August 4 Energy News

August 4, 2015

Opinion:

¶ “EPA’s carbon rules are catching up with the market” The President rolled out Monday the much-anticipated centerpiece to his climate change plan. It envisions an overhaul in power plants, what they burn, and the broader electricity system. It’s ambitious. But to people in and around the power sector, this revolution is already well underway. Not because of the EPA, but the market. [WBFO]

Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal-fired Morgantown Generating Station in Newburg, Maryland. Scott Tong

Emissions spew out of a large stack at the coal-fired Morgantown Generating Station in Newburg, Maryland. Scott Tong

¶ “Busted: 3 myths about Obama’s climate plan” If you live, work or breathe in the United States, Obama’s new national Clean Power Plan is good news for you. Unfortunately, you would never know that if you listened to all the big polluters screaming bloody murder about it. President Obama set a clear goal, but he is leaving it to the states to decide how best to get there.[CNN]

¶ “Should the UK really be putting its money into nuclear power in 2015?” Hinkley Point C was announced in 2008, with predictions it could produce a sizeable chunk of the UK’s future energy, a safe and reliable low-carbon electricity source for five million homes. Today, the Government has yet to announce a final decision on whether to proceed with the £25 billion project. [The Independent]

World:

¶ Wind energy powered almost three quarters of Scotland’s houses in July of this year. Figures from from WeatherEnergy, reveal that wind turbines powered 72% of Scottish households last month, providing more than 660,000 MWh of electricity to the national grid. This represents an increase of 58% compared to July 2014, when wind turbines generated 417,000 MWh. [edie.net]

¶ Insurance giant Aviva announced plans to increase investments in low-carbon assets. It will also reduce exposure to sectors that face risk of regulatory action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Aviva CEO Mark Wilson recently stated that the company will invest around $780 million every year in renewable energy and energy efficiency assets over the next 5 years. [CleanTechnica]

¶ US solar service giant Sungevity has decided to quit the Australian market, a victim of investor nervousness about constantly changing policy for clean energy in Australia. Ironically, this news came on the same day Sungevity announced a major expansion into the UK market, which installed 2.4 GW of solar in 2014, three times more than the Australian market. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie has written to the heads of two Holyrood committees calling for an inquiry into the impact of UK Government decisions on renewable energy and climate change targets in Scotland. The Glasgow MSP said Tory ministers had announced a range of measures in recent weeks, making it more difficult to develop wind and solar projects or achieve efficiencies. [The National]

Patrick Harvie called for the probe into how policies will affect renewables such as the Braes O’Doune farm by Stirling

Patrick Harvie called for the probe into how policies will affect renewables such as the Braes O’Doune farm by Stirling

US:

¶ President Obama formally announced unprecedented limits on greenhouse emissions from power plants Monday, but the measures are expected to have limited impact on electricity generation facilities in Maine. While the plan will produce cleaner air in the region, Maine has none of the coal-burning power plants considered the primary target of the emissions reductions. [Press Herald]

¶ Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii are the only states exempted from rules the Environmental Protection Agency that require other states to cut power plant emissions by 32% by 2030. Chris Recchia, commissioner of Vermont’s Public Service Department, and Deb Markowitz, secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources, said the plan appears to apply longstanding Vermont policies nationwide. [Sioux City Journal]

¶ In Washington, the American Lung Association describes the Environmental Protection Agency’s new regulations as lifesaving. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch calls them job-killing. Rocky Mountain Power generates around 80% of the electricity used in Utah from coal, but spokesman Paul Murphy says his company is already making the changes the EPA wants away from fossil fuels. [KUER]

¶ Invenergy is proposing a $700-million natural gas-fired power plant in Burrillville, Rhode Island, which it claims would be the most efficient generator of electricity that burns fossil fuels in New England. If all goes as it plans and the project is approved, construction of the 900-MW combined-cycle generator would start next year and the facility would be up and running by 2019. [The Providence Journal]

Artists rendering of the Clean River Energy Center, the 900-MW power plant proposed for Burrillville.

Artists rendering of the Clean River Energy Center, the 900-MW power plant proposed for Burrillville.

¶ Dominion Virginia Power, the state’s biggest power generator, was cautiously optimistic, commending the US EPA for making “critical changes” to the Clean Power Plan draft to make compliance targets more achievable. Virginia Governor McAuliffe said Monday the EPA apparently made changes to the final plan that addressed his original concerns about equity and flexibility. [Daily Press]

¶ The Obama administration has unveiled its clean power plan. The first-of-their-kind limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants will require slightly tougher cuts than the original proposal. The EPA is calling for a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants below 2005 levels by 2030. That is up from the 30% target as part of last year’s proposal. [OilPrice.com]

¶ The Obama administration unveiled the final version of its Clean Power Plan on Monday, establishing for the first time federal limits on carbon emissions for the nation’s power plants, but apparently through the embrace of renewables, solar and wind power, rather than natural gas. Coal, of course, took the greatest beating. But supporters of natural gas power also were not happy. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

¶ Consternation continues to fester about the nearly $5 billion settlement over the San Onofre nuclear power plant. The pact forces customers to pay 70% of the costs to shutter the facility following a 2012 radiation leak, without a full investigation by state regulators into who was at fault. That is about one third of a $10.4 billion bill customers must cover over a period of decades. [KPBS]

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