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Energy News

SunShot $1 per Watt Solar Cost Goal: Mission Accomplished,

Green Tech Media | Posted on January 31, 2017

With the advent of $1.00-per-watt (DC) pricing for utility fixed-tilt PV systems, the solar industry has crushed the SunShot Program's $1.00-per-watt goal for 2020 three years early.

Net metering bill would make Indiana an outlier on solar policy

Midwest Energy News | Posted on January 31, 2017

As dozens of states consider adopting fees and less-favorable rates to tilt the scales against net metering, advocates say a proposal in Indiana would offer rooftop solar customers the worst deal in the country.  Senate Bill 309, would end net metering by 2027 at the latest, and earlier than that for new panel installations by customers of utilities that hit caps on net metering capacity. The new rules would require customers to buy all the electricity they consume from the utility at a retail rate while selling everything they generate to the utility at a lower wholesale rate. If the bill passes, Indiana would be the only state in the country with a “buy all, sell all” model that doesn’t credit customers at the full retail rate for the energy they consume from their own solar panels, said Autumn Proudlove, senior policy analyst at the NC Clean Energy Tech Center, which tracks net metering rules around the country. “I don’t think that I’ve seen any other models proposed that would be less financially favorable to solar customers since most of them allow the customers to at least self-consume energy from the system,” she said.

Nebraska bills would allow more community solar, tap lottery for funding

Midwest Energy News | Posted on January 31, 2017

A pair of bills now before the Nebraska legislature would provide a new potential funding source for community solar projects, and mandate that utilities allow community solar projects initiated by their customers. LB 610 would explicitly allow the Nebraska Environmental Trust to consider issuing grants to community solar projects. The trust’s funds, coming from a portion of the state’s lottery proceeds, amount to roughly $16 million yearly.

Pipeline leaks 138,600 gallons of diesel in northern Iowa

Des Moines Register | Posted on January 27, 2017

An investigation is ongoing on how a pipeline leaked 138,600 gallons of diesel fuel in Worth County early Wednesday morning, according to Magellan Midstream Partners L.P., the pipeline company. "It’s a big one — it’s significant," said Jeff Vansteenburg, a field office supervisor for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "The responsible party is Magellan, so they’ll have to bear the cost of clean up." The pipeline leaked on private agricultural land, said Karen Grimes, spokeswoman for the Iowa DNR. There is a small stream near the leak, but Grimes said no surface water has been contaminated. The Iowa DNR has not uncovered any underground water contamination.

Appeals court to decide future of California carbon auctions

Washington Post | Posted on January 27, 2017

Businesses looking to invalidate California’s fee for carbon pollution took their arguments to a state appeals court Tuesday in a case that could determine the future of one of California’s signature efforts to combat climate change. With a central piece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy on the line, lawyers for the state and for environmental advocacy groups defended a program that has been closely watched around the world as a potential model for controlling carbon emissions.

US solar power employs more people than oil, coal and gas combined

Independent | Posted on January 27, 2017

The latest report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) reveals solar energy accounts for the largest proportion of employers in the Electric Power Generation sector, with wind energy the third largest, while the coal industries have declined in the past 10 years. Solar energy employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, making up 43 per cent of the sector’s workforce, while the traditional fossil fuels combined employed 187,117, making up just 22 per cent of the workforce, according to the report.

California proposes ambitious new climate goals

The Hill | Posted on January 26, 2017

California formally proposed a 40 percent slash in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, minutes after President Trump was inaugurated.  The state’s Air Resources Board said that 40 percent cut by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, would be the most ambitious climate goal in North America. “Climate change is impacting California now, and we need to continue to take bold and effective action to address it head on to protect and improve the quality of life in California,” Mary Nichols, the board’s chairwoman, said in a statement.  Scott Pruitt, the nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, said at a confirmation hearing that he would consider ending California’s decades-old authority to enforce its own limits on emissions from cars and trucks.  The California plan would extend its cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases through 2030, cut the carbon intensity of fuels used for transportation and put more than 4 million zero-emission vehicles on the roads.

Why coal jobs aren't coming back, despite Trump's actions

CNN | Posted on January 26, 2017

President Trump's "America First" energy plan makes clear that the White House is committed to "reviving" the country's long-suffering coal industry.It's part of Trump's effort to live up to his campaign pledge to coal miners, whom he has told: "Get ready, because you're going to be working your asses off."As soon as this week, Trump could back up that campaign talk with real action. His energy plan, which appeared on just minutes after President Obama stepped down, promises to eliminate regulations that have been "harmful" for coal and other energy industries.For instance, observers believe Trump could swiftly issue an executive order lifting the Obama administration's moratorium on coal leasing of federal lands.Despite Trump's best intentions and regulation-busting actions, experts don't believe they will be enough to save coal.That's because coal has a fierce competitor in the form of natural gas. It's cheap, it's clean and there's a ton of it in the U.S. Plus, Trump himself supports expanded drilling of U.S. shale, the chief source of the boom in natural gas."The coal jobs aren't coming back," said James Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at West Virginia University College of Law.

Wyoming proposal would require utilities to use fossil fuels

The Washington Post | Posted on January 26, 2017

A group of Wyoming lawmakers is bucking the U.S. trend of supporting renewable energy with a plan to do the opposite: Fine utilities if they provide energy produced by wind or the sun. Blustery Wyoming ranks among the top states for wind-energy potential, but the coal, oil and natural gas industries are the backbone of the state’s economy. With a $360 million budget shortfall in public education caused by downturns in those industries and corresponding state revenue declines, legislators are hard-pressed for solutions. Renewable energy, some say, has been overly promoted and subsidized by government at the expense of the fossil fuel industry. “I want the electricity at my house generated by coal, because that’s the cheapest way to go,” said Rep. David Miller, a Republican, of the fossil-fuel requirement he’s co-sponsoring with eight others. The measure makes for an increasingly complicated relationship between Wyoming and renewable energy, even as roads are built for the biggest land-based wind project in the U.S. The Chokecherry and Sierra Madre project in south-central Wyoming will have 1,000 turbines and be able to generate electricity for close to 1 million homes in a state with just 584,000 people.

Belgium horsemeat call after drug found in Brazilian imports

Global Meat News | Posted on January 22, 2017

A discovery of Brazilian horsemeat laced with naproxen in Belgium has sparked calls for tough controls over EU imports of horsemeat.