n marathon meetings and tense all-day drafting sessions, dozens of lawyers, economists and engineers at the Environmental Protection Agency are struggling to create what is certain to be a divisive but potentially historic centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change legacy. If the authors succeed in writing a lawsuit-proof regulation that is effective in cutting carbon emissions from America’s 1,500 power plants — the largest source of the nation’s greenhouse gas pollution — the result could be the most significant action taken by the United States to curb climate change.
ast week, a new analysis was released that explored the technical, environmental, and economic implications of raising California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) from 33 percent by 2020 to 50 percent by 2030. I’m excited to report that although the study illuminates the challenges of installing unprecedented amounts of renewables on the grid, it is technically possible. Moreover, California has tools in hand today to scale up renewables, and is developing programs and policies that will continue to lower the cost and technical challenges of doing so.
President Obama has made a sweeping, high-level assessment of the nation’s energy infrastructure a cornerstone of his climate plan. The launch earlier this month of his Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) was greeted enthusiastically by energy industry executives, regulators, lobbyists and policy wonks who see it as the Department of Energy’s version of the Quadrennial Defense Review, a legislatively mandated analysis of Department of Defense strategies and priorities. Can the DOE review live up to the hype?
Californians approve of their governor and U.S. senators, but support for President Obama has slid and residents are deeply unhappy with Congress, a new poll shows. Golden State residents gave Gov. Jerry Brown (D) a record-high job approval rating in the survey from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). A total 58 percent of adults and 60 percent of likely voters favored the way the governor has handled his job.
North Carolina Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla told U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in a letter obtained by Greenwire that her agency’s authority to regulate existing power plant emissions under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act is limited, if it exists at all.
Regardless of their political persuasion, Kansans vigorously support the use of renewable energy, a recent survey found. The survey’s findings come as the Kansas Legislature is mulling a bill that would repeal Kansas’ Renewable Portfolio Standard.
“We think it’s a good thing to get low-cost wind power out of western Kansas,” said John Hickey, president of the Sierra Club’s Missouri chapter. Opponents say they are not against wind power. They just think Eastern states should produce their own. They point to a letter released in 2010 in which governors of 10 Eastern states said they opposed a national transmission corridor to bring wind energy from the Great Plains because they had plans to produce their own renewable energy.
The wind energy industry in Kansas will see strong growth this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association. About 700 megawatts of new wind farms are now under construction in Kansas, with more likely to be added this year, according to the U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2013 Market Report.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today said Norman Bay, the agency’s enforcement director, will avoid any potential conflicts if confirmed by the Senate as the commission’s new chairman. “Norman will abide by the advice and counsel of the designated agency Ethics Officer on issues concerning the possibility that he might need to recuse himself,” FERC spokesman Craig Cano said in an email. The issue of recusal has surfaced because Bay is at the helm of a number of ongoing investigations that will be either approved or rejected by the commission, sources said.
Business groups representing manufacturing, mining, agriculture and utility interests today launched a multimillion-dollar coalition to fight U.S. EPA’s greenhouse gas regulations and advocate for regulatory reforms. The Partnership for a Better Energy Future comprises 78 stakeholders concerned about the economic impact of President Obama’s climate plan, which they say will ripple out to touch all sectors of industry. The rules limiting carbon emissions from new and existing power plants are just the start, they warned.