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Utilities Coalition Challenging Trump's ACE Plan (Ind. Report)
Power Companies Climate Coalition
Date: 2019-09-18
Reuters is reporting New York-based Con Edison and eight other U.S. utilities -- the Power Companies Climate Coalition -- have filed a legal challenge to the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Trump's plan replaces the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan that would have cut power plant carbon emissions by more than a third from 2005 levels by 2030 by virtually eliminating coal-fired power production.

According to the filing, Trump's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule undermines efforts already under way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy, electric vehicle infrastructure and energy efficiency and other clean technologies.

ACE allows states three years to devise their own plans to cut emissions mainly by encouraging coal-fired power plants to improve efficiency.

The coalition members include: Con Edison, Exelon Corp, National Grid, PG&E Corp, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Seattle City Light, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and New York Power Authority. (Source: Con Edison, Guardian, Reuters, 16 Sept., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Power Companies Climate Coalition,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  Affordable Clean Energy Plan ,  


States, Cities Coalition Tackle Trump's ACE Rule (Ind. Report)
Trump.Obama Clean Power Plan
Date: 2019-08-14
Reuters is reporting New York and California, along with 20 other states and seven cities on Tuesday sued to challenge the Trump administration EPA's replacement of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

The suit claims the Trump Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule will prolong the country's reliance on coal power, hinder states that pursue cleaner electricity generation, will not curb rising power plant carbon emissions and will prolong the operation of dirtier coal plants. (Source: HPMG News, Various Media, Reuters 13 Aug., 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Affordable Clean Energy ruke,  ACE Rule,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  Trump,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  


Politicians Prodded to Address 'Killer Heat' (Opinions & Asides)
Climate Change,Global Warming
Date: 2019-07-19
Killer Heat in the United States, a recently released report from the Union of Concerned Scientist predicts a lot more days of extreme heat -- so much that they're being called "killer heat" days. The study was released in part to spur action on the part of both politicians and business leaders.

According to the report, "The United States federal government needs to continue with the (Obama) Clean Power Plan and not dismantle it, as the current (Trump) administration is attempting to do, to significantly reduce emissions from the power sector, which accounts for roughly 40 pct of the U.S. emissions footprint."

The UCS scientists are asking the federal government to not only wean the nation off of fossil fuels, but develop plans for people to adapt to extreme heat. "The clock is ticking to reduce emissions. If nothing is done, we may have to get ready for an unrecognizably hot future" the report says.

To make the needed deep emissions cuts, the reports recommends the U.S. implement a suite of federal and state policies, including: an economy wide price on carbon; policies to cut transportation sector emissions, including increasing fuel economy and heat-trapping emissions standards for vehicles; increased investment in low-carbon public transportation; policies to cut buildings and industrial sector emissions; policies to increase carbon storage in vegetation and soils, including through climate-friendly agricultural and forest management practices; increased investment in emissions and climate change related R&D; measures to cut methane, nitrus oxide, and other major non-CO2 heat-trapping emissions; and policies to help a rapid transition to low-carbon economies.

Download the Killer Heat in the United States -Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days report HERE (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists, wusf Public Media, 18 July, 2019) Contact: Union of Concerned Scientists, Ken Kimmell, Pres., (617) 547-5552,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Union of Concerned Scientists,  Climate Change,  


Notable Quote -- Obama Clean Power Plan v.s. Trump Affordable Clean Energy Plan
Obama Clean Power Plan
Date: 2019-07-12
"You can see just with that comparison (with the Obama Clean Energy Plan) that the Trump (Affordable Clean Energy) plan is actually designed to do almost nothing to deal with carbon pollution from the electric power sector.

"It's very interesting that a rule that purports to be trying to reduce pollution -- by their own projection -- might increase it. There is a part of the proposal that would allow coal plants to update, allowing them to run longer without putting any pollution controls on. That's kind of a life extension project for coal plants.

"So a policy that says that it's supposed to be reducing pollution actually increases it under certain projections. And I think a court might have a hard time with that and say how could this be defended as a rational plan." -- Jody Freeman, Former Obama White House Counselor for Energy and Climate Change; founder of the Harvard University Environment and Energy Law Program (Source: NPR News, 12 July, 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plam news,  Trump Afordable Clean Energy Plan news,  


Statement from a Coalition of Free-Market State Think Tanks on Trump Administration Affordable Clean Energy Rule (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Affordable Clean Energy Plan
Date: 2019-06-28
Editor's Note: This publication, its editors and administration neither agrees or disagrees with the views presented in the following statement from the McIver Institute

"The Trump administration's finalized Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule is a major victory for America's middle class, many of whom work in energy intensive industries like manufacturing and mining. It also represents a boon to America's least fortunate for whom energy costs represent a significant part of their budget. All Americans would have been harmed by the Obama administration's legally flawed Clean Power Plan. It would have dramatically increased the cost of electricity and was predicted to reduce global warming by only 0.018 degrees Celsius by 2100, an amount far too small to be measured.

"After Congress rejected proposed cap-and-trade legislation, the Obama administration crafted the Clean Power Plan to force states into regional cap-and-trade plans. President Trump's plan disallows such plans for compliance and focuses, instead, on improving the efficiencies of individual plants.

"The Clean Power Plan claimed to seek a 32 pct reduction in CO2 emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, at an estimated compliance cost of $9 billion. The US Chamber of Commerce estimated a more realistic $75 billion in compliance costs. The Rule was met with bipartisan opposition by 27 states who won a Supreme Court stay of the Rule in 2016.

