News

Harvard paper wades into debate on scope of power plant rules

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 6th, 2014

U.S. EPA’s upcoming rule to limit carbon dioxide emissions from today’s power plant fleet should encourage as much demand-side energy efficiency as possible, according to a white paper released yesterday by the Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative. The initiative, which is a project of Harvard Law School, argues that Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act allows — and perhaps compels — EPA to reach for proven strategies “outside the fence line” of individual plants in setting emissions standards. And because many states already require their utilities to meet energy efficiency targets or run programs to help their customers save energy — programs that have been proved to reduce emissions — EPA must promulgate a standard that takes into account the success of those existing programs, it said. “Any adequately demonstrated system of emission reduction available for compliance with a performance standard must also drive the standard’s stringency,” said the paper, authored by EPI Director Kate Konschnik.

With House passage of bill scrapping carbon rules expected today, eyes turn to Senate odds

Source: Jean Chemnick and Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, March 6th, 2014

If legislation to stymie U.S. EPA carbon rules is to clear the Senate this Congress, it will be because moderate Democrats from coal states insist on it, a key House legislator said yesterday. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) expects to see his bill to scrap EPA greenhouse gas rules for the utility sector pass the House today with little difficulty. But the Energy and Power Subcommittee chairman acknowledged last night that the Senate version — S. 1905, sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) — faces more hurdles.

White House proposes cuts to 2015 USDA budget

Source: Written by CHRISTOPHER DOERING, Gannett Washington Bureau • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The 2015 White House budget proposal also included the reinstatements of several expired tax provisions, such as credits for cellulosic biofuel and wind energy production.

Major Minn. power supplier calls for a CO2 price to implement EPA power plant rule

Source: Tiffany Stecker, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

In the cooperative’s plan, independent system operators (ISOs), the managers of regional grids, would place a carbon fee on generated electricity. Great River Energy is the first electric cooperative to publicly offer a response to EPA’s rules.

“It takes advantage of all of the infrastructure that’s been created in our industry,” said Jon Brekke, vice president of membership and energy markets for Great River Energy. “It just adds another component to the management [of the grids] and, we think, could add another benefit to it.”

Moniz touts budget’s focus on grid, carbon capture, cybersecurity

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today touted the president’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal for the Energy Department as a means to advance a “grid of the future,” curb carbon emissions — including those from natural gas — and bolster cybersecurity.

Maine High court overrules state approval of multimillion-dollar wind energy deal

Source: By Naomi Schalit, ©Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

A 2012 deal worth hundreds of millions of dollars to expand wind energy projects across the Northeast was dealt a blow Tuesday by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, which ruled that a state agency’s approval of the complex deal was invalid.

John Podesta: The man behind President Obama’s new environmental push

Source: By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), who attended the Podesta-brokered meeting last week between governors and Obama, said in an interview that Podesta “speaks through his actions” and that the session “demonstrated in the most tangible way how committed the president is to trying to address this issue. It showed that we have a real situation. They actually said as much.”

Wyden announces senior staff hires for Finance Committee

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Among the new hires are Finance Committee Staff Director Joshua Sheinkman, who held the same position at ENR and has worked for Wyden since at least 1994, according to the congressional staff database LegiStorm. Jocelyn Moore will be the committee’s deputy staff director; she has been Wyden’s deputy chief of staff since last April after more than a decade on Capitol Hill working on health care, immigration and other issues.

Obama proposes boost for renewables, efficiency at fossil fuels’ expense

Source: Katherine Ling, Hannah Northey and Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget request would boost funding for innovation in renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced manufacturing across various programs, reflecting White House priorities — but those policies are likely to spur critics to again question the administration’s commitment to an “all of the above” energy strategy.

Obama lays out ‘road map’ to achieving climate, energy goals

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

The budget renews Obama’s call for the repeal of $4 billion in annual subsidies to the oil industry, an oft-repeated request from the president that stands little chance of clearing Congress. The budget also calls for advancing the “all of the above” energy strategy through investment in natural gas production and the promotion of “cleaner-burning fossil fuel technology such as natural gas with carbon capture,” the advancement of energy efficiency and making a renewable energy tax credit permanent.