News

Neb. power plant says goodbye to coal, hello to hydrogen 

Source: Scott Detrow, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Nebraska’s largest utility is swapping out coal for hydrogen at a power plant south of Lincoln. Nebraska Public Power District says the experimental new fuel source will cut its overall carbon footprint by about 10 percent. NPPD CEO Pat Pope insisted U.S. EPA’s impending greenhouse gas regulation “was not the driver” of the shift. “There were a lot of other reasons why this project made sense,” he said, ticking off at least 100 expected new jobs and the ability to expand the life of the Sheldon Station unit in Hallam, Neb.

Harvard Law’s Lazarus and Freeman discuss federal court Power Plan hearing, Tribe arguments 

Source: By Monica Trauzzi, E&E • Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

How could constitutional scholar and Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe’s involvement in last week’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hearing on the Clean Power Plan affect the future of the rule? During today’s OnPoint, Richard Lazarus and Jody Freeman, professors at Harvard Law, explain why they believe the government came out ahead during last week’s federal court hearing. They also rebut Tribe’s arguments against the constitutionality of the Power Plan.

U.S. emissions rose in 2014 but lagged pace of economic growth 

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in the United States rose again last year as the nation’s economy grew and are expected to do so again this year and next, the Department of Energy’s statistical arm said today. But the analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows economic growth is being decoupled from emissions, as industrial output outpaces tons of CO2 emitted by fossil fuel combustion.

Analysts urge FERC role in ensuring states comply with Clean Power Plan 

Source: Hannah Northey and Jean Chemnick, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Consultants and analysts who believe the electric industry is well-equipped to comply with U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan want the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to take on a larger role in ensuring states tackle problems in a timely manner. Sue Tierney, a senior adviser for the Analysis Group, a Boston, Mass.-based consulting firm; Brian Parsons, director of the Western Grid Group; and Eric Svenson, a senior adviser with MJ Bradley & Associates, askedFERC Chairman Norman Bay to release an order requiring grid operators and reliability authorities to provide the commission with assessments — using common assumptions and formulas — of their states’ draft plans for complying with the EPA rule.

Conservative group ramps up effort to kill state RPS 

Source: Jennifer Yachnin, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Conservative activists in North Carolina announced a new campaign today aimed at repealing the state’s renewable portfolio standard. The group Americans for Prosperity revealed it is operating a social media initiative, including an online petition, and a phone-banking operation aimed at encouraging state lawmakers to repeal a law that mandates the investor-owned utilities to generate 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2021.

Batteries and Renewable Energy Set to Grow Together

Source: By HENRY FOUNTAIN, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

The future of American energy, according to one widely held view, will include solar panels and wind turbines continuing to proliferate, churning out ever more electricity and eventually eclipsing fossil fuels to help offset the forces of climate change. With the cost of renewable technologies falling sharply, that vision is starting to take shape, especially in areas with abundant sunshine or steady wind. Here in California, the state is making such quick progress toward its goal of getting 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 that Gov. Jerry Brown raised the ante earlier this year, setting a target of 50 percent by 2030.

Administration to propose billions for infrastructure in QER release today

Source: Nick Juliano and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

[T]he administration is calling for $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion over 10 years for a natural gas pipeline maintenance program, and it says DOE should establish a $3 billion to $5 billion grant program for states to improve electric transmission systems to enhance “resilience and reliability.” The QER calls for a partnership between the DOE and 17 federal, municipal and investor-owned utilities, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, nuclear giant Exelon Corp. and renewables-rich NextEra Energy Inc. The QER also attempts to use the government’s existing leverage within state and federal programs to bolster the development of renewables and transmission projects, including the Department of Agriculture’s provision of $72 million for solar deployment through transmission and smart grid projects in rural areas.

In 2 community ventures, new ways to think solar 

Source: Krysti Shallenberger, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 20th, 2015

Want to trade your roof for some free solar panel installation? Buy a solar panel to power someone else’s home? Two Boston-based startups are looking for some good Samaritans and energy-conscious folks to do just that.

EU approves German aid to support construction of 20 offshore wind farms

Source: by Julia Fioretti, Reuters • Posted: Monday, April 20th, 2015

The European Commission on Thursday gave Germany the green light to support the construction of 20 offshore wind farms by paying operators a premium on top of the market price for electricity, it said in a statement. The Commission concluded that the projects would contribute to reaching Germany’s 2020 targets for renewable energy without distorting competition. The total investment costs amount to 29.3 billion euros ($31.19 billion).

With slew of new purchases, SE utilities continue to warm up to solar 

Source: Kristi E. Swartz, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, April 20th, 2015

Southern Co.’s wholesale power unit bought its fourth California-based solar array yesterday in one of several deals that has put the Southeast in the solar spotlight this week. Atlanta-based Southern’s wholesale unit now has a controlling interest in a 32-megawatt solar array in California. The purchase means the company’s Southern Power unit will own roughly 990 MW of solar and wind projects throughout the country.