Archive for August 2015

Where The World’s First Entirely Solar-Powered Airport Has Been Unveiled

Over the next 25 years, the new power system is expected to save 300,000 tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of planting three million trees

Cochin International Airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala becamethe world’s first entirely solar-powered airport on Tuesday, unveiling a new system that will make the airport “absolutely power neutral,” according to a statement released by the parent company.

The airport’s solar power plant, which is comprised of more than 46,000 solar panels arrayed across 45 acres of land, will produce 48,000 units of energy per day, the Economic Times reports.

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Analysis: Pacific states get leeway in CO2 rule

Portland, 4 August (Argus) — California, Oregon and Washington could face a relatively easy path to compliance with new federal rules for CO2 emissions from the power sector.

The three states could end up over-complying with their targets under the federal Clean Power Plan, potentially giving their leaders leverage in trying to convince inland neighbors to create a regional compliance plan for the regulations.

All three Pacific coast governors praised the final rule issued yesterday and said they would quickly begin work on figuring out how to comply. If the three joined a common trading program and kept their emissions in line with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) projections for 2020, they would run a surplus of about 67mn short tons of CO2 by 2030, based on the tonnage targets the agency assigned each state. EPA also assigned CO2 rate targets for states to meet from 2022-2030, allowing the states to choose between the two.

That stands in stark contrast to the inland portions of the 11-state western grid. The other eight states plus tribal areas would need to cut a cumulative 336.1mn st of CO2 from 2022-30. If the states banded together for a regional compliance plan, the surpluses run by the coastal states could help ease the shortfalls in the other states.

The western US electric grid is characterized by inland power plants serving electric demand in the coastal states. Some of the highest-emitting units along the Rocky Mountains are partially owned or have power purchase agreements with electric utilities in California, Oregon and Washington.

California’s economy-wide cap-and-trade program will complicate efforts to create a regional or national market under the Clean Power Plan. The state would likely have to separate its power sector from the current cap-and-trade program. The state is committed to its economy-wide program and has been working to find more trading partners after linking with Quebec.

The state will need to cut power sector emissions by about 35mn st from 2022-2030 under the Clean Power Plan, but should be well-positioned to comply because of its existing trading program and a host of related policies. The state legislature is poised to approve raising the state’s renewable energy mandate to 50pc by 2030 and set more aggressive energy efficiency targets. Those policies would allow the state to exceed its federal obligations.

Oregon and Washington benefited from significant changes to how EPA calculated their 2012 baselines, leading to significantly higher 2030 targets than in the proposed rule. The targets are also higher than the states’ projected emissions for 2020. But direct comparisons between the proposed and final targets are difficult because of changes in EPA’s methodology.

EPA adjusted Washington state’s baseline for coal and gas generation and emissions by 207pc to account for 2012 being an unusually wet year, with a warm winter that led to significantly lower demand for fossil fuel-fired generation. EPA raised Oregon’s baseline by 118pc. The states have some of the cleanest power sectors in the US because of an abundance of hydropower. Idaho and Montana received similar adjustments as well.

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Republicans resume efforts to stop CO2 rules

Washington, 4 August (Argus) — Congressional Republicans are vowing to block new CO2 regulations for power plants, but their efforts face long odds given the high vote tally needed to overcome a presidential veto.

As the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized its Clean Power Plan yesterday, Republican leaders were promising to resume their efforts to prevent the regulations from ever taking effect, or at least to delay them for several years.

The US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee tomorrow will take up legislation to extend the Clean Power Plan’s compliance deadlines until after the courts have a chance to review the program. The bill by senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-West Virginia) would also give governors the authority to opt-out of the Clean Power Plan if they determine that complying would harm their state’s ratepayers or over grid reliability concerns alone. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in May.

“Now that this rule is finalized, the need for congressional action is even more apparent,” Capito said.

