Federal, state and regional policies to boost renewable energy and energy efficiency and to cut greenhouse gas emissions helped produce a 12 percent decline in U.S. carbon emissions between 2007 and 2012, according to a new study by Environment America. The environmental group said in its 44-page report that state renewable energy standards and other policies have helped wind, solar and other renewable industries to quadruple in that time, leading to 62 million metric tons in avoided CO2 in 2012. Efficiency standards for lighting, building efficiency and other sectors have also contributed. A new rule for fluorescent and incandescent lamps that took effect in 2012 — and that has sometimes been a bone of contention on Capitol Hill — cut greenhouse gases by 3.6 million metric tons in the final six months of that year, the report said.
About 80,000 clean energy and transportation jobs were created in 2013, according to a study put out this week by an environmental nonprofit group. Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) says the bulk of these were in the solar power sector, which announced more than 21,000 new jobs. But building efficiency and public transportation also had strong showings. The top states were California with more than 15,000 new clean energy jobs announced, followed by Texas, with more than 6,000. Hawaii, Maryland and Massachusetts were close behind.
Iowa, which generates a quarter of its electricity by wind, made plans last year to add up to 1,400 clean energy and transportation jobs in the state, according to the nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs. In a report released Wednesday, the group said during the fourth quarter alone, Iowa ranked the fifth-largest for job creation, trailing only Texas, Arizona, New York and California. Overall, 260 projects were announced in 2013 in the United States that could create more than 78,600 clean energy and transportation jobs, Environmental Entrepreneurs said. Solar power generation was the year’s top sector with more than 21,600 jobs announced. Other strong sectors included building efficiency and public transportation. The Iowa jobs include wind projects at MidAmerican Energy and cellulosic ethanol plants by Poet, DuPont and Fiberight, according to the group.
Power plants in New York must pay an all-time-high price to emit greenhouse gases under the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI — which began in 2009 under former Republican Gov. George Pataki — is the country’s first state-level greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, requiring power plants to purchase state-issued permits to emit carbon dioxide. A credit auction last week was the first since the states decreased the amount of available credits by 45 percent, beginning this year. The price for a credit — which allows the release of 1 ton of greenhouse gas — increased to $4.
Michigan can meet nearly a third of its electricity needs by tripling power produced from in-state renewable energy sources by 2030 at virtually no additional cost to consumers, all while maintaining reliability and spurring billions of dollars of investment in the state, according to a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) report released today. By continuing to ramp up renewables at the same growth rate as the current renewable energy standard (RES) —1.5 percent per year—Michigan could boost its in-state renewable energy production to 32.5 percent in 2030. Such a move would cut power plant carbon emissions and lower the state’s exposure to the economic, health, and environmental risks of over-relying on coal or natural gas.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has named Louisiana native Elizabeth Craddock as her committee staff director. Landrieu also announced that her personal staffers Caroline Bruckner and David Gillers will serve in senior roles alongside longtime ENR aides Sam Fowler, David Brooks and Daniel Adamson. Craddock, who has served in Landrieu’s office since 2006, replaces Joshua Sheinkman, who followed former committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to his new chairmanship on the Finance Committee.
Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S is once again the undisputed top turbine manufacturer in the world, according to a report by Make Consulting. The Danish company had 13.2 percent of the market share in 2013, down from 14.6 percent the year before, Make said. General Electric Co., which some studies had listed as having surpassed Vestas in 2012, fell to No. 6 with a market share of 4.9 percent from 13.7 percent a year earlier.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans yesterday intensified their demand for more information about the basis for U.S. EPA’s proposed mandate that all future coal-fired power plants use partial carbon capture and storage to limit heat-trapping emissions. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, six GOP committee leaders again charged that September’s new power plant proposal for carbon may overstep EPA’s statutory authority. They asked for more details about how the agency arrived at its decision that partial C
The results of a much-anticipated federal study that could determine the fate of a multistate transmission line project deemed a top priority by the Obama administration are being shared this week with congressional staffers in Washington, D.C., but have not been released to the public at the request of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. CEQ asked congressional staff members at a formal briefing yesterday not to release or publicly discuss the results of the study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory that evaluated strategies to build the 515-mile-long SunZia Southwest Transmission Line Project without interfering with the mission of a nearby Army weapons testing range, according to sources who attended the briefing.
A federal study found that a proposed multistate transmission line could harm a New Mexico Army training and weapons testing range and should be rerouted, a key lawmaker said today. However, a senator who supports the project claimed the study — which has not been released to the public at the request of the White House Council on Environmental Quality — offers “pragmatic solutions” and encouraged the Obama administration to approve the project.