Energy

Renewable Energy on the Lower Mississippi

From Missouri to Louisiana to Alabama, fundamental similarities but individual differences.

The states in the lower Mississippi basin have a lot in common. From Missouri down to Louisiana and Alabama, they all voted for Trump. These states – Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee – were all part of the Confederacy. (I’m stretching geography a bit by including Alabama, since only the top of the state […]

Continue Reading

Pennsylvania’s Backward Energy Policy

PA’s policies look more like the upper South than the mid-Atlantic.

Pennsylvania has a fairly pitiful profile in terms of renewable energy. As of 2015, it got about 4% of its power from renewables, and only about half of that from wind and solar. Nearly all of the remainder was from nuclear (37%), coal (30%) and gas (28%). Perhaps not coincidentally, the state was the nation’s […]

Continue Reading

What’s Ahead in 2018? The Top Five Things to Watch For.

2018 will be a big year for environmental law, either for good or for bad.

2016 was a huge year in environmental law, with big achievements like the Paris Agreement and huge disappointments like the presidential election.  By contrast, 2017 was pretty predictable: Trump did just what he promised during the campaign.  The year ahead of us will have some big events to watch out for.  Here are my nominations […]

Continue Reading

The Off-Switch is Inside the Fenceline

Pruitt’s argument for repealing the Clean Power Plan has a logical flaw.

The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan would require utilities to improve efficiency at coal-fired power plants and reduce the use of those plants in favor of generators using natural gas or renewables. Head of EPA Scott Pruitt claims EPA can only require CO2 cuts that can be accomplished by utilities “inside the fenceline” of a […]

Continue Reading

Final Republican Tax Bill Minimizes Damage To Renewables, Electric Vehicles & Affordable Housing

But the bill is still bad for the environment

Republicans from the House and Senate voted yesterday to approve their conference tax bill. Due to intense lobbying efforts, negotiators in the committee reduced some of the harm I described that the previous versions of the bill would have done to renewable energy, electric vehicles, and affordable housing. As Brad Plumer in the New York […]

Continue Reading

California Doubles Down on Its Commitment to Reduce State Greenhouse Gas Emissions

California Air Resources Board Adopts New, Landmark Climate Change Scoping Plan

California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted a new 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan, which is designed to extend and expand upon the state’s longstanding commitment to reduce California’s aggregate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  This is a landmark achievement, one that moves California further down the road to a sustainable environment and economy. A bit […]

Continue Reading

Republican Tax Bill Would Devastate Renewable Energy & Affordable Housing

Proposed tax code changes would destroy the market for tax credit financing

Donald Trump’s electoral college win a year ago certainly promised a lot of setbacks for the environmental movement. True to form, his administration’s attempts this year to roll back environmental protections, under-staff key agencies enforcing our environmental laws, and prop up dirty energy industries have all taken their toll. However, until the tax bill passed […]

Continue Reading

Climate and Energy on the East Coast

Renewable energy and climate action are big issues in NY and NJ.

New York and New Jersey are at the core of what people think about in terms of the “Northeast.”  Both are very active in promoting renewable energy — New Jersey despite Governor Chris Christie, New York in part because of Governor Cuomo. New York in particular seems ready to position itself as the East Coast […]

Continue Reading

Rick Perry, PJM, and the Polar Vortex

Michael Wara posted previously about Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear. In its current incarnation, the proposal is aimed purely at ISOs and RTOs that operate capacity markets, which largely means a single entity, PJM. Why the focus on PJM? Oh, I guess I had better explain. OK, to start with, what did […]

Continue Reading

The Federal Government Has *Always* Shaped the Energy System

Obama was criticized for intruding the federal government into energy policy. But that’s nothing new.

To hear some of the debate, you’d think that the Obama Administration breached some longstanding barrier that left energy policy to the states and the market. If there ever was such a barrier, it disappeared over a century ago, with the onset of World War I.  Ever since then, the federal government has been actively […]

Continue Reading