"The Clean Power Plan was also completely unnecessary. Thanks to the Trump administration's commonsense approach, emissions have fallen by 28 pct since 2017 and are forecast to be reduced 35 pct by 2030. At a compliance cost of $0.3 billion for the ACE rule, these gains were at 250 times less cost than the previous administration's alternative." -- The MacIver Institute

The MacIver Institute is joined by the Caesar Rodney Institute, the Center of the American Experiment, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Independence Institute, John Locke Foundation, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom & Prosperity, the Rio Grande Foundation, and the Roughrider Policy Center in supporting the ACE. (Source: MacIver Institute, June, 2019) Contact: The John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy Brett Healy, President 608.588.6477, bhealy@maciverinstitute.com, www.maciverinstitute.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  Trump,  Affordable Clean Energy,  


Notable Quote -- Woody Biomass and the EPA's ACE Rules
Biomass
Date: 2019-06-26
"In a bit of an Orwellian logic, the (Trump) EPA's recently finalized ACE (Affordable Clean Energy) rules ... ignore the basis for why using biomass for power and heat is the principal pathway for decarbonization in most other developed countries. By only counting the CO2 emission at the source and ignoring the continuous adsorption of CO2 by sustainably managed forests, the EPA has excluded a proper consideration of the dynamics that keep the net CO2 added into the atmosphere neutral or even negative.

"In Europe, wood pellets and wood chips are recognized as low carbon fuels because a full life-cycle analysis shows that under well-crafted (and necessary) sustainability criteria, the combustion of those fuels is carbon neutral. The supply chain carbon footprint accounting, given that fossil fuel are used in transportation and in the electricity used to upgrade the biomass into pellets, typically yields an 85 percent or more reduction in net CO2 added to the atmosphere. Because of the carbon benefits, biomass derived fuel makes up about 60 percent of the total renewable energy in the EU28." -- William Strauss, Pres, FutureMetrics, June 24, 2019

Bethel, Maine-based FutureMetrics released the above statement criticizing the Trump Administration EPA's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Program for its treatment of biomass and calling the program's discussion of how to measure CO2 emissions "misguided."

The ACE program, which replaces Obama's Clean Power Plan, specifies that biomass co-firing is not compliant with the ACE program. Contact: FutureMetrics LLC, William Strauss, 207-824-6702, 207-357-8708 Cell, WilliamStrauss@FutureMetrics.com, www.futuremetrics.info

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Woody Biomass,  Wood Pellet,  CO2 Emissions,  


EPA Rolls Back Obama's Coal-Plant Clean Power Plan (Reg. & Leg.)
Obama Clean Power Plan
Date: 2019-06-21
The Republican Trump administration's EPA has over ruled former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan with the introduction of its Affordable Clean Energy rule allowing states to set their own carbon emissions standards for coal-fired power plants.

As absurd and politically motivated as it may appear, the EPA's new rule could, by the agency's own admission, result in 1,400 more premature deaths by 2030 than the Obama-era plan it will replace.

The Obama Clean Power Plan, which was never officially implemented, would have prevented 3,600 premature deaths a year, 1,700 heart attacks and 90,000 asthma attacks, as well as cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 32 pct compared to 2005 levels, according to analysis conducted by the Obama era EPA.

The Trump administration's plan is a shamefully thin- veiled move to support the coal industry, as promised in his election campaign. Environmental groups and several states who see Trump's action as detrimental to clean air and efforts to fight the climate crisis have already given notice of impending action against the Trump plan. (Source: EPA, Various Media, 19 June, 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  Coal,  Carbon Emissions,  


Feds Seem Flummoxed by Biomass Energy Carbon Neutrality (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
USDA,EPA
Date: 2018-11-02
In Washington, the US EPA has reportedly joined the DOE and the USDA in a letter to congressional leaders committing to "encourage the use of biomass as an energy solution and reasserting the view that woody biomass-fired power plants should be viewed as carbon neutral because when the plants eventually re-grow they remove CO2 from the air." The agencies also are committing to collaborate on policies promoting biomass, which could include DOE research and encouraging utilities to substitute wood for coal in power plants.

But environmentalists say that burning trees releases CO2 previously trapped inside the plant. And when forests are cleared to produce energy, it can take them decades to regrow, if they ever do. The result is a power source that can generate more carbon dioxide emissions than the coal it is sometimes meant to replace.

On the down side, the EPA's own science advisers have warned that assuming biomass emissions are carbon neutral "is inconsistent with the underlying science."

The federal agencies joint letter is in response to a provision Congress added to a spending bill directing federal agencies to establish policies that "reflect the carbon neutrality of forest biomass for energy production." Even before that directive, under former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency declared that it generally considered burning biomass for energy as carbon neutral. The EPA has also proposed giving utilities credit for cutting carbon dioxide emissions when they replace some coal in power plants with biomass -- a substitution that would qualify as an efficiency upgrade under the EPA's proposed relaxation of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan curbs on greenhouse gas emissions from electricity. (Source: HoumaToday, Herald, Various Media, Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Neutral,  Biomass,  Woody Biomass,  


US Meeting Obama's Climate Targets, Despite Trump (Ind. Report)
US EIA
Date: 2018-10-31
Yesterday, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) released data confirming that the U.S. power sector's CO2 emissions have dropped 28 pct since 2005, on target with the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 32 pct t by 2030.

The EIA attributes this drop to a declining demand for energy, a move to renewable energy, an abundance of inexpensive natural gas and dropping coal consumption.

