The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) a new 50-year license for the continued operation of the Upper American River Project (UARP)-- a 688 MW hydroelectric project. The UARP consists of 11 reservoirs and eight powerhouses spanning an area from the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the foothill communities of the Sacramento valley and provides about 15 percent of SMUD's customers' yearly power needs.
The Auditor General's Office has released the Special Audit of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) Performance in Monitoring Potential Impact to Water Quality from Shale Gas Development for 2009 through 2012.
June was a busy month for Greenhouse Gas (GHG) regulation. On June 2, the EPA proposed regulations-- the "Clean Power Plan" (CPP)-- to govern GHG emissions from existing Electric Generating Units (EGU). If and when promulgated, these regulations would have a far wider impact than any of the EPA's other stationary source GHG rules to date, in no small part because they would not just affect EGUs.
A shortage of inspectors, declining budgets, and a record number of wells on public lands highlight the importance of the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) budget request for a fee system to increase the agency's oil and gas inspection capacity.
New legislation would require electric utilities to obtain a minimum of 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Electric and natural gas utilities will also need to implement energy efficiency programs in order to save the equivalent of 15 percent and 10 percent of sales, respectively, by 2025.
Australia has become the first developed nation to repeal its carbon tax, which Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said was "useless and destructive [and] damaged jobs-- which hurt families' cost of living and which didn't actually help the environment." The Australian government has estimated that the repeal would save families $550 per year.
Research and consulting firm GlobalData credits U.S. President Barack Obama as the catalyst for a surging electric vehicles (EV) charging market. The U.S. EV level 2 charging stations market is forecast to jump from $67 million in 2013 to approximately $947 million by 2020, driven by President Obama's target of one million EVs on roads by 2015, according to GlobalData.
The New York State Supreme Court has made two important decisions regarding hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) in the state. The decisions by Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough dismiss two lawsuits seeking the termination of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) ongoing review of the environmental impacts related to high-volume hydrofracking.
A settlement between Minnesota Power, a utility division of Allete, Inc., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has been reached that resolves alleged violations of the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act. Minnesota Power's investments in electric generation facilities were reviewed as part of the EPA's Coal-Fired Power Plant Enforcement Initiative that began in 1999. The company has been in discussions with the EPA since 2008 to settle the matter and avoid costly litigation.
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that a power purchase agreement (PPA) between the city of Dubuque and Eagle Point Solar does not violate state law. The case brought by Iowa's regulated utilities claimed exclusive rights to sell solar to customers in their service areas.