EPA regs morphed from inferior option to ‘wicked cool’

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 21st, 2015

The Obama administration released big new climate rules this month with much fanfare, hailing them as “historic,” an “incredible economic opportunity” and “wicked cool.” But not long ago, the administration expressed hope it would never have to write those regulations. In the early days of Obama’s presidency, when an economywide climate bill seemed possible on Capitol Hill, the administration’s top environmental officials said U.S. EPA rules weren’t the ideal route for tackling climate change.

Calif. forms alliance to promote zero-emission cars

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, August 21st, 2015

alifornia, the Netherlands and Quebec will cooperate to promote cars with zero tailpipe emissions, they said today. California EPA announced the launch of the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance. The three partners said they also want to recruit other countries and sub-national jurisdictions to join the effort.

Cost of not acting on climate change $44 trillion: Citi

Source: By Anmar Frangoul, CNBCå • Posted: Friday, August 21st, 2015

Up to $44 trillion could be going up in smoke if the world does not act on climate change, according to the latest piece of research from U.S. banking giant Citigroup. The report – Energy Darwinism II: Why a Low Carbon Future Doesn’t Have to Cost the Earth — has forecast that spending on energy will hit around $200 trillion in the next 25 years. The study then examines two scenarios: one that Citi describe as an “‘inaction’ on climate change scenario”, and another that looks at what could happen if a low carbon, “different energy mix” is pursued.

Texas leads nation in wind power

Source: By Dawn Burleigh, Texas News Service • Posted: Friday, August 21st, 2015

Texas leads the nation in total output of wind energy, according to two new reports from the federal Department of Energy. The Lone Star State has installed more than 14,000 megawatts of power – more than twice as much as California, the next-highest state. The studies also show Texas has more wind capacity than all but five countries worldwide.

Wind Turbine Makers Become Top Stock Performers as Growth Surges

Source: By Alex Morales, Bloomberg News • Posted: Friday, August 21st, 2015

Europe’s wind turbine makers are becoming top performers in the stock market as orders surge and the industry enjoys the fruits of cost cutting in years past. Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the biggest manufacturer of the machines, on Wednesday detailed record first-half orders as profits exceeded analyst forecasts. That followed record production at German rival Nordex SE and a doubling of profits at Spain’s Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA.

Calif. program subsidized more efficient energy use for both rich and poor. Guess whose habits didn’t change?

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 20th, 2015

A 2005 subsidy to encourage more efficient energy use in sunny California worked remarkably well to reduce energy usage in lower-income communities, a new study determined. But the program had little effect on people’s behavior in cooler and wealthier coastal residences, so the study raises questions about the program’s overall cost-effectiveness. Because substantial rebates were paid to the richer, coast-dwelling participants in the program, which is no longer in effect, the study’s author concludes that it was not as cost-efficient at reducing carbon emissions as it may have been.

Cost of Calif. crisis climbs to $2.74B — study

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 20th, 2015

California’s four-year drought is hitting the state’s agricultural sector hard economically. The statewide impact to agriculture and related industries is $2.74 billion, up from $2.2 billion in 2014, according to a report out today from the University of California, Davis, Center for Watershed Sciences. The state’s agricultural economy will lose about $1.84 billion and 10,100 seasonal jobs because of the drought, with the Central Valley hardest hit, the report says. That’s about 30 percent more workers and cropland out of production than last year. Most idled land is in the Tulare Basin.

Grain Belt Express hits dead end with Missouri Public Service Commission

Source: Eric Dundon, Hannibal Courier-Post managing editor • Posted: Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Another setback for a wind energy project proposed to go through Ralls County has developers evaluating “all available options to move the project forward in Missouri.” Should the developers of the Grain Belt Express seek to move forward with the multi-state wind line project, it could include filings with the appellate court in Missouri.

MacArthur Foundation vows to push climate solutions, starting with $50M pledge to green groups

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 20th, 2015

The charitable foundation known for its annual “genius grants” and its public broadcasting underwriter’s message promoting “a more just, verdant and peaceful world” is deepening its commitment to addressing climate change under a new multimillion-dollar program aimed at building leadership capacity and political consensus around climate solutions. Roughly $50 million in initial funding, announced yesterday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, will be shared by nine nonprofits engaged in climate policy and advocacy. It is being characterized by the foundation as “a down payment on a major new commitment to help curb global climate disruption by significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Wind slowdown stirs debate about industry’s plans for extreme weather

Source: Camille von Kaenel, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, August 20th, 2015

Lower-than-average winds in the western United States in the first half of the year have cut into production and revenues at wind farms there, according to company data. Now, the industry is trying to figure out how it will deal with variable weather in the future. Wind energy is booming in the United States, with prices at an all-time low. The sector grew 8 percent in 2014, boosting domestic capacity to almost 66,000 megawatts and providing around 4.4 percent of the country’s electricity, according to the Department of Energy