According to Union of Concerned Scientists President Kenneth Kimmell, "the trend is expected to continue despite President Donald Trump's efforts."

For your interest, the Obama Clean Power plan can be downloaded HERE. (Source: US EIA, Earther, 29 Oct., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News US EIA,  Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  


Inslee Opposes Proposed Clean Power Plan Roll-Bach (Ind. Report)
Gov. Jay Inslee
Date: 2018-10-03
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee (DEM) testified last week in Chicago against the Trump Administration's plan to roll back the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

The broadly supported Clean Power Plan is a cost-effective and flexible approach to reduce power plant emissions and would have helped reduce carbon pollution by approximately 350 million tonnes (M) by 2030.

According to the EPA, the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy Rule  is 90 to 97 pct weaker than Obama's Clean Power Plan and will do little to curb emissions -- less than the closing of a single large coal power plant -- by 2030. (Source: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee Website, Access Washington, 1 Oct., 2018) Contact: Office of Washington Sate Gov. Jay Inslee, Communications Office, Tara Lee, (360) 902-4136, www.governor.wa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Gov. Jay Inslee,  Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


Trump's New Affordable Clean Energy Rule Fast Facts (Reg. & Leg.)
Clean Power Plan
Date: 2018-08-29
On August 21, 2018, the U.S. EPA proposed the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule which would establish emission guidelines for states to develop plans to address greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.

The ACE rule would replace the 2015 (Obama administration) Clean Power Plan (CPP) which EPA has proposed to repeal because it "exceeded EPA's authority." The CPP was stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court and has never gone into effect.

The ACE rule has several components: a determination of the best system of emission reduction (BSER) for GHG emissions from coal-fired power plants, a list of "candidate technologies" states can use when developing their plans, a new preliminary applicability test for determining whether a physical or operational change made to a power plant may be a "major modification" triggering New Source Review, and new implementation regulations for emission guidelines under Clean Air Act section 111(d). The EPA notes that with CO2 emissions steadily declining:

  • EPA projects that, compared to a no CPP scenario, the ACE rule will reduce CO2 emissions in 2025 by between 13 and 30 million short tons, resulting in $1.6 billion in monetized domestic climate benefits;
  • EPA estimates that the ACE rule could reduce 2030 CO2 emissions by an amount equivalent to the annual emissions of up to 5 million cars. The rule could also reduce co-pollutant emissions by up to 2 pct.;
  • These illustrative scenarios suggest that when states have fully implemented the ACE rule, U.S. power sector CO2 emissions could be around 34 pct below 2005 levels;
  • CO2 emissions in the power sector have steadily declined in recent years due to a range of factors including market forces, technology improvements, regulatory and policy changes. As a result, the industry has increased the use of natural gas and renewable energy sources;
  • These trends have resulted in CO2 emission reductions even as the U.S. has sustained economic growth and job gains across the economy without the (Obama) Clean Power Plan ever going into effect;
  • The (Trump) ACE rule will continue this trend;
  • The power sector emitted roughly 1.9 billion tons of CO2 in 2017, compared to 2.7 billion tons in 2005 -- a 28 pct decrease.
  • Approximately 600 coal-fired electric generating units at 300 facilities could be covered by the ACE rule.

    According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. leads the world in reducing CO2 emissions with U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions falling by 14 pct between 2005 to 2017, with coal-related CO2 emissions down 39 pct over that period. During that time, global energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 21 pct.

    More information and additional fact sheets along with copies of the proposed rule and accompanying Regulatory Impact Analysis are available HERE, www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2018-08/documents/ace_trends.pdf. (Source: US EPA, EIA, 27 Aug., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Trump.Carbon Emissions,  Clean Power Plan ,  


  • New EPA Administrator Wheeler Touting Trump's "Affordable Clean Energy Rule" (Reg & Leg)
    Coal,Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2018-08-27
    Greg Pruitt's replacement at the EPA, Andrew Wheeler has been making the rounds in Kentucky coal country touting President Donald Trump's Affordable Clean Energy Rule, a new plan aimed at aiding the beleaguered coal industry.

    Trump's proposal aims to replace the Obama administration's signature effort to slow global warming by limiting emissions from coal-fired power plants. To that end, Trump's plan broadly increases each individual state's authority to decide how to regulate coal plants, the reasoning being that states that are heavily into coal and other fossil fuels will legislate favorably toward its fossil fuel industries.

    Even so, Wheeler claims carbon emissions would continue decreasing under Trump's plan, albeit, not as quickly as under Obama's plan which Trump claims was tantamount to a "war on Coal." The Trump administration has acknowledged that the increased emissions from aging coal plants could kill hundreds more people annually and cost the U.S. billions of dollars. (Source: Various Media, LEX 18, 25 Aug., 2018) Contact: EPA, Andrew Wheeler, Administrator, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_R._Wheeler

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Coal,  Clean Coal,  Clean Power Plan,  Trump,  


    Xcel Undeterred in Carbon Emissions Goals (Ind. Report)
    Xcel Energy
    Date: 2018-08-27
    Further to our June 8th coverage, Minneapolis-headquartered Xcel Energy notes it remains committed to its carbon emissions goals and creating clean energy for its customers despite the Trump administration's reversal of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan coal pollution rules.

    The new EPA Affordable Clean Energy Rule proposal would give states leeway on whether to limit emissions and by how much and allow older power plants to operate longer.

