The EPA is crafting carbon emissions standards 4 new & existing power plants.
The draft rules 4 new plants are slated 2 be unveiled next week. According 2 published reports & someone who has seen the rule, it would require new plants 2 be equipped with technology that captures a large amount of the carbon emissions.
House climate hearing draws EPA, Energy Dept. chiefs – and that’s it
Ben Geman - 09/13/13 10:58 AM ET
Nearly a dozen federal agencies have declined to send a witness to next week’s House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the White House climate change plan, a GOP aide said.
The Sept. 18 hearing envisioned as a sweeping look at administration-wide climate policy is down to two witnesses: The heads of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy Department.
“We understand these will be the only witnesses the administration will provide,” a GOP Energy and Commerce Committee aide said.
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), who chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee holding the hearing, wrote to 13 federal agencies in early August asking them to send a witness to the hearing.
He sent agencies an early September follow-up letter after only EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz RSVP’d.
But while the current witness list is small, McCarthy and Moniz head agencies that are central to President Obama’s second-term climate agenda, which rests largely on executive actions that don’t need congressional approval.
The EPA is crafting carbon emissions standards for new and existing power plants.
The draft rules for new plants are slated to be unveiled next week. According to published reports and someone who has seen the rule, it would require new plants to be equipped with technology that captures a large amount of the carbon emissions.
Coal industry and GOP critics of the rule note this is a de-facto ban on new coal plants because carbon capture and storage technology is far from widespread commercialization.
The Energy Department, meanwhile, is tasked with speeding up development of appliance energy efficiency standards, working with other agencies on a strategy to curb emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from gas drilling sites, and other tasks.
Pelosi, Dems praise California for hiking minimum wage to $10
Rebecca Shabad - 09/13/13 12:28 PM ET
The Democratic House leader said it's time for Congress to follow suit with its own bill.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and several Democratic lawmakers are praising California's legislature for passing legislation this week to raise the state's minimum wage to $10 an hour. Pelosi on Congress to follow suit with its own minimum wage bill.
The California measure, passed Thursday, would raise the current $8 minimum wage to $9 an hour in July 2014, and to $10 in January 2016. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) said he would sign the legisation.
Pelosi recently invoked an increase in the minimum wage at the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington ceremony.
“[Martin Luther King Jr.] would want us to celebrate him, his birth, and his legacy by acting upon his agenda, by realizing the dream, by making the minimum wage a living wage …,” she said.
Rep. Mark Pocan, (D-Wis.) called on Congress Thursday to enact legislation that would provide low-wage workers with a living wage.
“We can put more money in the pockets of workers instead of corporate CEOs, and thus more money in the pockets of our small businesses that are going to benefit when they’re spending that additional money,” he said on the House floor.
In March, Rep. George Miller, (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tom Harkin, (D-Iowa) introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would increase the minimum wage nationally from $7.25 to $10.10 over three years.
Miller tweeted Thursday about the legislation passed in his home state.
Their legislation has only been referred to committees.
Sen. Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.) and Rep. Paul Ryan, (R-Wis.)—two top Republicans—have already said they oppose it. It’s unlikely to pass in the GOP-controlled House.
Why Are Some Big Utilities Embracing Small-Scale Solar Power?
One of New York’s largest utilities will save $84 million by paying developers to put solar panels on the roofs of buildings. And it's not alone.
By Maria Gallucci, InsideClimate News
Sep 12, 2013
A handful of U.S. utilities have discovered they can save money by encouraging small rooftop solar projects—the same projects utility industry leaders have insisted were too expensive and unreliable to be practical.
The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in New York, for instance, is paying developers to build solar panels on top of buildings in tiny towns that are experiencing population booms but don't have enough electric grid infrastructure to bring in the electricity they need. The pilot initiative will allow the utility to avoid spending more than $80 million to build new transmission lines and grid equipment.
"It's actually cost-effective to add renewables" this way, said Michael Deering, LIPA's vice president of environmental affairs.
The program reflects some utilities' changing relationship with distributed generation, or DG, the name for small-scale energy generators like solar systems and micro wind turbines that produce electricity close to where the power is used.
Many of the nation's 3,200 utilities have resisted distributed generation, partly because they believe the small projects would cut into their profits. Private utilities make their money by investing in infrastructure—mainly massive centralized power plants and high-voltage transmission lines—and then charging customers enough to earn that money back with a guaranteed return. Distributed generation shakes up this century-old model by shifting control of electricity from utilities to smaller developers, communities or individuals, who produce power onsite and rely less on traditional grid infrastructure to keep the lights on. This, in turn, reduces the returns that utilities collect.
In Germany, distributed generation has been th
Going electric? Hybrid and electric cars set sales records in August
German Adds 313 MW Of Solar Energy In July
Germany added to its solar capacity in July.
According to PV Magazine, 313 MW was added in July. This year alone 2,110 MW of new solar capacity have gone up in the European country.
