U.S. Emissions From Coal Drops to Four-Year Low Amid Changing Power Mix: EIA

Carbon emissions from coal are expected to fall by 169 million metric tons in 2019, the largest decline since 2015, due largely to changes in the electricity mix with natural gas becoming the dominant power generation fuel, according to a July 15 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. U.S. energy-related emissions are projected to…

California Lawmakers Rush $21 Billion Wildfire Liability Bill to Save Embattled Utilities

Lawmakers in California quickly approved legislation providing investor-owned utilities with $21 billion to help them pay for wildfire damages linked to their transmission equipment. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill on July 12. The bill gives companies two options. One is a $10.5 billion state-backed line of credit to pay for wildfire damages that…

Maine Enacts Legislation for 80 Percent Emission Cuts, 100 Percent Renewables by 2050

Democratic Governor Janet Mills signed a measure on June 26 establishing a climate council tasked with developing an action plan to achieve emissions reductions of 45 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. Mills also signed a bill that strengthens the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 80 by 2030 and…

U.S. Renewable Electricty Generation Surpasses Coal for the First Time: EIA

In April 2019, U.S. monthly electricity generation from renewable sources exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time based on data in EIA’s Electric Power Monthly. Renewables, which include utility-scale hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, provided 23 percent of the total electricity generation while coal provided 20. According to the agency, the milestone was helped by…

Duke Indiana Plans for 1.6 Gigawatts of Solar While Shutting Down 4 Gigawatts of Coal

Duke Energy Indiana LLC issued a proposal for its 2018 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calling for 2,840 megawatts of new natural gas capacity, 700 megawatts of wind and 1,650 megawatts of solar power, while accelerating the retirement of over 4 gigawatts of coal generation capacity over the next 7 to 19 years, according to a June…

Illinois Regulators Force NRG Subsidiary to Retire 2 Gigawatts of Coal Following Stricter Pollution Controls

The Illinois Pollution Control Board issued an amended decision directing Vistra Energy to retire 2 gigawatts of coal generation by the end of the year to comply with new emission caps, according to a June 20 order. Democratic Governor Jay Pritzker’s administration made changes to the Multi-Pollutant Standard or MPS, the state’s signature air pollution regulation,…

EPA Finalizes Rollback of Obama-Era Power Plant Emission Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 19 finalized its long-awaited carbon emission rules for the nation’s power sector, replacing more stringent Obama-era restrictions. The agency described the “Affordable Clean Energy Rule” as an effort to provide existing coal power plants with “achievable and realistic standards” to cut emissions. The rule allows states the flexibility to…

Progressive Cap-and-Trade Climate Policy Moves Closer to Final Vote in Oregon

Legislation creating an ambitious cap-and-trade program in Oregon cleared a key committee on June 12 and is scheduled for a House vote on Monday. If passed, the bill would make Oregon the second state after California to adopt the market-based approach to slashing greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change. Democrats currently hold a trifecta in…

Maine’s Green New Deal Passes With a Focus on Workforce Training and Small Scale Solar

The Maine legislature has passed a bill on June 11 which was set to mandate an 80 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2040, but the goal was removed to focus instead on workforce initiatives and solar installations in schools. The final version of the bill, which was introduced by Democratic Representative Chloe Maxmin, centers instead on workforce…

New Jersey Unveils Draft Plan for 100 Percent Clean Energy by 2050

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has released the draft version of the 2019 Energy Master Plan, which provides a blueprint made up of seven strategies for achieving the state’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emission by at least 80 percent compared to 2006 levels,…

Court Rejects Challenge to Tennessee Gas Pipeline Project, Expresses Misgivings Over FERC’s Environmental Review Efforts

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June 4 dismissed a lawsuit challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s consideration of greenhouse gas emissions in approving Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. LLC’s $400 million Broad Run Expansion Project. The court ruled that the petitioners did not provide sufficient evidence to support their…

California Wildfire Commission Recommends Liability Reform to Save Utilities, Protect Ratepayers

The Commission on Catastrophic Wildfire Cost and Recovery published a draft report on May 29 with recommendations on equitable distribution of costs among affected parties of the catastrophic California wildfires. According to the report, the trend of growing fire activity related to increasing global temperatures coupled with population incursions into high fire risk areas means that…