Work continues on a Champaign County zoning ordinance by the Zoning Board of Appeals that would regulate solar farms. A rural Ludlow Township site is one of two that a Washington, D.C-based company hopes to turn into a community solar farm. The zoning board will determine such things as the adequate separation of the solar farm from neighboring dwellings; a road use agreement for construction, (“Although with one of these small farms, that can be waived if the highway commissioner is not necessary,” Hall said); and the noise level, something that Hall said shouldn’t be a problem with this development.
Hawaii's state capital has nearly three times as much solar PV per capita as the next leading city, San Diego, California.
An agency that leads sustainable energy efforts for cities and counties along the state’s Redwood Coast chose a consortium of companies -- including Energias de Portugal SA’s EDPR Offshore North America LLC and Principle Power Inc. -- to build a floating wind farm that may generate as much as 150 megawatts of power.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry is considering a request from utility First Energy for an emergency order to save nuclear and coal power plants in the regions where it operates. The Energy Department confirmed the request by the utility company for an emergency must-run order under section 202 of the Federal Power Act, which gives Perry the authority to direct the "temporary" continued use of power plants in circumstances that include war, energy shortages or sudden surges in demand.
A federal judge dismissed Exxon Mobil Corp.’s attempt to stop the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts from investigating its alleged fraud regarding what company officials knew about climate change and when. The country’s largest oil company argued that probes by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) violated its free speech rights and were improperly motivated by political bias, among other claims.Exxon wanted Judge Valerie Caproni in the District Court for the Southern District of New York to stop the attorneys general from issuing subpoenas or other demands for records or dispositions.But in a big loss for Exxon, Caproni, whom former President Obama nominated to the bench, said the company’s allegations were “implausible,” and dismissed its case.
Ethanol and oil are fighting over market share today, as the highway of tomorrow looks very different. “You're going to be looking at maybe less liquid fuel being used than we are today, whether it's electric vehicles coming on or fuel efficiency getting better, cars with better gas mileage,” said Troy Bredenkamp, Executive Director of Renewable Fuels Nebraska. Oil state senators like Ted Cruz say the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is broken, and he has said jobs at oil refineries are at stake.“These are blue–collar, working–class jobs, the kind that are the backbone of our economy, the kind that keep refineries going,” Cruz said in a speech on the Senate floor.But corn growers fear one proposed solution would immediately cut ethanol consumption by a billion gallons a year.“That would literally destroy the Midwest,” said Jan tenBensel, chair of the Nebraska Ethanol Board.
The Renewable Fuels Association strongly opposes the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed settlement agreement with Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) that would allow the bankrupt refiner to unjustifiably waive the vast majority of its Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), it said in comments filed today with the U.S. Department of Justice. The proposed PES settlement agreement, which covers the refiner’s RVOs for January 2016-April 2018, should be rejected “because the terms are patently unfair, unreasonable, and inconsistent with the purposes of the RFS program,” RFA wrote. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Delaware has to approve PES’ proposed settlement agreement on April 4. As numerous independent reporters have concluded, the true causes of PES’ financial woes are: rerouting of lower-cost domestic crude oil supplies to Gulf coast refineries, antiquated technology, mismanagement, and lifting of the crude oil export ban.As RFA noted, “By allowing PES to retire only 138 million RINs for its pre-effective date obligation of more than 500 RINs, DOJ and EPA have effectively waived approximately three-quarters of PES’s RVOs for this period….Exacerbating its noncompliance, PES reportedly had been also selling roughly 40 million RINs in the fall of 2017, even as the March 2018 RVO compliance deadline approached. This is a classic case of a regulated entity being allowed to have its cake and sell it, too—while PES seeks to escape from its financial responsibilities under the RFS program, it embraces that same program for the limited purpose of profiting from it,” RFA added.
Ted Cruz has a plan to fix an environmental regulation Texas oil refiners hate. Yet Cruz’s plan has not been widely embraced by the very industry he’s trying to help.Texas’ powerful oil and gas sector detests the Environmental Protection Agency’s Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates that transportation fuel contain a certain quantity of renewable fuels. Cruz’s aggressive attempts to unravel that policy — by taking his case to the White House — could offer the quickest path to changes the industry wants.Rather than work with a divided Senate, Cruz is appealing to Trump’s anti-regulatory EPA to change a small piece of the 2005 regulation, a piece most in the energy industry believe would blow up the entire policy Cruz has long sought to abolish.
Oil companies accused of raising ocean levelswon't question the existence of climate change in federal court today. Chevron Corp. is expected to take a lead role in a climate science “tutorial” at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The unusual hearing was required by Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing lawsuits filed by the cities of San Francisco and Oakland claiming that five oil giants are contributing to damages related to climate change.In the hours before the tutorial, which Alsup is using to gather historical observations about climatic conditions that can go back thousands of years, Chevron said it wouldn’t question the facts around rising temperatures. San Francisco and Oakland, along with several counties in California, are suing Chevron, BP PLC, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC for allegedly downplaying the threat of climate change. The local governments claim that the oil majors knew years ago that the emissions related to their products could cause sea-level rise and contribute to other damages.
A promising technology under development at The Ohio State University converts fossil fuels into electricity without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If the method makes it out of the lab and into the real world, it could represent a breakthrough for “clean coal.” The process — known as coal-direct chemical looping — is “the most advanced and cost-effective approach to carbon capture we have reviewed to date,” said David Kraft, a fellow with Babcock & Wilcox, a power company that’s partnered with the university. “CDCL has potential to transform the power and petrochemical industries.”