    Xcel has coal plant operations in Becker, Minn. It has three units working and one united scheduled to be retired in 2023 and another in 2026.

    Since 2005 Xcel has reduced carbon emissions 33 pct in the Upper Midwest -- a level that is ahead of the former U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement. Xcel projects a 50 pct reduction in emissions by 2022. The company's current Upper Midwest energy mix is 58 pct carbon free -- 29 pct nuclear, 18 pct wind, 10 pct other renewables and 1 percent solar. The remaining mix is 30 pct coal and 12 pct natural gas. the company notes. By 2022, Xcel projects the Upper Midwest numbers to be 76 pct carbon free. (Source: Xcel Energy, 24 Aug., 2018) Contact: Xcel Energy, Frank Prager, VP Policy and Federal Affairs, www.xcelenergy.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Xcel Energy,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Trump Dumps Obama Era Clean Air Act (Reg & Leg)
    Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2018-08-22
    It is being widely reported that acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has signed a proposal calling for individual states to regulate power plant emissions, unlike the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan that made the regulation of power plant emissions a federal responsibility.

    The new EPA proposal, which is projected to release 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere compared with Obama's Clean Power Plan, flies in the face of the 2015 Clean Power Plan requiring states to meet specific carbon emission reduction standards based on their individual energy production and consumption.

    Obama's plan was challenged as "unconstitutional" and outside the federal government's power to regulate. (Source: Various Media, WSJ, Various Media, 21 Aug., 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  


    Apple Opposes Repeal of Obama Clean Power Plan (Ind. Report)
    Apple
    Date: 2018-04-09
    In response to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's announced plan to cancel the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan (CPP) , communications giant Apple issued the following "public comment" in opposition to the Trump administration's proposed rule changes:

    "Apple is committed to leaving the world better than we found it. Part of our commitment is to reduce our own impact on climate change by using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in our products and facilities. However, we believe that governments, as well as industry leaders, must take a lead role in the global battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. For a number of reasons, EPA should not repeal the Clean Power Plan."

    According to Apple, adopting the plan would help the US become a global leader in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Apple adds that its own efforts have shown that the CPP's targets are achievable without negatively impacting reliability or resiliency.

    In 2016, Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft filed a joint brief to the Supreme Court supporting the CPP and its goals. (Source: Apple, April, 2018)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  


    "If You Love the Taste of a Lobster Stew, Served by a Window with a Cape Cod View" -- APCC Opposes Repeal of Clean Power Plan (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Association to Preserve Cape Cod
    Date: 2018-01-12
    Citing concerns about increased severity and frequency of coastal storms, sea level rise, coastal erosion and other existing and future adverse impacts from climate change to the Cape Cod region, the not-for-profit environmental group Association to Preserve Cape Cod (APCC) submitted a letter to U.S. EPA kingpin Scott Pruitt opposing the agency's proposed plan to repeal the Obama era Clean Power Plan requiring significant reductions in electrical power plant CO2 emissions. Repeal of the Clean Power Plan would lift those restrictions and allow for continued and potentially increased use of coal to fire the nation's power plants.

    Highlights of APCC communication include: " Climate change has emerged as the greatest environmental threat facing our (Cape Cod) region's natural resources, economy and human population. Cape Cod communities are already experiencing worsening impacts from sea level rise, coastal erosion and an increase in frequency and severity of coastal storms associated with a changing climate.

    "Electrical power plants fired by fossil fuels are responsible for 31 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. -- the single largest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the nation. Any effort to effectively reduce the greenhouse gasses that cause climate change must include a substantial reduction in power plant emissions levels. The Clean Power Plan would achieve that objective.

    "Issuance of the Clean Power Plan by the EPA in 2015, with its requirement for significant reductions in CO2 pollution emissions from power plants, has been the most important step to date taken by the U.S. to address climate change. Implementation of the CPP would set our nation on the right track toward mitigating climate change and its impacts, and it would secure the U.S.'s position as a responsible global partner in the effort to control CO2 emissions.

    "The EPA has a legal requirement under the Clean Air Act -- requirement that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court -- to regulate CO2 as a pollutant that endangers human health. Repeal of the CPP would be in direct conflict with the EPA's charge to protect the nation's environment and the health of its citizens, a responsibility entrusted to the agency since its establishment in 1970." (Source: Association to Preserve Cape Cod, CapeCodToday, 10 Jan., 2018) Contact: Association to Preserve Cape Cod, Andrew Gottlieb, Exec. Dir., (508) 619-3185, www.apcc.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  EPA,  Clean Power Plan,  Pruitt,  


    EPA Under the Gun on Obama Climate Rule Changes (Reg & Leg)
    EPA
    Date: 2018-01-08
    It is being widely reported that the Trump administration EPA administrator Scott Pruitt is under the gun to repeal and replace the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan before the year end.

    Obama's rule aimed to cut carbon levels 32 pct below 2005 levels by 2030. Under Trump, the EPA is expected to do little more than consider coal plant efficiency upgrades which would do little to curb emissions.

    (Source: Politico, Twitter, 5 Jan., 2018) Contact: EPA Scott Pruitt, www.facebook.com/EPAScottPruitt; www.epa.gov/aboutepa/about-office-administrator

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Scott Pruitt,  ,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Bloomberg Adding $64Mn to War on Coal Arsenal (Ind. Report)
    Bloomberg
    Date: 2017-10-16
    According to bloomberg.com, former Big Apple Mayor Michael Bloomberg contributing $64 million towards the fight against coal power plants. The , will benefit from the donation. The new funds are intended to support the Sierra Club and environmental groups working with mayors, governors, utility regulators and private sector leaders to "develop, implement and strengthen policies" that make it easier for solar and wind power to compete, according to a news release. The effort is aimed at closing 60 pct of the nation's coal-fired power plants by the end of 2020.

