News

Utilities and rooftop solar companies ally to push bill to boost Calif.’s renewable energy goals

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

California’s pursuit of ever-more renewable energy is pushing odd partners into a debate over the role of rooftop solar. The past few years have brought bruising fights between utilities and small-scale renewables companies over policies that compensate rooftop solar systems for putting power back into the grid. The two sides have been lobbying against each other in California, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Utah and other states over claims that rooftop solar doesn’t pay its fair share for using the grid.

Senate Democrats revive effort to target oil, gas subsidies

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Senate Democrats today renewed their attempt to curb oil and gas subsidies and raise billions of dollars as lawmakers search for revenue streams for a host of measures on Capitol Hill, including a transportation extension and a tax extenders package. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), along with 18 Democratic co-sponsors, reintroduced the “Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act,” a bill that would target a variety of deductions for the five largest oil companies — BP PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips Co. — and use the revenue for deficit reduction.

Four Graphs Bolster Bill Gates’s Case for Greatly Boosting Clean-Energy Research

Source: By ANDREW C. REVKIN, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

…If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free. We can avoid the worst climate-change scenarios while also lifting people out of poverty, growing food more efficiently, and saving lives by reducing pollution. To create this future we need to take several steps:

16 states ask EPA to put rules on hold

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 6th, 2015

16 states ask EPA to put rules on hold”This request is a necessary first step and prerequisite to confronting this illegal power grab by the Obama administration and EPA,” Morrisey said in a statement. The effort includes predominantly Republican-led states. They are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, Wyoming and West Virginia.

EPA toughens targets, stokes political fire in Appalachia

Source: Jean Chemnick and Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin — both Democrats — are being urged by their states’ congressional delegations, attorneys general and coal companies to not submit plans for complying with the rule for existing power plants. The governors have resisted, saying their states would fare better with their own emissions plans. This stance was eased by the fact that EPA’s 2014 draft assigned both states light targets. But that changed yesterday when EPA finalized a rule with significantly different state targets under which both Kentucky and West Virginia ended up with much heavier lifts.

Q&A: A Look at Climate Change Plan and Its Impact on States

Source: By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS • Posted: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

President Barack Obama unveiled the final regulations in his plan to cut nationwide carbon dioxide emissions 32 percent by 2030. Obama touted it as a bold step to slow climate change, while opponents said it was federal overreach that will raise prices for electricity consumers. Here’s what you need to know about the impact of the new plan on the states:

Can wind energy in the Midwest blow through a tangle of state and county laws?

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

Nebraska, while having one of the top four wind energy resources in the nation, remains hampered by rules governing the state’s power generation assets, which are 100 percent publicly owned, according to the analysis. “Consequently, Nebraska’s public power system creates these burdensome regulations that discourage wind energy development in the state, making it less competitive in the wind industry than neighboring states,” the analysis found.

EPA proposes carbon trading to deal with reluctant states

Source: Emily Holden and Evan Lehmann, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

In addition to the Clean Power Plan released yesterday, EPA also publicized a proposal revealing how it will handle states that refuse to submit their own plans for emission reductions from the power sector. The agency plans to impose a federally enforced carbon trading program. It would fall predominantly on conservative states. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has encouraged Republican governors to defy EPA’s rules, and a handful have vowed to decline to submit proposals. “I think it’s very questionable whether it’s legal to do backdoor cap and trade,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said yesterday. “It’s 1,600 pages of legislating through a regulatory agency. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.”

Final Clean Power Plan shifts toward renewables and away from natural gas

Source: Scott Detrow and Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

“Over the past decade, even as our economy has continued to grow, the United States has cut our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth,” Obama said. But absent from Obama’s remarks was one key reason for that carbon reduction: the broad, economically driven shift from coal to natural gas-fired power plants. The omission wasn’t an accident: While Obama and U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy have long embraced natural gas as a “bridge fuel,” the administration kept the focus on renewable power sources like wind and solar during the Clean Power Plan rollout.

Congress Looks Underground for Cash

Source: By Matthew Philips, Bloomberg • Posted: Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

In its quest to spend more without raising taxes, Congress has found a new piggy bank. It’s buried deep underground, protected by armed guards, and filled with a valuable commodity worth billions of dollars. It’s not a gold vault—it’s the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, the country’s emergency stockpile of crude oil. Created in 1975 after Arab oil producers cut off exports to the U.S., causing gasoline prices to spike, the SPR was designed to immunize the country against supply shocks. Today it stores about 695 million barrels of crude in salt caverns in Texas and Louisiana.