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…

Colorado Enacts Suite of Climate, Energy Bills, Building Path Toward 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Democratic Governor Jared Polis on May 30 signed a slate of bills that will transform the state’s energy and environmental landscape, and unveiled a roadmap for the state to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2040. Among the measures, House Bill 19-1261, the centerpiece of the state’s climate policy, sets a goal of achieving emission…

U.S. EPA Removes Restrictions on Year-Round Use of Higher-Ethanol Fuels

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized regulatory changes allowing the sales of E15 gasoline, a fuel blend of gasoline and 15 percent ethanol, during summer months, according to a May 31 news release. The move expands the waivers for “Reid vapor pressure,” a measure of gasoline volatility, which currently applies to E10 blends to E15…

California Regulator Approves Utility Wildfire Plans, Proactive Power Shutoffs

The California Public Utilities Commission on May 30 approved wildfire mitigation plans for the state’s electric utilities in response to legislation enacted last year that directed electric corporations to file annual plans describing measures to prevent, combat, and respond to wildfires in their service areas. The commission also made enhancements to communication and notification guidelines…

Ohio House Clears Bill to Subsidize Nuclear, Repeal Renewable Standards

The Ohio House on May 29 passed legislation that would require electric customers to pay monthly charges from 2020 through 2026 to ultimately raise about $198 million per year, most of which would be passed on in the form of “clean air credits” to rescue FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.’s ailing nuclear plants. Simultaneously, the bill seeks…

Maryland Enacts Law Allowing Participation in Regional Program to Cut Transportation Emissions

Maryland enacted legislation on May 25 that authorizes the governor to include the state in a regional initiative that limits or reduces emissions from the transportation sector. The state is part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative, under which, a regional collaboration of nine Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington DC that are exploring ways…

Maryland Governor Allows 50 Percent Renewable Standard Despite Discontent, Unveils 100 Percent Clean Energy Plan Including Nuclear

Republican Governor Larry Hogan announced on May 22 that he is allowing the Clean Energy Jobs bill, which raises the renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030, to take effect without his signature, expressing concerns that the measure could send jobs and environmental benefits to other states. Hogan chose to allow the measure to…

California-Quebec Carbon Auction Sells Out, Allowances Clear at Record Highs Signalling Market Stability

The nineteenth quarterly carbon auction held by California and Quebec sold all of the more than 66 million carbon permits offered for current emissions at a record-high $17.45 per credit, above the floor price of $15.62, according to the results released on May 22 by the California Air Resources Board. The auction also sold 100…

Trump Administration Pushes to Resume Federal Coal Leasing With Favorable Draft Review

The Bureau of Land Management on May 22 issued a draft environmental review finding that lifting an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing would not change the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions compared to waiting for the pause to expire. The move responds to a court ruling issued last month, finding that former Interior Secretary Ryan…

Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest Plan Seeks to Add 3 Gigawatts of Solar, Phase Out Coal by 2030

Xcel Energy Inc. plans to retire its last two coal power plants in Minnesota by 2030, a decade earlier than scheduled, while extending operations of its Monticello nuclear plant until at least 2040, according to a May 20 announcement. The closures are part of the company’s integrated resource plan, which will be filed with the…

EnerKnol’s Visual Primer – States Lean on Utilities to Foster the Rise of Electric Vehicles

The unabating momentum of electric vehicle (EV) growth has prompted regulators and legislators to examine policies and standards of utilities regarding charging infrastructure. Utilities can assume a larger role in developing EV charging because of their ability to install and operate widely distributed electrical assets.