News

Judges Skeptical of Challenge to Proposed E.P.A. Rule on Climate Change

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Friday, April 17th, 2015

A panel of federal judges appeared inclined on Thursday to dismiss the first legal challenge to President Obama’s most far-reaching regulation to slow climate change. But in the arguments before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, lawyers for the nation’s two largest coal companies, more than two dozen states and the Environmental Protection Agency offered a preview of what is expected to be a protracted battle over a regulation Mr. Obama hopes to leave as his signature environmental achievement.

Renewable energy jobs drop sharply in Australia amid political uncertainty 

Source: By Sydney Morning Herald • Posted: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

In the last two years, renewable energy jobs in Australia have declined by 15 percent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. More than 2,000 jobs have been lost since the industry hit a peak of almost 15,000 full-time workers in 2011 and 2012. Last year, there were 12,590 jobs in renewable energy. According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, job loss can be attributed to political indecision over the Renewable Energy Target, which calls for 20 percent of Australia’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020. The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the indecision was having a negative impact on investments.

Prime Minister Modi says India must lead on climate change

Source: By Annie Gowen, Washington Post • Posted: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

“Too often, our discussion is reduced to an argument about emission cuts,” Modi said in a speech at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on April 10 in Paris. “But, we are more likely to succeed if we offer affordable solutions, not simply impose choices.” Modi was an early advocate of solar technology, and his government has pledged to increase its solar-generated capacity to 100 gigawatts and its wind capacity to 60 gigawatts by 2022. At the same time, the country is doubling its coal production to fuel its growing economy and electricity needs.

Texas Senate votes to end renewable energy program

Source: By James Osborne, Dallas Morning News • Posted: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Texas’ state Senate voted yesterday to shut down a renewable energy program that had far exceeded its production goals. Established in 1999, the initiative aimed for 10,000 megawatts of wind and solar power by 2025, but Texas reached that in 2010.

Wind energy employs about 6,000 in Iowa, report says

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Iowa’s wind energy industry employed about 6,000 people last year, about 2,000 more than in 2013, a report Wednesday showed. Iowa’s wind energy employment was second only to Texas, which put 17,000 people to work, the American Wind Energy Association reported. Altogether, about 73,000 Americans were employed in the wind industry last year, adding about 23,000 jobs since 2013. Iowa has seen the development of some large wind energy manufacturing facilities in recent years, including Siemens in Fort Madison, and Trinity Structural Towers and TPI Composites, both in Newton.

Portland, Ore., energy company examines joining Calif. grid system 

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Portland, Ore.-based PacifiCorp is looking at joining the wholesale electricity market headed by the California grid operator. PacifiCorp, which serves about 1.8 million customers in Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and a small portion of California, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the California Independent Operator to “explore full participation in the ISO as a Participating Transmission Owner.” The agreement “paves the way for performing a joint study on the feasibility and benefits of PacifiCorp joining the only competitive wholesale market in the West,” the pact said. The ISO manages about 80 percent of the energy flow in California.

Buffett’s PacifiCorp Studies Joining California Power System

Source: by Lynn Doan, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

PacifiCorp, part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., is considering joining California’s power grid, expanding the state’s access to renewable energy. The company is studying the feasibility of becoming a transmission-owning member of the state-wide network operated by California Independent System Operator Corp., the company and the Folsom, California-based ISO said in statements on Tuesday. The Portland utility would become one of only two transmission owners outside of California to be a part of the system.

Legal Battle Begins Over Obama Bid to Curb Greenhouse Gases

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, April 16th, 2015

President Obama’s most far-reaching regulation to slow climate change will have its first day in court on today, the beginning of what is expected to be a multiyear legal battle over the policy that Mr. Obama hopes to leave as his signature environmental achievement. In two separate but related cases to be jointly argued in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the country’s two largest coal companies, along with 14 coal-producing states, have challenged a proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation, which the agency issued under the authority of the Clean Air Act, to curb planet-warming carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants. If put in effect as E.P.A. officials have proposed, the rule is intended to fundamentally transform the nation’s power sector, shuttering hundreds of coal plants and expanding renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

Obama plans S.D. trip to round out 50 states 

Source: By Darlene Superville, Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

“I can’t let my South Dakota friends feel neglected,” the president told KSFY anchor Nancy Naeve, announcing he would be the commencement speaker at Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown, S.D., on May 8.

SolarCity and Nest offer a glimpse of the future 

Source: David Ferris, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

SolarCity, the country’s hungriest solar installer, and Nest, the maker of the highest-profile thermostat, announced a partnership yesterday that hints at how rooftop solar and the connected home might play together. The program, offered in California, gives a free Nest thermostat to the first 10,000 homeowners in the state who sign up for solar panels from SolarCity and also agree to be part of Nest’s growing ecosystem of connected home devices. As soon as this summer, the two may start to link, seeking energy efficiencies when the sun is shining.