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Environmental Policy

Goodbye Mercury Rule, Hello Clean Power Plan?

July 7, 2015 by Brian H. Potts

The EPA and the Supreme Court

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suffered a major setback on Monday after the U.S. Supreme Court doled out its ruling in Michigan v. EPA. The Court found that the EPA’s decision to ignore the $10 billion dollar annual price tag of its Mercury and Air Toxics Standard for power plants was unreasonable.[read more]

Sustainability Policy Is Taking Hold in China

July 7, 2015 by Steven Cohen

China Sustainability Policy

Whenever I try to analyze China's sustainability policies I am mindful of the fact that I am far from an expert on China's history, culture, economy or politics. Nevertheless, even a casual observer can see the intense drive to bring sustainability factors into the massive national mission to grow China's economy.[read more]

Financing Energy Storage: Taking Cues From the Success of PV

July 7, 2015 by Eric Wesoff

PV and Energy Finance

When it comes to solar project finance, the PV market is in the midst of a small golden age of sorts. Tax equity funds and PPAs are now joined by asset-backed securities, the potential for MLP status, loans, community solar, PACE financing, and solar bonds as some of the tools that can back solar projects.[read more]

China's new 2030 Climate Target Will Contribute to a Lower and Earlier Emissions Peak

July 6, 2015 by Jake Schmidt

China and Future Planning

China formally submitted its climate pledge for the post-2020 period in preparation for the new international climate agreement. These details were announced as part of the US-China climate agreement last November, but China has now added a carbon intensity reduction target to its 2030 goals.[read more]

Demand for Small Modular Reactors may be Impacted by Supreme Court Ruling on EPA Coal Plant Emissions

July 6, 2015 by Dan Yurman

SMRs and Supreme Court Rulings

The US Supreme Court recently threw out EPA’s coal emissions regulations that if implemented would have forced many utilities to close older coal-fired plants. The new emissions controls are aimed at mercury and other toxic pollutants which are not removed from stack emissions by current air pollution controls.[read more]

How Germany's Second-Biggest Utility Is Adapting to a Distributed Energy World

July 6, 2015 by Jeff St. John
1

German Utility Adaptation

German utility RWE is a victim of the so-called “utility death spiral,” with its central-power-plant-reliant business losing billions of dollars in Germany’s renewables-rich energy market. But distributed energy technologies and business models could help turn its fortunes around.[read more]

Hawaii and Vermont Set High Renewable Portfolio Standard Targets

July 6, 2015 by U.S. EIA: Today in Energy
1

State Renewable Portfolio Standards

Two states recently passed legislation that would require significant increases in renewable electricity generation. On June 8, Hawaii updated legislation setting a 100% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2045. On June 11, Vermont passed a bill creating a 75% RPS by 2032.[read more]

NASA Satellite Images Show the Rapid Expansion of Utility-Scale Solar in China

July 3, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
3

China Solar Expansion

China is a very difficult solar market to track from the outside. There's no doubt that the Chinese PV market is growing at unprecedented speed. But determining its overall health is more of an art than a science. So perhaps the scientists can help.[read more]

Reliability Means Being Connected: We Need a Strong Integrated Electricity System with Nuclear Generation

July 3, 2015 by Milton Caplan
7

Nuclear and Energy Reliability

Our economy is completely dependent upon the availability of reliable, clean and economic electricity. So while we may dream of not needing the grid as we each generate our own electricity, what we really need is a strong, interconnected grid made up of reliable economic nuclear power as its work horse.[read more]

US-Brazil 20% Renewable Commitment is a Good Start, But We Can Do More

July 3, 2015 by NRDC Switchboard

International Renewables Commitments

President Obama and his Brazilian counterpart, Dilma Rousseff, announced a pretty impressive clean energy commitment at their joint White House appearance recently. They pledged that each country would get 20 percent of its electricity from non-hydro renewable sources, like solar and wind power, by 2030.[read more]

Supreme Court: EPA Should Have Considered Cost When Deciding Whether Mercury Limits For Power Plants Were Appropriate

July 2, 2015 by James Coleman

EPA Regulations and Considering Costs

The United States Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency improperly refused to consider costs when determining whether it was “appropriate and necessary” to regulate mercury emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act.[read more]

Cheapest Solar Ever: Austin Energy Gets 1.2 Gigawatts of Solar Bids for Less Than 4 Cents

July 2, 2015 by Stephen Lacey
8

Solar Cost Reduction Efforts

A lot more cheap solar is coming for Austin, Texas. The city's utility, Austin Energy, just released new data on developer bids for PV projects as part of a 600-megawatt procurement. The numbers show how far solar prices have come down over the last year -- and will continue to drop.[read more]

How Does China's Climate Pledge Stack Up?

July 2, 2015 by Barbara Finamore
1

China and Climate Action

China's climate pledge will require the country to make very significant changes to its emissions trajectory - including adding non-fossil power equivalent to the entire U.S. power generating capacity by 2030. When you compare China's growth trajectory against that of developed countries, how does it compare?[read more]

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Should Gas & Oil Methane Emissions Be the Next Obama Climate Policy Priority?

July 1, 2015 by John Miller
10

Emissions Priorities

Is the Environmental Protection Agency’s new proposed gas and oil production greenhouse gas regulation actually the most efficient and effective approach to reducing total methane emissions in the United States? Or are there better alternatives?[read more]

Solar's Value for Grid Circuits: Not Much on Average, but Huge for a Handful

July 1, 2015 by Jeff St. John
1

Solar and the Grid

Solar advocates and opponents have argued over the merits of various studies about the relative costs and benefits of distributed solar PV. Different studies have reached different results -- so different that the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote an entire report just to compare and contrast 16 of them.[read more]