Norway plans to drop worst greenhouse gas emitters from wealth fund

Source: By Reuters • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

Norway plans to drop investments in companies emitting unacceptable amounts of greenhouse gases in a sharpening of environmental rules for its $885 billion sovereign wealth fund, the Finance Ministry said on Friday. The proposed rules would stop short of a blanket divestment from coal and oil by the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, it said. The fund is itself built on revenues from Norway’s offshore oil and gas production. “The government will introduce a new criterion to exclude companies whose conduct to an unacceptable degree entail greenhouse gas emissions,” it said.

Want More Wind And Solar Energy? Invest A Lot More In The Grid

Source: By Ken Silverstein, Forbes • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

Want to increase the use of green energy and reduce the level of harmful emissions? Invest heavily in the grid to both modernize and expand it, which will accomplish such aims while also building the US economy. That’s the view of energy and utility experts assembled by Public Utilities Fortnightly at its energy, money and power conference last week in Washington, DC. A smarter and more extensive grid that is able to distribute greener power is expensive. But the benefits of creating a modern infrastructure are huge.

House panel, McCabe face off on ‘just say no’ bill 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

A key House Energy and Commerce Committee subpanel will hear testimony this week on draft legislation to allow states to opt out of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan. EPA air chief Janet McCabe will headline today’s hearing on a draft bill sponsored by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), which would grant all states a reprieve from deadlines to submit state implementation plans (SIPs) for the existing power plant carbon rule until judicial review has concluded. It would also let governors refuse to comply even then if they decide the rule will drive up electricity rates or harm grid reliability

Vancouver commits to run on 100% renewable energy

Source: By Stephen Leahy, Guardian • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

Andrea Reimer, Vancouver’s deputy mayor told the Guardian: “There’s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city.” The 100% goal is likely to be set for a target year of 2030 or 2035. People and businesses want to live and work in clean and green urban areas, said Reimer, adding that whoever develops expertise in shifting to 100% renewable energy will own the 21st century.

EIA chief to brief Senate lawmakers on 2015 energy outlook 

Source: Daniel Bush, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

The U.S. Energy Information Administration chief will discuss the agency’s 2015 energy outlook Thursday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski will brief lawmakers on updated data and forecasts for domestic fossil fuel and renewable energy production, oil prices, and the nation’s energy future.

Both sides ready arguments for case that could scotch EPA power plant rule 

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

Energy companies and 15 predominantly Republican-led states will press federal judges this week to halt President Obama’s greenhouse gas standards for power plants. In two consolidated cases, West Virginia and Murray Energy Corp. are leading a bid for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to take the unusual step of preventing U.S. EPA from finalizing the standards — a key component of Obama’s effort to address climate change. A three-judge D.C. Circuit panel composed entirely of Republican appointees will hear arguments Thursday morning.

2015 prediction — coal plant closures peak, while renewables and gas surge to new highs 

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

The transformation of the U.S. electricity sector will quicken in 2015, as the country is expected to rely on more natural gas, solar and wind energy than ever before, according to new projections published yesterday by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Coal plant closures are also expected to peak this year, with 23 gigawatts of capacity coming offline in anticipation of tough new federal regulations targeting power plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants, Bloomberg analysts said in the firm’s “Midterm Outlook U.S. Power” for 2015.

Colorado’s big coal-burning utilities take a turn to renewable energy

Source: By Mark Jaffe, The Denver Post • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

Most of the electricity produced in Colorado still comes from burning coal, but even the state’s two largest coal burners are adding more renewable energy. The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and Platte River Power Authority each recently announced plans for new renewable energy sources. “We’ve seen the prices dropping, and we’ve been able to add these renewable energy projects,” said Lee Boughey, a spokesman for Westminster-based Tri-State. Tri-State announced this month that it would add a 150-megawatt wind farm in Kit Carson County. Platte River Power, based in Fort Collins, is set to add a 22-megawatt solar installation near Wellington.

How Conservative Texas Took The Lead in U.S. Wind Power 

Source: By Roger Real Drouin, Yale Environment 360 • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

When the King Mountain Wind Ranch was built in 2001 south of Odessa, Texas, it was the largest wind project in the world, with 214 turbines capable of generating 278 megawatts of electricity. Fourteen years later, the company that constructed King Mountain, RES Americas, has developed a total of 15 wind farms in Texas capable of generating about 2,200 megawatts of electricity — enough to power about 600,000 homes under average wind conditions. The developer has yet another wind farm currently under construction, all because the windswept Texas prairie “provided a great natural resource and Texans were supportive of wind energy,” says Chad Horton, vice president of development for RES Americas.

On heels of Obama plan, researchers warn of climate link to diseases from cholera to asthma 

Source: Umair Irfan, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 13th, 2015

n pitching his proposal for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, President Obama has repeatedly made solving problems like asthma attacks a central pillar. “Often, these illnesses are aggravated by air pollution, pollution from the same sources that release carbon and contribute to climate change, and for the sake of all of our kids, we’ve got to do more to reduce it,” Obama said last year just before U.S. EPA announced its emissions-cutting proposal. The president again reiterated his case for cutting carbon emissions this week, bringing up his daughter’s troubles with asthma.