White House officials touted the Quadrennial Energy Review, which focuses on the energy industry’s infrastructure needs, as a two-pronged tool. First, it assesses the effect of recent developments such as the advent of hydraulic fracturing, which sparked the domestic boom in oil and natural gas production, and the decreasing costs of renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind, whose deployment has more than tripled since President Obama came into office.
The Obama administration on Tuesday laid out an agenda under its Quadrennial Energy Review to modernize the country’s energy infrastructure and make it more resilient to challenges ranging from extreme weather to the domestic energy boom. Commissioned by President Barack Obama when he announced his Climate Action Plan in June 2013, the QER was more than a year in the making and is the administration’s first comprehensive attempt to analyze the country’s aging energy systems.
Vice President Joe Biden in a visit to Philadelphia on Tuesday called the nation’s infrastructure “incredibly outdated” and said it must be fixed to serve the nation’s 21st century energy needs. “Much of it was built decades ago, and can’t handle today’s demands,” Biden said Tuesday at Peco Energy Co., which is using a $200 million federal stimulus grant to help develop technology like smart meters to allow customers to monitor and reduce their usage.
Nebraska’s largest utility is swapping out coal for hydrogen at a power plant south of Lincoln. Nebraska Public Power District says the experimental new fuel source will cut its overall carbon footprint by about 10 percent. NPPD CEO Pat Pope insisted U.S. EPA’s impending greenhouse gas regulation “was not the driver” of the shift. “There were a lot of other reasons why this project made sense,” he said, ticking off at least 100 expected new jobs and the ability to expand the life of the Sheldon Station unit in Hallam, Neb.
How could constitutional scholar and Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe’s involvement in last week’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hearing on the Clean Power Plan affect the future of the rule? During today’s OnPoint, Richard Lazarus and Jody Freeman, professors at Harvard Law, explain why they believe the government came out ahead during last week’s federal court hearing. They also rebut Tribe’s arguments against the constitutionality of the Power Plan.
Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States rose again last year as the nation’s economy grew and are expected to do so again this year and next, the Department of Energy’s statistical arm said today. But the analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows economic growth is being decoupled from emissions, as industrial output outpaces tons of CO2 emitted by fossil fuel combustion.
Consultants and analysts who believe the electric industry is well-equipped to comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan want the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take on a larger role in ensuring states tackle problems in a timely manner. Sue Tierney, a senior adviser for the Analysis Group, a Boston, Mass.-based consulting firm; Brian Parsons, director of the Western Grid Group; and Eric Svenson, a senior adviser with MJ Bradley & Associates, askedFERC Chairman Norman Bay to release an order requiring grid operators and reliability authorities to provide the commission with assessments — using common assumptions and formulas — of their states’ draft plans for complying with the EPA rule.
Conservative activists in North Carolina announced a new campaign today aimed at repealing the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The group Americans for Prosperity revealed it is operating a social media initiative, including an online petition, and a phone-banking operation aimed at encouraging state lawmakers to repeal a law that mandates the investor-owned utilities to generate 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.
The future of American energy, according to one widely held view, will include solar panels and wind turbines continuing to proliferate, churning out ever more electricity and eventually eclipsing fossil fuels to help offset the forces of climate change. With the cost of renewable technologies falling sharply, that vision is starting to take shape, especially in areas with abundant sunshine or steady wind. Here in California, the state is making such quick progress toward its goal of getting 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 that Gov. Jerry Brown raised the ante earlier this year, setting a target of 50 percent by 2030.
[T]he administration is calling for $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion over 10 years for a natural gas pipeline maintenance program, and it says DOE should establish a $3 billion to $5 billion grant program for states to improve electric transmission systems to enhance “resilience and reliability.” The QER calls for a partnership between the DOE and 17 federal, municipal and investor-owned utilities, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, nuclear giant Exelon Corp. and renewables-rich NextEra Energy Inc. The QER also attempts to use the government’s existing leverage within state and federal programs to bolster the development of renewables and transmission projects, including the Department of Agriculture’s provision of $72 million for solar deployment through transmission and smart grid projects in rural areas.