Record RGGI Carbon Auction Price Reflects Increasing Market Confidence

Key Takeaways: The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s (RGGI) latest auction sold allowances at a record high price of $7.50 each, reflecting sound market operation Rising allowance prices signify the potential for developing carbon offset projects to meet RGGI emissions reduction requirements RGGI’s power sector-focused program is increasingly recognized for its compatibility with the Environmental Protection...

Utilities And Grid Operators Seek Clean Power Plan Compliance Despite Litigation

Key Takeaways: The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) has received support from 18 states and the District of Columbia, as well as multiple corporate associations, in recent motions to intervene State air quality regulators are devising their own strategies to avoid subjugation to a federal plan, which could be inconsistent with state abilities...

Legal Challenges To Clean Power Plan Create Uncertainties For Utilities

Key Takeaways: Litigation over the merits of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) rulemaking will affect compliance timelines for state implementation plans Uncertainty over the timeline and outcome of litigation will burden utilities to begin preparations for state plans before the 2016 deadline The potential for the CPP to be wholly or partially...

New Ozone Rule Could Cost Oil and Gas Millions in Compliance Costs

Key Takeaways: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will strengthen the requirements for ground-level ozone under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards States and local areas would strengthen emissions control for stationary and mobile sources to ensure their plans receive EPA’s approval Stronger ozone standards will increase the burden on sources of ozone precursors, including the...

EPA Proposes Mandatory Methane Reduction Despite Declining Emissions

Key Takeaways: The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector would impose millions of dollars in annualized regulatory burdens despite substantial methane reductions driven by current market incentives The proposed regulations would add to the existing burden on oil and gas companies, which are currently suffering from low...

Final Clean Power Plan Sets Tougher Emissions Reduction Goals Under Extended Timeframes

Key Takeaways: The final Clean Power Plan relies on switching to natural gas and renewable energy generation to meet compliance obligations States have multiple options and broad discretion to meet compliance obligations through generation from nuclear and renewables, including wind, solar, hydro, and biomass New and incremental nuclear generation will be valued for both mass‐based...

MATS Impacted by Supreme Court Decision, but Likely to Survive

Key Takeaways: The Mercury and Air Toxics (MATS) rule represented one of the most significant air pollution regulations in U.S. history when it was announced in 2011 The Supreme Court rejected the rule, ruling that the EPA should have considered costs initially when assessing whether the rule was “appropriate and necessary” The specific nature of...

New York Set to Revive Renewable Energy Industry

Key Takeaways: The Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative seeks a fundamental restructuring of New York’s centralized utility model in response to technology advancements and customer trends that favor decentralized power generation The 2015 New York State Energy Plan provides a roadmap to implement the REV strategy through increased renewable generation, energy efficiency, and emissions...

EPA Announces New Emissions Standards for Trucks and Trailers

Key Takeaways: The 2013 Climate Action Plan called for new standards to advance fuel economy and emissions reductions in the transportation sector Proposed Phase 2 standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles aim to achieve 24 percent improvement in fuel efficiency by 2027 The new standards will spur advancements in trucking technology, resulting in substantial costs...

FERC Approves Reforms to PJM Capacity Market

Key Takeaways: PJM’s forced generation capacity outages in the 2013/2014 winter, along with long-term distributed generation trend, prompted PJM to propose capacity market reforms to ensure system reliability After requesting additional information in April, FERC approved PJM’s approval, allowing for inclusion in August Forward Capacity Auction Capacity Performance will impose stringent operational requirements and non-performance...

DOI Approves First Solar Projects Under Expedited Review Process

Key Takeaways: Solar energy still only accounts for around 1% of total U.S. power generation but costs have fallen dramatically The BLM approved the first utility-scale solar development projects under the Western Power Plan By reducing non-hardware costs of solar energy, the BLM’s initiatives will soften the impact of Investment Tax Credit expiration Insight for...

DOE Expands Energy Efficiency Program to Supplement EPA Regulations

Key Takeaways: Enhancing energy efficiency is seen as a vital component of U.S. effort to reduce emissions and combat climate change A lack of access to information and financing are seen as critical obstacles to increasing energy efficiency of buildings Seven Accelerators have been announced within the Better Buildings program in order to enhance energy...