Utilities, enviros agree to ax coal

Source: By Ted Sickinger, Portland Oregonian • Posted: Sunday, January 10th, 2016

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.

Wash. proposes cap and trade for large facilities

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 8th, 2016

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.

White House sets spending blueprint release date

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 8th, 2016

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.

No plan B if court blocks rule — McCarthy

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 8th, 2016

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.

DOE finds renewable standards reaped billions in benefits

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 8th, 2016

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.

Record wind investment to help 1,000 new turbines soar

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 8th, 2016

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

Clinton would keep solar panels on White House

Source: By Laura Meckler, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Friday, January 8th, 2016

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.

NOAA, BOEM weigh local ‘attitudes’ on turbine farms

Source: Emily Yehle, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 8th, 2016

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

Neb.’s rural nature adds twist to compliance planning

Source: Rod Kuckro, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Nebraska epitomizes the tension present in many state governments weighing compliance with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The governor and attorney general of this red state are in litigation with the federal government over the rule to force emissions cuts from power plants. Its environmental regulator and major utilities, however, are doing their precautionary duty to craft compliance options aimed at mitigating possible effects on the state’s electricity ratepayers and reliability.

States reach for ambitious goals, but industry is skeptical

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2016

The so-called ZEV Alliance announced a most ambitious goal late last year: eliminate the sale of traditionally fueled passenger cars by 2050. Comprising California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, British Columbia and Quebec, the Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance was formed to allow states and nations to swap ideas on how to better promote electric vehicles.