    The Bloomberg initiative comes on the heels of the Trump administration's announcement that it will begin an appeal of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan mandating 32 pct cuts in CO2 emissions by 2030. (Source: Bloomberg.com, 12 Oct., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Power Plan,  Bloomberg,  Climate Change,  Coal,  


    U.S. GHG Emissions Drop 2 pct in 2016, EPA Reports (Ind. Report)

    Date: 2017-10-09
    In Washington, the US EPA website reports the nation's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from major industrial facilities declined 2 pct in 2016 to 2.99 billion tonnes, The decline was led by a large cut from the power sector during the initial phase of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan.

    The drop was led by a 4.6 pct cut from power plants to 1.88 billion tonnes from 1.97 billion tonnes in 2015. The EPA data notes that natural gas and oil sector emissions rose to 283 million tonnes in 2016 from 233 million in 2015. (Source: EPA Website, Oct., 2017) Contact: EPA, www.epa.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News GHGs,  Carbon Emissions,  US EPA,  


    Trump's Obama Clean Power Plan Repeal Effort Expected (Reg & Leg)
    EPA,Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2017-10-09
    According to Bloomberg, CNN and others, the US EPA still plans to propose the repeal of the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan meant to curb primarily coal-burning lower generation plant greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed repeal effort is in line with Trump's string of executive orders seemingly aimed at discrediting the Obama administration and challenging the legality of the Clean Power Plan itself. The proposed repeal -- see attached -- is widely expected to be launched this week.

    Review the full EPA proposal HERE. (Source: EPA, CNN, Various Others, Oct. 7, 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA Pruitt,  Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  


    EPA Delays Obama Coal-Fired Power Plant Waste Rule (Reg & Leg)
    EPA,Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2017-09-15
    In Washington, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports it has "formally" postponed implementation of the Obama administration regulations governing waste from coal-fired power plants.

    The rule set specific limits on toxins like lead, arsenic and mercury in wastewater from power plants, potentially lowering pollution by 1.4 billion ppy and saving an estimated $500 million in public health costs. (Source: EPA, Various Media, EcoWatch, 12 Sept., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News US EPA,  Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  


    110 Bn Tree "Trump Forest" Touted to Fight Climate Change (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Trump
    Date: 2017-08-21
    It is being widely reported that growing resistance to the Trump administration's rollback of U.S. climate policy is literally taking root worldwide under the guise of the "Trump Forest" project. The project is being driven by New Zealand climate scientist Dr. Daniel Price, ex-journalist Adrien Taylor, and political scientist Jeff Willis.

    The Trump Forest project project aims to plant 110 billion trees which would cover an area larger than the State of Kentucky, to offset the carbon emissions created by the Trump administration's climate regression, from repealing the Clean Power Plan to withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement.

    "The project rests on a simple idea: to soak up excess carbon emissions created by the Trump administration's rollback of climate policies and devotion to fossil fuels, plant something that absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. (Source: ThinkProgress, Various Others18 Aug., 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Reforestation,  Carbon Emissions,  


    Virginia Considering RGGI Carbon Regulation Model (Ind. Report)
    RGGI
    Date: 2017-08-07
    In the Old Dominion State, the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) advisory panel appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) to create a new carbon regulation for Virginia's power plants reports its work is now underway. The panel includes representatives from the state's regulated utilities, merchant producers and electrical cooperatives as well as environmental groups and renewable energy and energy efficiency organizations.

    Gov. McAuliffe directed the DEQ to develop a regulation that allows for the use of "market-based mechanisms and the trading of carbon dioxide allowances through a multi-state trading program." The only similar program is Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which sets regional yearly caps for carbon emissions, regulates emissions from fossil fuel power plants above 25 MW, and auctions off those carbon-dioxide allowances.

    Virginia's power plants emitted nearly 34 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2016, up from 31 million in 2011, and are expected to rise to 37 million tons in 2019 and then fall to about 34.8 million tons by 2023, according to the DEQ. However, Virginia cannot sell allowances and raise revenue without legislative approval. That presents a complication for the panel in sorting out how to participate in RGGI's allowance-trading market without setting up its own auction and becoming a full-fledged member. (Source: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Aug., 2017) Contact:Department of Environmental Quality, David Paylor, Director, (804) 698-4000, www.deq.virginia.gov; RGGI, (212) 417-3179, www.rggi.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News RGGI,  Carbon Emission,  Clean Power Plan,  


    Chicago Joins Coalition Threatening Suit Against EPA Over Methane Rules (Ind. Report)
    Methane
    Date: 2017-07-05
    Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and 14 other attorneys general, the California Air Resources Board, and the City of Chicago have alerted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that they plan to sue if the agency continues to ignore its legal duty to control emissions of methane from existing oil and gas operations.

    The coalition's notice to the EPA cited the agency's failure to fulfill its obligation under the Clean Air Act to control methane emissions from existing oil and natural gas sources and for "unreasonably delaying" the issuance of such controls. It also argues that EPA's failure to act since September 2015 to issue controls on methane emissions from existing sources in the oil and gas industry violates the EPA's non-discretionary duty under the Clean Air Act and is an unreasonable delay in setting such controls.

