A dozen states led by West Virginia and including Nebraska are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to block a proposed rule that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. An environmental lawyer called the states’ attempt to stop the rule “laughable.”
The states that filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia are Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. West Virginia Atty. Gen. Patrick Morrisey said the EPA’s proposed rule will have “devastating effects on West Virginia’s jobs and its economy” by forcing some coal-fired plants to close. The plaintiffs said the EPA entered into a settlement agreement in 2011 with environmental groups and states allied with them to regulate existing coal-fired utilities under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. That section is the basis for the rules the Obama administration proposed in June.
A legal settlement between the Sierra Club and Mississippi Power Co. sets the stage for the utility to transition away from coal and expand renewable energy in the state. The agreement also leads the company’s sister utility in Alabama to close some additional coal-fired units, further shifting its parent, Southern Co., away from coal.
For the first time, some of the top 25 public relations companies in the world are saying publicly that they will not work with clients that deny climate change or that are trying to block regulations limiting carbon emissions. The statement came from companies including WPP, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100 and Finn Partners, representing a major change within the multibillion-dollar industry.
Kenya was supposed to be one of the easiest targets. It is considered a business-friendly country accustomed to working with foreign companies in conjunction with aid agencies for ambitious partnerships. Kenya’s power situation is also precarious—the failure of two transmission lines last year caused a nationwide blackout. But the Kinangop wind farm is proving politically nettlesome and symbolic of the larger challenges facing President Obama’s signature aid program in Africa. Though it was the smallest of the wind projects, Kinangop was scheduled to supply enough power for 150,000 homes by the middle of 2015. The land dispute with farmers has thrown all schedules into question.
Currently, 11 states with wind power are seeing 10% reductions in carbon emissions, plus three other states near the benchmark. The US government is targeting a 23% decline in emissions by 2030 from wind energy as part of its current goal. Iowa achieved 20% of its electricity coming from wind thanks to the state’s renewable energy standard. The short documentary Scaling Wind features Iowa Governor Terry Brandstand talking about how the Hawkeye state got its target.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott — under fire from both national environmentalists and his gubernatorial opponents — pledged millions in new environmental funding yesterday, spawning cheers from supporters along with a new wave of Democratic attacks about the governor’s climate change stance. On a multi-city environmental tour with stops from Orlando to Miami, the Republican governor pledged $1 billion for Florida’s waters, including via a 10-year, $500 million plan for an alternative water supply in the state and $500 million over the same period for springs restoration, a water quality issue.
House Testimony: Renewable Electricity Standards are Delivering Significant Economic Benefits Across the United States
Last week, I was invited to testify at the U.S. House of Representative’s Energy and Commerce Committee, Energy and Power Subcommittee’s hearing on “Laboratories of Democracy: The Economic Impacts of State Energy Policies.” My remarks focused on the tremendous success story of state renewable electricity standards (RES) and the important economic benefits they are delivering to state and local economies, as described in more detail in this 2013 UCS report.
Xcel Energy Inc. announced Thursday the creation of two subsidiaries to pursue multistate transmission projects that would serve multiple utilities. Chief Executive Ben Fowke said Xcel Energy Transmission Development Co. will focus on the Midwest and that Xcel Energy Southwest Transmission Co. will pursue Southwest projects.
When it comes to the Houston Import Project, there are a lot of plotlines to keep straight. CenterPoint Energy Inc., a regulated utility, contends that it should oversee all of a new transmission line that would send electricity to the Houston area, not just some of it. Calpine Corp. and NRG Energy Inc., independent power producers, say the state’s main grid operator acted improperly in endorsing the development in the first place. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator, defends its actions in backing the proposal and designating a division of construction work.