cloture vote no later than tomorrow morning to dispose of a contentious Iran amendment that has held up the appropriations bill for the past few weeks. Sixty votes would be required to move ahead with the amendment, an unlikely threshold given solid opposition from the chamber’s 44 Democrats. Once the amendment is defeated, the Senate could move toward passage of the broader bill.

Iowa wind boom highlights transformation in Midwest

Source: Jeffrey Tomich, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 9th, 2016

But with all of the opportunities that go along with the transformation of the grid, there also remain plenty of challenges. Some of the most pressing challenges highlighted Friday include state policy battles over how to deploy rooftop solar energy systems; local disputes over siting of transmission projects; cooperation among grid operators; and ensuring reliability of the power grid as older, less efficient coal plants are phased out.

Clinton agenda eyes executive powers, not Hill — advisers

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 9th, 2016

Her priorities include safeguarding U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, completing a review of fuel efficiency standards and making gains on methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta said. “I still hold out the hope that Congress will become a real partner with any president when it comes to climate action,” Podesta said, “but the prospects of that, particularly I think in the House, are undeniably still some years off, and this is simply too important to wait for Congress to get with the program.”

Senate not likely to advance energy bill on third try

Source: George Cahlink, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 9th, 2016

A bid to get the fiscal 2017 appropriations process back on track in the Senate by reviving the energy and water spending bill will likely come up short this evening. Senate Democrats plan to once again band together against a procedural vote to wind down debate on the $37.5 billion bill because of a proposed amendment related to Iran. Before last week’s recess, the Senate voted 52-43 against invoking cloture, leaving the energy and water bill short of the 60 votes needed to move toward final passage.

Exxon case launches ‘novel and creative’ era of litigation

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 9th, 2016

Investigations and potential future litigation against Exxon Mobil Corp. over its alleged past misinformation about global warming are just the beginning of a new era of climate change legal pursuits, several attorneys predicted this week. New legal maneuvers could feature the government, consumers, investors and insurance companies as plaintiffs, said the attorneys, who spoke at the Climate Action 2016 summit in Washington, D.C.

EPA Chief: US Quickly Phasing Out Coal for Clean Energy

Source: By Michael Biesecker, Associated Press • Posted: Monday, May 9th, 2016

The top official at the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday the ongoing legal fight over regulating carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants won’t delay the nation’s accelerating shift to cleaner sources of energy. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke at Climate Action 2016, a conference in Washington on efforts to curb global warming. Seeking to reassure her international audience, McCarthy said the United States will absolutely meet its obligations to cut carbon emissions as agreed to in the landmark climate treaty signed in Paris last December.

Congressional research shop releases litigation summary

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 9th, 2016

Congress’ in-house research shop has drafted a summary of the complicated legal battle over the Obama administration’s climate regulations. The Congressional Research Service late last month released a backgrounder in the case, West Virginia v. U.S. EPA, where nearly 160 parties are challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan.

Moniz says Paris goals already achievable, but more cuts needed

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, May 9th, 2016

The United States can reach its Paris climate goals with current and emerging technologies and today’s suite of policy signals, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. Speaking at an event hosted by the European delegation to the United States, Moniz said the Climate Action Plan that President Obama introduced three years ago could deliver on the U.S. pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025 when coupled with technology improvements that are already in the pipeline. But new laws will be needed to put the United States on a path to contribute to Paris’ goal of keeping warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.