News

A full spectrum of reactions to EPA power plant proposal from corporate groups

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Depending on who’s predicting, yesterday’s Clean Air Act draft rule targeting carbon pollution from existing power plants will either revive the U.S. economy by tapping America’s spirit of energy innovation, or it will sink the economy as the government attempts to remove coal and other carbon-intensive fuels from the country’s energy mix. Groups representing a broad cross-section of the U.S. economy wasted little time picking apart the Obama administration’s highly anticipated Section 111(d) rule for existing power plants. Yet the only firm consensus to emerge from early analysis is that the next two years — roughly 12 months of agency review and revision followed by another 12 months of state implementation — will be critical to evaluating the rule’s real effects.

EPA proposal puts states with abundant green power in catbird seat

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

“Extra renewables in one state could be used to offset emissions in another state,” said Kate Zyla, deputy director of the Georgetown Climate Center. The approach could be a lucrative opportunity for states that already have aggressive renewable energy targets to effectively export the emissions reductions associated with that activity. Some of this already occurs — for example when Midwestern wind farms sell renewable energy credits (REC) to utilities in states like Maryland or Delaware, which have their own renewable portfolio standards but less land on which to generate wind power within their borders.

Extenders won’t return to floor before election — Reid

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 4th, 2014

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ruled out action yesterday before November on a package to renew dozens of expired tax breaks, including key incentives for renewable energy, biofuels and efficiency. The Nevada Democrat laid the blame for the impasse at the feet of Republicans, who filibustered the so-called tax extenders bill last month to object to Reid’s management of the floor. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated that criticism today and said Republicans would continue to push for amendment votes if Reid brings the bill back up. Asked whether he had decided the extenders bill would not return to the floor before the elections, Reid said the continued impasse meant that was the case, despite the fact that the bill has broad support from the business community.

Report Calls for Huge Investment in Energy Development

Source: By STANLEY REED, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Enormous amounts of capital investment — up to $2.5 trillion a year — will be needed to supply the world’s energy needs through 2035, according to a report released Monday by the International Energy Agency, the intergovernmental organization based in Paris. A total of $40 trillion would go to developing and maintaining energy supplies, with $8 trillion more being spent on energy efficiency, the organization said in the report.

EPA chief, industry toe to toe over predicted job losses, fuel switch

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Coal production and mine employment would decline under the Obama administration’s rule proposal for controlling greenhouse gases from existing power plants, according to U.S. EPA’s analysis. The regulatory impact analysis that accompanies the landmark proposal released today outlines scenarios where coal would take a hit at the expense of natural gas and other energy sources. “The EPA projects coal production for use by the power sector, a large component of total coal production, will decline by roughly 25 to 27 percent in 2020 from base case levels,” said the analysis. “The use of coal by the power sector will decrease by roughly 30 to 32 percent in 2030.

McCarthy touts flexibility for states in rule rollout

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

As U.S. EPA crafted today’s proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, the agency was asked by environmentalists to use a model that would incorporate both “systemwide” reductions and those that can be achieved at individual plants, while industry advocates warned that such an approach would be challenged in court.
In the end, the proposal released this morning incorporates both “inside the fence line” and “outside the fence line” options, designating both as best systems of emissions reduction (BSER) for today’s power fleet.

Health Experts See Benefits in Push to Cut Pollution

Source: By DENISE GRADY, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Public health experts said Monday that if the president could make the new rules stick, reductions in air pollution would be likely to pay off in better health. Carbon dioxide from coal burning, a main cause of global warming, does not cause heart or lung problems itself, but the soot, chemicals and particles that accompany it can make people sick. For instance, researchers in New York City, led by Dr. George D. Thurston of the New York University School of Medicine, found that on days with high levels of ozone and air pollution, hospital admissions for respiratory problems rose about 20 percent.

Lawmakers vowing to derail power plant rule have little hope of success

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

Lawmakers from both parties vowed yesterday to pull out all the stops to block President Obama’s landmark rule to slash greenhouse gas emissions. But their supporters off Capitol Hill were privately grappling with a starker reality: No matter how many bills are introduced or appropriations riders floated, the regulatory process will march on unabated. “I’m kind of depressed,” said one Republican lobbyist who privately acknowledged that any effort to block the rule in Congress would be a “fool’s errand.”

Taking Page From Health Care Act, Obama Climate Plan Relies on States

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT and PETER BAKER, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

President Obama’s new plan to fight climate change depends heavily on states’ devising individual approaches to meeting goals set in the nation’s capital, a strategy similar to the one he used to expand health care, often with rocky results. Rather than imposing a uniform standard for reducing power plant carbon emissions, the regulation unveiled on Monday offers the states flexibility to pick from a menu of policy options. But as with health care, the policy could lead to a patchwork of rules that frustrate businesses and invite resistance from states that oppose the policy.

6 Surprising Facts About Wind Energy

Source: By Justin Loiseau, Motley Fool • Posted: Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Windmills do more than grind grain, and there’s a lot you may not know about wind energy. Here are six surprising facts to bring you back in the loop on one of America’s most promising energy opportunities.