    Last week, a coalition of 14 states filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against EPA's actions halting regulation of methane emissions from new sources in the oil and gas industry. In February, a coalition of seven attorneys general and two environmental agencies urged U.S. Senate leadership to oppose a Congressional Review Act resolution to repeal a rule regulating methane emissions from oil and gas operations on public lands.

    Illinois AG Madigan has also condemned federal executive's attempt to eliminate the Clean Power Plan and opposed the drastic budget cuts proposed for the EPA. (Source: Office of Illinois Attorney General, 29 June, 2017) Contact: Office of Illinois Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, (312) 814-3400, www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Methane,  Clean Power Plan,  


    Exxon, BP, Shell Back $40 per Tonne Carbon Tax (Ind. Report)
    Climate Leadership Council
    Date: 2017-06-28
    Oil giants ExxonMobil, Shell, BP and Total are among a group of large corporations that have announced their support for the Climate Leadership Council, a group of senior Republican figures who in February proposed a $40 per tonne carbon tax as part of a "free-market, limited government" response to address climate change. The $40 carbon tax, which would rise over time and encourage a shift towards renewable energy sources, would be returned to the American public as "carbon dividends" with a family of four receiving approximately $2,000 in the first year. The Climate Leadership Council proposal would dismantle all major U.S. climate regulations, including the Environmental Protection Agency's authority over CO2 emissions and an "outright repeal" of the Obama administration's clean power plan.

    Backers of the Climate Leadership Council supporters hope that strengthening public support for carbon taxes, along with growing concern over increasingly sever weather will start to erode the decade-long impasse in US climate policy.

    Other supporters and founding members of the plan included Unilever, PepsiCo, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson and the green groups Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy. (Source: Carbon Leadership Council, Guardian, Various Others, June, 2017) Contact: Carbon Leadership Council, (202) 864-2552, info@clcouncil.org, www.clcouncil.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Leadership Council,  Carbon Tax,  


    White House Confirms Receipt of EPA Clean Power Plan Rollback Rulemaking Document (Reg & Leg)
    Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2017-06-14
    The White House Office of Management and Budget is reporting receipt of the U.S. EPA's proposed rulemaking for rescinding the Obama administration implemented Clean Power Plan. The Plan calls for states to reduce electric power generation carbon emissions 32 pct below 2005 levels by 2030. It was central to U.S. international climate commitments to slash emissions 26 pct by 2025.

    The rulemaking to rescind the Clean Power Plan focuses on the Trump administration's often repeated contention that it is "illegal" and "too expensive for the Umited States." Environmental groups and advocates are fighting the move and the EPA still doesn't know whether the agency will try to replace the rule with less stringent standards which could also mean conceding that the agency will have to regulate greenhouse gases eventually.

    The text of the rulemaking document is not yet available. (Source: White House Office of Management and Budget, June, 2017) Contact: White House Office of Management and Budget, www.whitehouse.gov/omb

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Power Plan,  


    Va. Gov. Takes Executive Action to Limit CO2 Emissions (Reg & Leg)
    Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
    Date: 2017-05-19
    In the Old Dominion State, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) on Tuesday instructed the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to begin a process of establishing regulations that will reduce carbon emissions from power plants, a plan that could include the state linking with emissions-trading programs in other states.

    McAuliffe opted to take an executive-action based on the likelihood that the Republican-led state General Assembly would not have approved a plan to address carbon emissions, the governor's spokesman said. Furthermore, with the future of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan in doubt, McAuliffe believed the Commonwealth needed to take action on its own to regulate power plant carbon emissions.

    McAuliffe's executive action calls for regulations to abate, control, or limit CO2 from Virginia's power plants. The rule is intended to "allow for the use of market-based mechanisms and the trading of CO2 allowances through a multi-state trading program." The proposed regulation is due to be presented to the air board by December 31. The state air board will decide on whether to put the draft regulations out for public notice and comment under the Virginia Administrative Process Act. Once this regulatory process has begun, a future governor would have to take similar administrative procedures steps to undo any rules that are adopted. (Source: Office of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, ThinkProgress, 17 May, 2017) Contact: Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, (804) 786-2211, https://governor.virginia.gov; Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, (804) 698-4000, www.deq.virginia.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Power Plant Emissions,  Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


    Dominion Virginia's Power Plan Foresees CO2 Restrictions (Ind. Report)
    Virginia Dominion Power
    Date: 2017-05-03
    In Richmond, Virginia Dominion Power, one of the nation's largest energy producers with a portfolio of approximately 26,200 megawatts of generation, is reporting that the carbon footprint for a typical Dominion Virginia Power customer would shrink by as much as 25 pct over the next eight years under a new company plan. When added to reductions already made by Dominion, carbon emissions to meet the energy needs of a typical residential customer would fall by up to 46 pct between 2007 and 2027.

    The main drivers of these improvements are a significant drop in the subsidized cost of utility-scale universal solar power, the ability to support the variable output of solar and wind with highly efficient natural gas generation, and Virginia's two nuclear power stations. This combination is expected to provide the lowest cost and best environmental performance while maintaining around-the-clock reliability.

    On the Federal level, Dominion anticipates future national energy policy to include limitations on greenhouse gas emissions in some form, i.e. the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan which is now under attack by the Trump administration. Nonetheless, the federal government remains under a legal requirement to address carbon as a regulated pollutant.

    At the state level, the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board is currently considering a petition on carbon limitations and is developing proposals to reduce carbon emission in Virginia, irregardless of federal action or inaction.

