CEQ guidance adds new twist to legal battles

Source: Amanda Reilly, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 8th, 2016

The Council on Environmental Quality’s climate change guidance released this week adds a new element to battles that are largely playing out in courts over the scope of federal agencies’ environmental reviews of projects. At issue is the extent to which agencies must consider greenhouse gas emissions that occur upstream and downstream from energy projects. Environmental advocates argue those emissions fall squarely under the scope of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Global climate deal likely to enter into force in 2016: study

Source: BY ALISTER DOYLE, Reuters • Posted: Monday, August 8th, 2016

A global agreement on climate change looks likely to enter into force this year, a study showed on Friday, making it harder for Republican Donald Trump to pull out if he wins the U.S. presidency. Countries accounting for 54 percent of greenhouse gas emissions have signaled intent to ratify this year, according to the tally of national pledges by the Marshall Islands which is a strong backer of the plan agreed in Paris in December.

NY readies release of wind-energy draft blueprint

Source: By Mark Harrington, Newsday • Posted: Monday, August 8th, 2016

New York State is set to release a draft blueprint for its offshore wind-energy ambitions in a matter of days or weeks, a plan that could ultimately result in 1,430 power-producing turbines spinning in federal waters from New Jersey to Rhode Island, including two potential sites directly off Long Island. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on Friday said the draft blueprint will “describe the benefits of developing New York’s offshore wind potential and outline how the state will collect and document feedback.” Stakeholders include consumers, utilities, environmental groups, coastal communities, commercial fisherman and the maritime industry, the authority said. It said the blueprint will be released “this month.”

How to make a clean car even cleaner

Source: Camille von Kaenel, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 8th, 2016

Solar panels tower over an all-electric Nissan Leaf plugged into a charging station on the campus of the Argonne National Laboratory. Yards away, in an old shipping container repurposed as an office, Jason Harper, an electrical engineer, touches a big screen and turns on the juice. “You can see when the Leaf is starting to charge, and you can see when the solar panels are providing electricity,” he says, clicking on different options. Outside, a Wi-Fi-enabled charging device he created remotely controls the flow of electrons from the grid to the car.

Americans support curbing transportation emissions — poll

Source: Ariel Wittenberg, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, August 8th, 2016

Most Americans are on board with the Obama administration’s strategy for cutting transportation-related carbon pollution, according to a new poll commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The poll asked 1,012 Americans from both political parties how they felt about specific efforts to reduce carbon pollution. It found that 79 percent of Americans want the government to continue increasing fuel efficiency standards and 78 percent of Americans agree that “state transportation agencies should take vehicle-related carbon pollution and climate change into account when developing transportation plans, and also seek ways to reduce that pollution.”

Wisconsin Manufacturers Gear Up For Wind Farm Orders From Other States

Source: By By Kate Archer Kent, Wisconsin Public Radio • Posted: Monday, August 8th, 2016

Billions of dollars in wind farm projects are underway in Iowa, but Wisconsin is lagging behind in wind energy. Yet, jobs from massive energy projects in other states will filter into Wisconsin, according to Justin Barrett, wind energy technology instructor at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Wisconsin.

Apple Can Sell Power as Tech Giants Boost Energy Investments

Source: By Jonathan Crawford, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, August 8th, 2016

Apple Inc., which spent $850 million last year on a 130-megawatt solar farm near San Francisco, can begin selling power into wholesale markets in the latest foray by a technology company into the energy business. Apple’s subsidiary Apple Energy LLC may sell energy, capacity and other services needed to maintain reliable power, according to an order by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Thursday. In granting approval, the commission determined the company did not raise the risk of being able to unfairly hike up power prices.

‘No sane investor’ will touch this technology. California just did.

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 5th, 2016

Piezoelectricity — in which materials generate energy when compressed — may still be the future. At least that’s what some Californians believe. A new $2 million subsidy from the California Energy Commission will fund pilot projects exploring the use of piezoelectricity, with the eventual goal of installing generators under roadways and railways to capture the energy of vehicles passing over them. Supporters say it could revolutionize both roads and renewable generation, but others caution that the technology isn’t likely to pan out. It’s commonly used in small-scale applications like sound equipment and ignition systems for gas stoves, but has yet to take off on a larger scale.

Sole Republican member to step down next month

Source: By Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 5th, 2016

Tony Clark, a Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, today announced he will leave the agency next month. A former chairman of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, Clark was first elected to the North Dakota Public Service Commission in 2000 and was re-elected in 2006.

Solar, wind will drive up electricity costs — study

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 5th, 2016

A new critique of the Obama administration’s energy policies finds that dispatching new renewable energy resources will significantly drive up electricity costs. Last week, the Institute for Energy Research issued an update of what has become a perennial analysis on the levelized costs of energy (LCOE). In it, the group argues that electricity from new solar and wind energy plants is now 2.5 to 5 times more expensive than electricity from existing nuclear and coal plants.