Former Justice Stevens calls mercury ruling ‘mind-boggling’

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 10th, 2015

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, the author of a seminal decision on when courts must defer to agencies, said the high court’s decision this year to invalidate U.S. EPA’s air standards for mercury and other toxics was “truly mind-boggling.” In June, the court ruled that EPA should have considered costs in determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to promulgate its mercury and air toxics standards, or MATS.

A mighty optimistic wind estimate fuels EPA rule

Source: Peter Behr, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 10th, 2015

A strong, sustained growth of U.S. wind power, a cornerstone of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, is achievable but faces stiff economic and political headwinds, according to government and private analyses. The plan issued Monday predicts that zero-carbon renewable energy — primarily wind and solar power — will supply 28 percent of total generation capacity in 2030, the compliance period’s end year. The draft rule a year ago projected 22 percent as the estimated renewable power capacity share, and the higher contribution from renewables is key to the deeper cut in greenhouse gas emissions that the new plan requires (ClimateWire, Aug. 4).

Methane Leaks May Greatly Exceed Estimates, Report Says

Source: By JOHN SCHWARTZ, New York Times • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

A device commonly used to measure the methane that leaks from industrial sources may greatly underestimate those emissions, said an inventor of the technology that the device relies on. The claim, published Tuesday in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, suggests that the amount of escaped methane, a potent greenhouse gas, could be far greater than accepted estimates from scientists, industry and regulators.

Home and grid batteries sell out as Tesla gears up to launch new car

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

For Tesla Motors Inc., stationary energy storage is shaping up to be a big part of its business. The company introduced a home battery storage system, Powerwall, and a larger, utility-scale storage unit called Powerpack, in April. “The demand has been really crazy. It’s well over a billion dollars” of reservations, said Tesla CEO Elon Musk yesterday during a quarterly earnings call. “We’re basically sold out of what we can make in 2016 at this point.”

Hot enough for you? This is just the beginning

Source: Gayathri Vaidyanathan, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

Millions of people around the world are experiencing a scorching summer, as records are broken and thermostats climb this week in parts of Europe. Temperatures in Paris and Brussels exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit at a time of year when 70-degree weather is the norm, according to In Bandar-e Mahshahr, Iran, temperatures climbed to 115 F last week. The temperature, together with high humidity, felt like 163 F to hapless people directly exposed to the weather, according to Accuweather.

Obama, U.N. chief push for aggressive global emissions cuts

Source: Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

The United States can “change the world” by tackling climate change, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday emerging from a White House meeting with President Obama. Calling the Clean Power Plan, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, “visionary and important leadership,” Ban predicted that the U.S. effort will encourage other countries to take bold steps as leaders prepare to sign a global climate change agreement in Paris in December.

Obama spurns natural gas in climate rule

Source: By Timothy Cama, The Hill • Posted: Friday, August 7th, 2015

President Obama’s love affair with natural gas is over. The president once touted gas as an essential clean bridge fuel to wean the United States off dirtier fossil fuels and onto renewable energy, and it was seen as a key to his landmark climate change rule for power plants. But when Obama unveiled the finalized rule this week, he barely spoke about natural gas. Instead, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) boasted that the new regulation will accommodate a large transition from coal power directly to renewables like wind and solar, skipping over natural gas altogether.

Swing-state voters back Clean Power Plan — poll

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

A majority of voters in eight political swing states disagree with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) advice to state officials to buck the newly finalized Clean Power Plan, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey released today. The poll, commissioned by liberal group Americans United for Change, surveyed 4,517 registered voters in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Utilities and rooftop solar companies ally to push bill to boost Calif.’s renewable energy goals

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

California’s pursuit of ever-more renewable energy is pushing odd partners into a debate over the role of rooftop solar. The past few years have brought bruising fights between utilities and small-scale renewables companies over policies that compensate rooftop solar systems for putting power back into the grid. The two sides have been lobbying against each other in California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Utah and other states over claims that rooftop solar doesn’t pay its fair share for using the grid.

Senate Democrats revive effort to target oil, gas subsidies

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Senate Democrats today renewed their attempt to curb oil and gas subsidies and raise billions of dollars as lawmakers search for revenue streams for a host of measures on Capitol Hill, including a transportation extension and a tax extenders package. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), along with 18 Democratic co-sponsors, reintroduced the “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act,” a bill that would target a variety of deductions for the five largest oil companies — BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips Co. — and use the revenue for deficit reduction.