    Dominion has lowered carbon emissions in recent years through a number of other measures. It has converted four coal-fired power stations to natural gas or renewable biomass; built highly efficient natural gas power stations in Virginia to reduce imports of electricity from higher-carbon sources outside the state; encouraged energy conservation; and increased efficiency of its existing stations to produce more energy with the same amount of fuel. The company's newest coal-fired station, the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center, can use biomass for up to 20 pct of its fuel.

    Dominion's 2017 plan includes advancing renewable energy, grid modernization and strengthening against cyber or physical attacks, providing more control and information for customers, making the power grid a "two-way" street, and improving the company's ability to restore power promptly after outages. Dominion's alternative plans all assume the future will include some carbon restrictions resulting in the potential closures of certain fossil-fueled generating plants. (Source: Dominion Virginia Power, PR, 1 May, 2017) Contact: Dominion Virginia Power, Robert M. Blue, Pres., CEO, www.dom.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Virginia Dominion Power,  Clean Power Plan,  Clean Energy,  Carbon Footprint,  


    Appeals Court Stalls on Obama Clean Power Plan Ruling (Reg & Leg)
    Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2017-05-03
    At the Trump administration's request, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has agreed to postpone a ruling on lawsuits challenging Obama-era Clean Power Plan restrictions on carbon emissions. The government had asked the court to put a hold on the case shortly after President Donald Trump signed an executive order vowing to roll back the Clean Power Plan.

    The regulations were challenged by a coalition of states and industry groups that profit or benefit from burning coal. Environmental groups have opposed the delay and urged the court to rule. (Source: Salina Journal, Various Media, 2 May, 2017)

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  


    RGGI States Discussing Deeper Emissions Cuts (Ind. Report)
    RGGI
    Date: 2017-05-01
    Despite the Trump Administrations apathy to fighting climate change and determination to quash the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan, Delaware and the other Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) states -- Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont -- are reportedly considering making deeper cuts in carbon emissions from state power plants as part of the nine-state emissions reduction plan.

    The RGGI states are weighing policy options that would impose stricter limits on their power-plant emissions starting in 2020, ramping up a program that has driven down carbon emissions from those sources by 40 pct since it began in 2009.

    The RGGI states are committed to scale back emissions by an annual 2.5 pct which they achieve by selling "allowances" to power generators, and then using the revenue to invest in renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures. In practice, regional emissions have fallen by about 5 percent a year under RGGI while consumers' power prices have dropped in response to the increasing use of renewables and energy efficiency, boosting local economies. RGGI is now looking at raising its mandates cuts from 2.5 to 3.5 percent.

    Since its inception, the RGGI program has cut consumers' energy bills by some $4.7 billion, while boosting the regional economy by $2.9 billion, according to RGGI data. (Source: RGGI, Delaware Public Media, 28 April, 2017) Contact: RGGI, (212) 417-3179, www.rggi.org

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  RGGI,  


    Sierra Club Lauds PNM's Coal Phase-Out Plans (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    PNM,Clean POwer Plan
    Date: 2017-04-24
    The Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter Commentary has issued the following in response to the Public Service Company of New Mexico's (PNM) proposal to eliminate coal from its energy portfolio by 2031: "PNM's announcement that early retirement of San Juan and Four Corners coal plants will save customers money is a clear demonstration that coal is no longer economically sustainable.

    "Across the nation, utilities are planning early retirements for coal plants, including San Juan, Four Corners and Navajo Generating Station, because coal is simply being 'outcompeted' by less expensive energy sources, including wind, solar and energy efficiency.

    "These announcements point to why it is so important to prepare for the inevitable transition to clean energy. We must take this economic shift seriously and examine how we can support workers and the communities that have lived in the shadow of pollution. The Four Corners' vast solar potential and massive transmission network can create clean energy jobs and provide affordable, reliable energy to the region. This will require immediate and thoughtful action from PNM, the state, local government, and other local stakeholders.

    "It is time to stop investing in technologies of the past - PNM's 2014 purchase of shares in Arizona's Palo Verde nuclear plant forced a large rate increase onto consumers last year. PNM should avoid purchasing another large share of an aging nuclear plant and all the liability that comes with it. Renewable energy, storage and energy efficiency are increasingly cheaper, safer, cleaner investments, and they protect our families in the bargain. (Source: Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter , PR, April 21, 2017) Contact: Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter, Camilla Feibelman, Director, (505) 243-7767, www.riograndesierraclub.org; PNM, Pat O'Connell, Dir. Resource Planning, (505) 241-2700, www.pnm.com

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Clean Power Plan,  PNM,  Coal,  PNM,  


    Hickenlooper Takes a Stand on Obama Clean Power Plan (Ind. Report)
    John Hickenlooper
    Date: 2017-04-03
    In Denver, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (Dem) is taking a stand against Trump's move to quash the Obama Clean Power Plan. Hickenlooper says his state, the seventh-largest energy producing state in the U.S., will not be deterred by Trump's agenda and will continue its push to increased renewable energy and slashing carbon pollution.

    According to the governor, Colorado has been addressing climate change since at least 2004, when voters approved a measure requiring utilities to source a minimum of 10 pct of their power from renewable sources by 2015. The target was later increased to 30 pct by 2020. In 2010, the state enacted legislation requiring utilities to replace some coal-fired electrical generating plants with natural gas facilities.