Since 2009, 34.5 GW of PV energy has been installed, ranking as one of the global leaders in solar power. Its been another good year so far for the solar giants as wel. We reported in July that Germany broke a power output record with 23.9 GW, which previously stood at 22.68 GW in April.
So why does Germany continue to lead the way?
One reason is its feed-in tariffs (FIT’s). This policy has provided strong support for the German solar market. In fact John Farrell noted back in 2011 that most solar projects use feed in tariffs. Farrell goes further on to explain why they are successful, not just in Germany, but also other areas in the world:
The basic premise of the feed-in tariff is that the electric utility must connect any wind turbine or solar panel (or other generator) to the grid and buy all the electricity via a long-term contract with a public price. It’s use in Germany and its simplicity have led to mass local ownership of renewable energy in that country.
In the U.S., the policy is spreading, having been adopted by multiple municipal utilities in Florida, Indiana, and California as well as states including Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Vermont.
Now, if only more jurisdictions in North America would adopt solar FIT’s, the world would be a much more sunnier place.
California Passes 600MW Shared Renewables Program
Just when it seemed like the outlook for renewables in California couldn’t get any brighter, the state legislature has passed a bill that will open up access to the 75% of its residents unable to install clean energy on their property.
SB 43, also known as the “shared renewables” bill, passed the State Assembly and Senate yesterday, and now heads to Governor Jerry Brown for signature into law.
The bill immediately creates the largest shared renewables program in the US and could supercharge California’s clean energy economy – all without any state subsidies or extra costs to non-participating residents.
New Access To Renewables For Millions Of Residents
California’s Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program, as the shared renewables program is officially called, allows any customer of the state’s three largest utilities to purchase up to 100% renewable electricity for their home or businesses. Cumulative investments will be capped at 600 megawatts (MW) and the program will sunset in 2019.
For context, California installed 521MW of solar during the second quarter of 2013 – an all-time record for any one state in a three-month period. Considering any new renewables capacity created by the shared renewables program would be in addition to the state’s 33% renewable portfolio standard, this could theoretically push the state’s annual solar installation record further than ever before.
Buying renewable power on the electricity market isn’t a new idea, but California’s shared renewables program and the customers it would reach bring a few new twists to the scene. To start, the program targets people without property suitable to install clean energy systems – renters, business owners who lease offices, those with shaded roofs, people in homeowner associations, and so on.
“SB 43 will allow the millions of Californians who cannot install their own solar unit, windmill, or other renewable power generation sys
California approves shared renewable energy program
13. September 2013 | Global PV markets, Markets & Trends, Investor news | By: Ian Clover
Approval of the largest program for shared renewable power in the U.S. passes in California, enabling schools, rental tenants and owners of homes in the shade to invest in solar energy projects.
California’s Legislature has given the green light for the state’s "Green Tariff Shared Renewables Program", which is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and will allow rental tenants, schools, cities and many other interested parties to invest in California’s renewable energy projects.
The program allows businesses and individuals to purchase shares in the renewable developments of three investor-owned utilities– Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E), and Southern California Edison Co. (SCE) – in return for a greener electricity supply and, in the future at least, lower bills.
The bill, labelled S.B 43, was passed by the Assembly and the Senate and is now on its way to the governor.
"S.B. 43 will allow millions of Californians who cannot install their own solar unit, windmill or other renewable power generation system to obtain renewable energy through their utility," said Senator Lois Wolk, who drew up the bill’s details. "The bill will create thousands of jobs and encourage more investment in an important sector of California’s economy, while helping the state meet its renewable energy goals."
The ruling allows the investment of up to 600 MW in renewable energy, of which 100 MW must be made available to residential customers. It will be overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), who will decide which clean energy projects qualify for the program and oversee how the cost benefits will trickle through to the customer.
"We think it’s a big deal and a game changer," said Susannah Churchill, California policy advocate at Vote Solar Initiative, a local advocacy group. "S
New Canadian East Coast Oil Terminal Planned
Thursday September 12, 2013
Irving Oil President Paul Browning said the terminal will provide access to large tankers
Canada's Irving Oil plans to build a $300 million terminal at its refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick to allow for the export of Canadian oil, the Canadian Press reports.
The decision to build the facility followed TransCanada Corp.'s announcement that it would move forward with the construction of a pipeline to carry crude oil from Alberta and Saskatchewan to East Coast refineries.
"The Canaport Energy East Marine Terminal will connect TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline to an ice-free, deepwater port," said Paul Browning, president of Irving Oil.
"It will allow Canadian producers direct access to world markets for exporting Canadian oil via the world's largest crude carrying vessels."
The company said it plans to start engineering and design work on the project in 2015.
The Assembly of First Nations' Chiefs in New Brunswick said it would not support the pipeline without guarantees of environmental protection and aboriginal and treaty rights.
TransCanada's planned 4,500 kilometer Energy East Pipeline will carry 1.1 million barrels of crude oil per day, connecting a new tank terminal in Hardisty, Alberta with Saint John, Saskatchewan and in the Québec City area, according to the company's website.