But these efforts face high hurdles. The Republican-controlled House can easily pass any legislation with little or no Democratic support. But Republicans, who hold 54 seats in the Senate, would need to win significant backing from across the aisle to clear the 60 votes needed to avoid a filibuster or the 67 votes to override a certain veto from President Barack Obama. At least three Democrats, senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, have expressed varying degrees of opposition to the regulations over the past year. Manchin is the lone Democratic co-sponsor of the Capito bill.

If enacted, either bill could push back compliance by three or more years as the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over challenges to EPA regulations, and then possibly the US Supreme Court, review the regulations. More than a dozen states have already said they intend to file suits in the DC Circuit. Those suits would likely be filed once the Clean Power Plan is published in the Federal Register.

The plan requires states to meet CO2 emissions targets by 2030, with reductions to start in 2022. States must submit final compliance plans to EPA by September 2018, with initial plans due in September 2016.

The Capito legislation is just one option available to congressional opponents of the regulations. Republicans have also included restrictions in fiscal year 2016 spending bills that have yet to clear Congress. And the formal publication of the rules will give Republicans another legislative tool, a little-used law called the Congressional Review Act. It essentially allows Congress to veto new executive branch regulations.

But it has been successfully employed only once, despite more than 40 previous attempts under the act to block various regulations since 1996, according to the Government Accountability Office. One of those failed efforts occurred in 2010, when the Senate defeated a resolution to overturn EPA’s first steps to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

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The Clean Power Plan – how US can reduce greenhouse gas emissions without losing money

Later today at the White House, President Obama and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will officially release the final Clean Power Plan, carbon pollution guidance for the nation that is also a historic step in efforts to meet and constrain climate change. Briefly stated, it shows how the US can reduce greenhouse gas emissions without losing money.

Power plant and visible emissions (optimist.com)

Today’s release constitutes the final Clean Power Plan, which has been in the works for years. The Clean Power Plan establishes the first-ever national standards to limit atmospheric carbon pollution from power plants, the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. It follows on from other successful public health measures by reducing soot and other toxic emissions, aiming to reap continuing and increased benefits from the landmark bipartisan Clean Air Act the United States enacted over 45 years ago.

EPA received 4 million comments that public and private individuals and corporations submitted in response to the draft. The final plan reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030. In line with recent findings that point to faster and more destructive climate events than those estimated before, the final plan constitutes a full 9% more reductions than the proposal.

States, cities, companies, and individuals have already begun to move to cleaner sources of energy. So far, these state efforts have given the CPP a good head start:

  • All 50 states have demand-side energy efficiency programs.
  • 37 states have renewable portfolio standards or goals.
  • 10 states have already implemented market-based greenhouse gas reduction programs.
  • Half the nation (25 states) has energy efficiency standards or goals in place.

More details about state actions under the final Clean Power Plan:

  • CPP lets states choose how to meet carbon standards.
  • CPP provides states more time and stronger incentives to deploy clean energy immediately
  • CPP sets state targets fairly and in a way that directly includes input from states, utilities, business, other stakeholders, and the public.

In addition, the plan has gained strength from the facts that solar electricity generation has increased more than 20-fold in the past seven years, and electricity from wind has more than tripled.

The White House characterizes today’s final plan as “a fair, flexible program that will strengthen the fast-growing trend toward cleaner and lower-polluting American energy.” It ensures long-term clean energy investment, continued reliability of electric infrastructure, affordable and clean energy for all Americans, and climate action that places the United States among important world leaders.

It does not stop at merely stating principles. The measure also includes a proposed federal implementation plan. From the White House news release:

“We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged. The effects of climate change are already being felt across the nation. In the past three decades, the percentage of Americans with asthma has more than doubled, and climate change is putting those Americans at greater risk of landing in the hospital. Extreme weather events – from more severe droughts and wildfires in the West to record heat waves – and sea level rise are hitting communities across the country…. The most vulnerable among us–including children, older adults, people with heart or lung disease, and people living in poverty – are most at risk from the impacts of climate change. Taking action now is critical.”

Stay with CleanTechnica for more about the Clean Power Plan, including exclusive in-depth interviews, technical detail, analysis, and further developments over the next days and weeks to come.

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