U.S. Supreme Court Elevates Greenhouse Gas Regulation Debate

For the third time since 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) under the Clean Air Act. Overview On February 24, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments over the case Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on whether EPA is ultimately legitimized...

YieldCo Market Unfolds While Waiting for Congressional Action on MLPs

Alternative power producers continue to turn to the YieldCo model to find lower costs of capital and residual value. Investors benefit from low risk exposure to renewable energy development, high yield and more favorable tax rates, however, risks do exist. Since January 1, 2014, two new YieldCos have been announced, SunEdison and Hannon Armstrong Sustainable...

California’s Sixth Carbon Auction Results Released

California’s sixth carbon allowance auction sold all current 2014 and advanced 2017 allowances indicating cap-and-trade program stability. On February 24, 2014, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released the results of its sixth quarterly carbon allowance auction held on February 19.  CARB offered 19,538,695 allowances under Current Auction (2014 vintage allowances) and 9,260,000 allowances under...

Critical Minerals Legislation Addresses Domestic Rare Earth Production Constraints

On January 28, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing to receive testimony on S. 1600, the Critical Minerals Policy Act of 2013. This Act that would enable domestic production of critical minerals necessary in the manufacturing of many clean energy technologies. Overview Critical minerals play and important role in...

Heavy-Duty Vehicle Program Extended Beyond Model Year 2018

President Obama has directed EPA and DOT to develop fuel efficiency and emissions standards for medium- and heavy duty vehicles beyond model year 2018. On February 18, 2014, President Barack Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop the next phase of...

CARB Releases First Proposed Update to AB 32 Scoping Plan

The California Air Resources Board’s proposed AB 32 Scoping Plan update calls for a mid-term emissions reduction target and recommends sector-specific actions. On February 10, 2014, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) released its Proposed First Update to the AB 32 Scoping Plan, outlining priorities and recommendations to achieve the state’s long-term climate goal of...

2013 EPA Enforcements Yield $5.6B

EPA’s 2013 enforcement results show violators paid more than $5.6B in fines, civil penalties, restitution, and environmental projects. On February 7, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its FY 2013 enforcement and compliance report detailing results of EPA civil and criminal enforcement programs and estimated environmental benefits.  The results highlight that violators paid more...

New Energy Efficiency Finance Mechanisms Expand Market Opportunities

On January 21, Kilowatt Financial announced $100 million debt facility with Citi to support residential energy efficiency upgrades. One day later, Joule Assets announced a $100 million fund to aggregate energy efficiency and demand response projects for private equity investors. Overview Although creative energy efficiency financing has existed for decades, new mechanisms are emerging to...

Innovative Climate Hubs Address Agriculture Industry Climate Impacts

USDA’s Climate Hubs will establish regional climate science networks to strengthen agriculture and forestry response to climate risks. On February 5, 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the launch of seven Regional Hubs for Risk Adaptation and Mitigation to Climate Change to strengthen agriculture and forestry response to climate impacts.  The measure is...

RPS Carve-Outs are Expanding Solar Markets in Multiple States

Solar carve-outs have been implemented as part of the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) in 14 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, helping to support the expansion of solar energy projects throughout the nation. All of these states are on track to meet their long-term compliance goals, and all show increasing percentages of annual RPS...