    According to a spokesperson for the governor, Colorado has not yet met the goals but is on track to do so by 2030 -- the deadline in the Clean Power Plan for U.S. states to cut carbon emissions 30 pct. Although some states favour Trump's move others are moving ahead on their own initiatives to cut carbon emissions or encourage renewable energy. (Source: Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper, LMTonline, AP, 29 Mar., 2017) Contact: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, (303) 866-2471, www.colorado.gov/governor

    More Low-Carbon Energy News John Hickenlooper,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  Trump,  


    Governors Reaffirm Commitment to Clean Power Plan Targets (Opinions, Editorials & Aside)
    Clean Power Plan
    Date: 2017-03-31
    With the Trump administration's announcement that the U.S. will begin to dismantle Obama's Clean Power Plan, California Governor Edmund (Jerry) Brown and New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo have issued issued the following statement reaffirming their ongoing commitment to exceed the targets of the Clean Power Plan and curb carbon pollution:

    "Dismantling the Clean Power Plan and other critical climate programs is profoundly misguided and shockingly ignores basic science. With this move, the Administration will endanger public health, our environment and our economic prosperity.

    "Climate change is real and will not be wished away by rhetoric or denial. We stand together with a majority of the American people in supporting bold actions to protect our communities from the dire consequences of climate change.

    "Together, California and New York represent approximately 60 million people and 20 percent of the nation's GDP . With or without Washington, we will work with our partners throughout the world to aggressively fight climate change and protect our future."

    California and New York lead the nation in ground-breaking policies to combat climate change. Both states -- which account for roughly 10 pct of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the United States -- have adopted advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to meet and exceed the requirements of the Clean Power Plan and have set some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America -- 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. California and New York will continue to work closely together and with other states to help fill the void left by the federal government. These efforts complement California and New York's ongoing efforts to broaden collaboration among sub-national leaders on climate change, including through the Under2 Coalition -- a pact among cities, states and countries around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius in order to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences. California and New York are among the Under2 Coalition's 167 jurisdictions representing more than one billion people and $25.9 trillion in combined GDP -- more than one-third of the global economy. (Source: Office of Gov. Jerry Brown, PR, 28 Mar., 2017)Contact: Governor of California, Edmund G. (Jerry) Browm, (916) 445-2841, http://gov.ca.gov; N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, www.governor.ny.gov

    More Low-Carbon Energy News Obama Clean Power Plan,  Jerry Brown,  Andrew Cuomo,  


    Brookings Comments on Trump's Executive Order on Energy Independence (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
    Brookings Institution
    Date: 2017-03-29
    "First and most prominently, the (Trump) executive order directs the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan, one of Obama's key regulatory actions to drive down greenhouse gas emissions in the electric power sector. Because an executive order cannot directly overturn a regulation, the EPA will have to come to a finding about whether the CPP should be revised or repealed. Technically, the EPA does not have an option to repeal and not replace, because the Supreme Court has already ruled that the current interpretation of the Clean Air Act -- the legislation upon which the CPP is based -- requires the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Repeal without replacement would contravene the Supreme Court's order, so Trump's EPA must come up with an alternative that will hold up in court.

    "Second, dismantling the CPP would put the U.S. on a higher pollution and less ambitious emissions track in the medium term. The CPP targeted a roughly 32 percent decrease in CO2 emissions from the power sector by 2030, primarily from accelerating the long-term shift away from coal-fired electricity generation. In addition to having impacts on the U.S. economy and health, removing the CPP would imply a costly delay in implementing what in the long run will be necessary reductions in our overall greenhouse gas emissions over time. In addition, the approach in the CPP was developed over many years of consultation with industry, health advocates, states, and other stakeholders. While it would impact coal, it did provide a reasonable approach to reducing the most harmful emissions and steering the economy toward a sounder energy system for the future.

    "In addition, while Trump argues that the CPP rollback will benefit jobs, he is referring to a relatively small set of interests. While it is important to be mindful of the need to blunt the potential economic hardship that people working in dying industries face, even insiders acknowledge that the coal sector is not going to recover even with these rules rolled back, not least because of mechanization. Recent Department of Energy statistics show that the coal mining industry employed roughly 66,000 miners in 2015, compared to an estimated 3 million jobs supported by clean energy. Therefore, the likely impact of the order on the coal industry will be fairly weak in the near term and, at best, mediocre in the long term. While reversing the moratorium on new coal mining leases will open new sources of supply, it will not in itself reverse the trends in energy markets that have increasingly favored gas. In addition, other regulations to control air pollution will continue to restrict the burning of coal for electricity.

    "Dismantling the CPP would have an effect on the overall U.S. climate strategy and will make it harder and more expensive to achieve the necessary levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the longer term. But it is also important to remember that the CPP, in targeting roughly one-third of overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, is only one part of the overall strategy to drive down U.S. emissions. Electricity currently makes up about 39 percent of U.S. energy use and is responsible for about 30 percent of overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. While many of the most inexpensive and economically efficient opportunities for emissions reductions exist in the power sector, a number of other areas that will continue to see efficiency gains, such as in appliance and equipment standards and the first round of auto fuel economy standards implemented under Obama. As one example, existing appliance and equipment efficiency standards are expected to reduce U.S. CO2 emissions by 3 billion tons by 2030 -- fully half of the estimated reductions from the CPP." (Source: The Brookings Institution, Nathan Hultman, March 28, 2017)

    Note:The prestigious Brookings Institution is a century-old, Washington, DC-headquartered nonprofit public policy think tank that conducts in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level. -- Brookings www.brookings.edu



    More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Donald Trump,  Obama Clean Power Plan,  Carbon Emissions,  

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