Google’s Project Sunroof expands to 7 new states

Source: Madelyn Beck, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Google expanded its Project Sunroof to metropolitan areas in nine states last month, enabling people in those hot spots to estimate whether solar panels are worth installing on a particular roof. The project launched last summer in Google’s home base in San Francisco; the creator’s home near Boston; and Fresno, Calif. Now, Project Sunroof is in metropolitan areas in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.

Regulators advance controversial net-metering changes

Source: By Sean Whaley, Las Vegas Review-Journal • Posted: Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

Nevada regulators rejected a request to delay the implementation of new rooftop solar rates for net-metering customers. At a public meeting yesterday that saw dozens of homeowners request the action, the state Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to move forward with the new rates.

U.S. Pledges to Ease Pain of Closing Coal Mines in Shift to Cleaner Energy

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

or the past five years, President Obama has denied the Republican charge that he is waging a war on coal. On Friday, with the Obama administration’s announcement that the Interior Department will halt new coal leases on public lands, Mr. Obama acknowledged that his climate change polices are hurting American miners and began offering ways to ease that economic harm.

Could renewable energy tech eliminate utilities?

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2016

Zichal, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, said she recently visited China and met with some business leaders. “They know the way they’re currently doing business is not sustainable. It’s not sustainable from a health perspective. It’s not sustainable from an economic perspective and it’s not sustainable from an environmental perspective,” said Zichal, a former adviser to President Barack Obama. “The entire business community is on board” to cut greenhouse gases that scientists say contribute to global warming. And the government is behind them, she said. “You don’t see businesses and government out there saying, ‘We’re behind new regulations.’

DOE to invest $220M in upgrades

Source: Christa Marshall, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2016

The Department of Energy released a new multiyear plan to modernize the electric grid in conjunction with up to $220 million in planned investments. Speaking at a utility control center in Miami, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said the financial awards would support research and development over three years in advanced storage systems and other grid modernization projects at DOE’s national laboratories and their partners. About half of the money is available now, with much of the rest contingent on annual congressional appropriations, according to a DOE spokesman.

Senate bill ‘in the queue’ for floor time

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2016

The bipartisan energy package that passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last summer is in line to see floor time, but the exact timing isn’t yet set, according to a Senate GOP aide. “ENR is in the queue and our staff is preparing for floor action,” Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Senate Energy Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), said today in an email, adding that a date has not been set but it could come up “soon.”

After SOTU, preparing for the next fossil fuel fight

Source: Brittany Patterson and Evan Lehmann, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2016

nvironmentalists and industry groups alike are speculating on what the president has in store next for oil and coal after a seemingly nebulous statement he made during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address. “Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels,” Obama said. Offering his only climate change policy prescription of the evening, he added, “That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

What’s in a ‘subsidy’? Fla. may soon find out

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2016

A utility-backed constitutional amendment for rooftop solar is just 75,000 signatures away from the threshold it needs to go before Florida voters in November. But if there’s any new policy to expand Florida’s rooftop solar market, then taxes, fees or a redesign of customer rates are certain to follow.

Reports: Ohio energy standard costs lower than previously thought

Source: By Kathiann M. Kowalski, Midwest Energy News • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2016

As Ohio lawmakers continue to debate the state’s renewable energy standards, a pair of recent reports show the costs of complying with the laws are significantly lower than previously thought. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) issued its final alternative energy compliance report for the year 2013 last week on the same day that the Department of Energy announced new reports showing that renewable energy standards produced nationwide benefits worth more than seven times their costs in 2013.

Obama Administration Will Announce Halt on New Coal Leases

Source: BY KEVIN FREKING, ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Friday, January 15th, 2016

The Obama administration will announce a moratorium Friday on any major new coal leases on federal lands until it completes a comprehensive review of whether the fees charged to mining companies provide a fair return to American taxpayers and reflect coal’s impact on the environment. An administration official says companies will continue to be able to mine the coal reserves already under lease. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan hasn’t yet been formally announced. Roughly 40 percent of the coal produced in the United States comes from federal lands. The vast majority of that mining takes place in Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. It’s unclear what impact the moratorium will have on many coal companies given the declining domestic demand for coal and the closure of numerous coal-fired power plants around the country.