U.S. EPA Proposes to Weaken Regulations on Coal Ash, Wastewater From Power Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Nov. 4 issued two proposals that would ease the Obama administration’s 2015 regulations governing the disposal of coal ash, a toxic product of coal combustion, and wastewater management from steam electric power plants. The first proposal sets a new date of Aug. 31, 2020 for facilities to begin closure…

Trump Administration Initiates Process to Exit Paris Climate Accord

The Trump administration has submitted a formal notification to the United Nations to withdraw the U.S from the Paris agreement on climate change, according to a Nov. 4 announcement from the State Department. The move initiates a one-year process to leave the 2015 pact that the U.S. joined during the Obama administration, committing to achieve…

California Report Shows Utilities on Track to Meet Renewable Energy Goals

The California Public Utilities Commission issued its annual Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) report showing that the program is on track and is helping to drive down renewable contract prices and increasing in-state procurement, according to a Nov. 1 press release. As of 2019, the state’s large investor-owned utilities have executed renewable electricity contracts necessary to…

ISO New England Leans on $1.3 Billion Transmission Upgrades to Tackle Growing Energy Constraints

ISO New England has issued its 10-year power system strategy for the region laying the foundation for long-term power system planning in New England, according to an Oct. 31 filing. The report details power system needs through 2028, and how these can be addressed, discussing three key issues currently affecting the New England grid, namely…

Virginia Regulator Approves New Rates for Dominion Customers to Purchase Renewable Energy Certificates

The Virginia State Corporation Commission on Oct. 31 approved Virginia Electric and Power Company’s rate option that allows customers to voluntarily buy renewable energy certificates, or RECs, sourced from a broad range of generation facilities to match all or a portion of their usage. The company proposed to offer the new rate, called “Rider REC,”…

ExxonMobil Granted Lease of U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve Facility

The U.S. Energy Department awarded a 20-year contract to ExxonMobil Pipeline Company to operate the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s two-million-barrel capacity St. James marine terminal and Bayou Choctaw 36-Inch Pipeline, according to an Oct. 28 news release. The new lease, effective Jan. 1, 2020, ends Shell Pipeline Company LP’s 22-year control of the facilities. The St.…

Virginia Signs Largest State Renewable Energy Contract to Buy 420 Megawatts of Solar, Wind

Democratic Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia entered into a contract with Dominion Energy Inc. to buy 420 megawatts of renewable energy to power state government facilities, according to an Oct. 18 news release. The agreement, which includes four new solar projects and Virginia’s first onshore wind facility, will ensure that state agencies and institutions…

Trump Administration Challenges California’s Cap-and-Trade Pact With Quebec, Citing Intrusion into Federal Sphere

The U.S. Department of Justice on Oct. 23 filed a lawsuit against California for unlawfully entering into a cap-and-trade agreement with the Canadian Province of Quebec in 2013. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, claims that the agreement interferes with foreign policy and the federal government’s full and…

New Jersey Ratepayer Advocate Cautions About Double Payments Under Nuclear Subsidy Due to Carbon Market Entry, Wholesale Market Reforms

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities must take a hard look at the ratepayer impact of nuclear subsidies as the state’s reentry into the regional carbon market and pending wholesale market initiatives will likely increase revenue for the nuclear units receiving zero emission credits, or ZECs, according to the Division of Rate Counsel. Those…

New York Finalizes Largest Offshore Wind Deal for 1.7 Gigawatts

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority executed 25-year contracts with Equinor Wind US LLC and Sunrise Wind LLC for nearly 1.7 gigawatts of offshore wind at an average all-in development cost of $83.36 per megawatt-hour in 2018 prices, according to an Oct. 23 announcement. The agency also released a report on the…

New York Adopts ‘Pay-as-You-Go’ for Retailers Under Nuclear Subsidy Program

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and the Department of Public Service on Oct. 21 released a final plan revising the method used to calculate load-serving entities’ payment obligations under the zero emission credit, or ZEC, program that compensates nuclear plants for carbon-free electricity production. The plan establishes a flexible, “pay-as-you-go” model…