President Obama yesterday announced his intention to nominate Colette Honorable, a top state utility regulator and a rumored favorite for months, to serve as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Honorable is currently slated to serve as president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners through November. If confirmed by the Senate, Honorable would replace FERC Commissioner John Norris, who resigned earlier this month to take a position with the Department of Agriculture in Rome after accusing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of blocking his bid for the chairmanship.
Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report. Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human-produced emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control.
A group of Oklahoma residents have filed a class action lawsuit against a wind energy company. The group says they believe the wind turbines that are planned to be built in their community will have adverse effects on their health and property values. According to the Oklahoma Wind Action Association, there are plans for several wind farms in Kingfisher and Canadian counties.
To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path. “If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.
A federal appeals court today threw out the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a regional operator’s decision to require a New Jersey electric utility to pay for grid upgrades that were completed years before it asked to join the operator’s network. At issue in the complicated case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is West Deptford Energy LLC’s application to join the PJM Interconnection.
Attorneys general from 13 states yesterday demanded that U.S. EPA withdraw its proposed rules for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants for allegedly failing to disclose information required by the Clean Air Act. “Without such missing data and related materials, states and the public cannot properly determine that basis on which EPA claims that these emissions standards are achievable and reasonable,” the state attorneys general wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
If you live out West, you’ve likely noticed that things have been pretty dry lately. What you probably haven’t noticed is that the ground beneath your feet is also a little bit higher in elevation — an average of 4 millimeters higher, to be exact. It may be hard to believe, but new research using data from hundreds of different GPS stations shows it to be true: The current drought in the American West is so bad that the loss of water weight has actually caused the land to rise.
Savings due to avoided health problems help offset — and in some cases greatly outweigh — the costs of carbon dioxide-cutting policies in the United States, according to a new study. The study, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that health benefits offset between 26 and 1,050 percent of the cost of greenhouse gas reduction policies. The study examined three different types of climate policies: a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy targeting on-road vehicles and a cap-and-trade program.
The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer is on the verge of its first cash dividend payment in more than 10 years, possibly signaling a turnaround for the industry after a three-year slump. Vestas Wind Systems AS is set to meet solvency and profitability targets required for a dividend payment, according to seven analysts who responded to an emailed Bloomberg News survey. Six expect a payout will follow the 2015 announcement of this year’s earnings. All anticipate payments in 2016.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, said the U.S. market continues to show high activity, but the industry is starting to focus on whether the production tax credit (PTC) will be renewed before the end of the year. The Danish manufacturer announced turbine orders of 800 megawatts in the United States in the second quarter, which accounted for most of the 18 percent increase in total orders for the company versus last year. Vestas hired more than 2,000 people during the quarter, most of them at factories in Colorado, where it is ramping up production.