A number of national policymakers, utilities, and industry groups have repeatedly claimed President Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations for existing power plants will raise utility costs and sacrifice reliable electricity service. But Colorado tells a very different story, where renewable energy is replacing coal power plants and driving down the cost of electricity service without sacrificing reliability. Consider the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recent rejection of a lawsuit claiming the state’s renewable energy standard was illegal and raised consumer utility bills because it limits out-of-state coal plants from selling electricity.
Eight oil- and gas-producing states are in for some serious economic and budgetary pain this year and next, economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas are warning. Texas may feel the lightest hit to its economy and should narrowly avoid recession, Dallas Federal Reserve Director of Research Mine Yücel predicted. Alaska, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Wyoming, West Virginia, New Mexico and North Dakota may not be as lucky, as sharp job losses and steeply lower government revenues are presumed.
A new paper by a group of California energy companies is aiming to set out a vision for how the state’s electricity grid should function in 2030. The paper released today by the Advanced Energy Economy Institute, a nonprofit founded by the activist investor Tom Steyer, is intended to “further inform” stakeholders as they come up with policies to support California’s push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase renewable energy. The state has a renewable portfolio standard of 33 percent by 2020, and a bill currently moving through the Legislature would increase it to 50 percent by 2030.
It’s no secret utilities nationwide see distributed generation (DG) — most commonly in the form of rooftop solar — as a major upstart to their business model. Now Black & Veatch’s annual report bolsters that opinion but also notes that utilities are cognizant of such challenges and, more importantly, are preparing to clear the hurdles. Of the 435 utilities responding to surveys for the annual report, about 60 percent consider DG a major or minor threat with long-reaching consequences.
The U.S. wind energy sector grew 8 percent in 2014, boosting domestic capacity to nearly 66,000 megawatts while further reducing costs through greater operational efficiencies and technology improvements, according to the Department of Energy’s latest assessment of the renewable energy sector. The “2014 Wind Technologies Market Report,” compiled by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said the industry’s solid performance in 2014 helped solidify the United States’ position as the world’s second-largest wind energy producer behind China and will aid in meeting recently established U.S. EPA rules aimed at reducing energy sector carbon dioxide emissions.
Is U.S. EPA’s final Clean Power Plan legally vulnerable because it is seen by many as a significant departure from the agency’s proposed rule? During today’s OnPoint, Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center, discusses the biggest winners and losers following last week’s release of the plan and talks about his organization’s next steps for engaging states on crafting compliance mechanisms.
When U.S. EPA released its long-awaited final Clean Power Plan last week, it was immediately clear that states would face vastly different obligations than they had been preparing for under the 2014 draft rule. Many coal-heavy states originally faced relatively lax targets, based on a formula EPA had devised to account for current clean energy policies and infrastructure. But the draft rule’s algorithm was left on the cutting room floor and replaced by uniform standards applied directly to fossil-fuel power plants, no matter where they’re located — 771 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour of power for natural gas plants, and 1,305 pounds of CO2/MWh for coal or oil plants.
When U.S. EPA released its long-awaited final Clean Power Plan last week, it was immediately clear that states would face vastly different obligations than they had been preparing for under the 2014 draft rule.
Many coal-heavy states originally faced relatively lax targets, based on a formula EPA had devised to account for current clean energy policies and infrastructure. But the draft rule’s algorithm was left on the cutting room floor and replaced by uniform standards applied directly to fossil-fuel power plants, no matter where they’re located — 771 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour of power for natural gas plants, and 1,305 pounds of CO2/MWh for coal or oil plants.
District officials announced Wednesday that the city is now receiving enough electricity from wind power to meet one-third of the local government’s electricity needs under a deal that took effect Aug. 1. The deal, with the Spanish energy company Iberdrola Renewables, supplies city facilities with 125,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually from a wind farm in Pennsylvania, officials said.
For an offshore wind industry accustomed to decadeslong development, 2015 is turning into a banner year. In the first six months, European offshore wind installations touched 2.34 gigawatts — establishing the best year ever for installed capacity. Output tripled over the same six-month period a year ago, and total installed offshore wind capacity in Europe hit 10.4 GW generated from 82 wind farms in 11 countries (rivaling the power production of 10 large nuclear power plants). “The bottom line is it’s been a dream year for Germany,” said Oliver Joy, political affairs spokesman for the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in Brussels.