Renewable Energy Update -- July 2014

Renewable Energy Focus

Supreme Court upholds EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gas

Allen Matkins - Jun 24

On Monday, June 23, in a long-awaited decision, the U.S. Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency partially invalidated and partially upheld U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") regulations of greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources. By a narrow 5-4 majority, the Court, in an opinion authored by Justice Antonin Scalia, struck down EPA's effort to require a source to obtain a Clean Air Act permit solely because of its potential to emit greenhouse gases. In the same decision, however, a larger 7-2 majority of the Justices upheld EPA's regulations to the extent they require a category of sources -- those that must obtain a Clean Air Act permit anyway on account of their emissions of other regulated air pollutants -- to take steps to control their greenhouse gas emissions as well.

California wind farm not responsible if eagles fly into blades, feds say

CNN - Jun 26

A California wind farm is on track to get the first-ever permit allowing it to avoid prosecution and penalties in the event of eagle deaths from farm operations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it expects to grant a permit to the Shiloh IV Wind Project, a 3,500-acre wind farm near Rio Vista, California, within 30 days that would allow for the deaths of five golden or bald eagles over a five-year period without the wind farm's operators being penalized.

California bill approved in Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee to advance geothermal energy

Renewable Energy World - Jun 27

On June 23, the California Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce approved SB 1139 by an 8-5 vote, and the bill now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The bill requires energy retailers to procure a combined 500 megawatts of geothermal power by 2024.

California continuously setting new solar power records

Clean Technica - Jun 27

On June 1, 2014, the California Independent System Operator measured a record mid-day hourly peak of 4,767 megawatts of alternating current of utility-generated solar electricity delivered into the California grid. In 2013, 2,145 megawatts of utility-scale solar capacity entered service in California, of which more than 500 megawatts came from large-scale solar thermal plants. California accounted for more than 75 percent of the nation's utility-scale solar capacity installed in 2013.

Bay Area clean energy advocates celebrate partial defeat of state bill

Times-Herald - Jun 24

Heeding the complaints of environmentalists and Bay Area officials, state senators have stripped away provisions of a bill that could have derailed Alameda County's attempts at forming a startup public energy utility. The East Bay county hopes to compete with PG&E by forming its own agency that can buy electricity and sell it to residents, choose green energy sources, and set its own billing rates. But advocates say Assembly Bill 2145 — in its earlier, PG&E-backed form — would have halted that plan and others in the works around the state.

California set to extend ‘critical’ distributed storage funding

PV Tech - Jun 20

Governor Brown is expected imminently to sign off new legislation extending a funding program said to be a vital lifeline for the state’s nascent energy storage sector. Bill AB1466, approved last week by California’s senate and assembly, will enable the "Self-Generation Incentive Program," an $83 million-a-year initiative supporting distributed energy projects in the state due to expire next year, to run until at least 2019.

L.A. faces choice on regulating solar cells, open land

Los Angeles Times - Jul 4

Worried that solar farms could overtake prized patches of open space, a Los Angeles councilman is asking the Department of Water and Power board to put off allowing new arrays that are mounted on the ground — part of its Feed-in Tariff program — until the city can ensure they mesh with neighborhoods. In a letter to the board, Councilman Felipe Fuentes argued that the city should craft a "planning review process" that would allow for community reaction before any more such projects are approved.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Fed agency approves controversial power storage project near Joshua Tree

KCET - Jun 20

A federal agency has given the go-ahead to a power storage project adjacent to Joshua Tree National Park that opponents say could seriously harm both the park's wildlife and local groundwater. The Eagle Mountain Pumped Storage Project, proposed for the old Kaiser Eagle Mountain mine in Riverside County's Chuckwalla Valley, would store and release surplus electrical power by pumping water between two reservoirs.

Solar facility that could power 500 Marin homes up for approval

Marin Independent Journal - Jun 21

A proposed solar facility just outside Novato that could generate enough electricity to power more than 500 Marin homes is up for approval by the Marin Planning Commission. Located on the isolated grounds of a former rock quarry, the $6 million solar farm would generate 1.98 megawatts of electricity, delivered to Marin Clean Energy via nearby power lines.

California investing millions to build hundreds of EV charging stations

Earth Techling - Jun 20

The California Energy Commission approved funding for cutting-edge clean energy projects at its monthly business meeting in June, including money for hundreds of electric vehicle charging stations, an innovative natural gas fuel tank, and emerging but proven technologies that are ready for the marketplace. The Energy Commission approved 15 grants totaling more than $5 million to install 475 electric vehicle chargers in communities throughout California.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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