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Renewable Energy

Bi-partisan Group Seeks Probe Into RIN Market Manipulation

October 31, 2013 2:53 PM | Posted by Bruce Pasfield | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy, Clean Tech, GHG / Climate Change

A bi-partisan group of House members sent a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) asking for an investigation into the alleged manipulation of the market for ethanol credits. The group of Representatives, all from the Midwest, said in their letter that price volatility in the market over the last year could be due to trading outside normal supply-and demand forces. Renewable identification numbers (RINS) are used to identify the credits and were created to be traded in the fuel supply chain and not in financial markets. The prices per credit fluctuated over the year from a few cents upwards to a high of $1.45 and back down to 30 cents. The oil industry and ethanol producers have different opinions on what has caused the price volatility. Sens. Grassley (R-IA) and Stabenow (D-MI) sent letters to the EPA and the CFTC respectively in September in regards to the manipulation of the RIN market. When the senators wrote their letters the RIN prices were around 70 cents. The lawmakers believe the CFTC and the EPA need to coordinate efforts to properly monitor the RIN market.

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House Committee Schedules Climate Hearing

The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, September 18 at 10:00am. The hearing will examine the Obama administration’s climate change policies and activities. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY), chairman of the subcommittee, sent a letter to members of the EPA, the Department of Energy, the Department of Defense, the State Department and other agencies asking officials to testify at the hearing. Issues that will likely be covered include: EPA’s greenhouse gas limits for newly constructed power plants, the Keystone XL pipeline, renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and the administration’s revised calculation of the “social cost of carbon.” As of last week, only the Department of Defense responded to Rep. Whitfield’s request identifying a witness for the hearing.

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Next EPA Administrator Nominated

March 27, 2013 2:55 PM | Posted by Greissing, Patrick | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy, GHG / Climate Change

Gina McCarthy, the current head of EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, has been nominated by President Obama to become the next EPA Administrator. McCarthy’s main background is in air enforcement and climate change issues. President Obama said she would help promote renewable energy programs, which she has experience doing from her days as an environmental official in Massachusetts. She helped develop recent mercury and soot emission power plant rules. One of the more important aspects of her nomination is her relationship with industry, which will likely help her during the nomination process.

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EPA Considering Safe Harbor for Renewable Biofuel Purchasers

August 27, 2012 4:39 PM | Posted by max.williamson@alston.com | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy, Clean Tech, Legislative & Public Policy (State, Local, Federal, Int'l)

In the wake of a recent spate of RIN fraud cases involving a reported 140 million invalid RIN (renewable identification number) credits, EPA is considering revisions to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) program that would provide greater clarity for obligated parties (oil companies that refine and import gasoline and diesel). Although EPA has taken aggressive enforcement action against fraudulent RIN producers, EPA's current "buyer beware" policy also penalizes oil companies that are victims of RIN fraud by imposing civil penalties and requiring replacement of fraudulent RINs, thus adding insult to injury.

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IPCC Says 80 Percent Renewable Energy Possible by 2050

May 11, 2011 12:35 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): International Policy/Programs, Energy Policy, Renewable Energy

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released a report that says 80 percent of the world’s energy needs could come from renewables by 2050, according to the press release. In order for this to happen, however, governments would have to spend more money and introduce a number of new policies.

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Congress Passes Tax Extension

December 17, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy, Alternative Technologies

Late last night, the House followed in the Senate’s footsteps and approved the $858B tax package that had been agreed to by President Obama and high-ranking Republicans.  The main objective of the tax package is extending income tax cuts, as well as  an extension of unemployment insurance.  Also included in the bill are tax credit extensions for the energy sector.  The legislation extends for one year a renewable energy grant program, and tax credits for energy efficiency and alternative vehicle fuels, as well as ethanol. The bill now moves to the President for his signature.   

Webb and Alexander Introduce Bill

November 17, 2009 3:44 PM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy, Carbon Capture & Storage/Sequestration

Sens. Jim Webb (D-VA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have introduced new climate change legislation as an alternative to the current cap-and-trade legislation.  The bipartisan legislation calls for funding increases for clean energy technology.  The “Clean Energy Act of 2009” would increase the DOE’s loan guarantee authority to $100 billion and provide $750 million per year for five “mini-Manhattan” projects. 

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Western Governors Reach Agreement

June 17, 2009 9:10 AM | Posted by max.zygmont@alston.com | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, State Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy

At the Western Governors Association (WGA) annual meeting, the governors signed an agreement with the Obama administration aimed at promoting renewable energy.  The group approved the Western Renewable Energy Zone- Phase 1 Report, which identifies the areas that are most promising for large-scale renewable energy development with low environmental impact.

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EPA Identifies Contaminated Sites as Possible Renewable Energy Sites

October 10, 2008 8:47 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Federal Policy/Programs, Renewable Energy

The EPA announced on September 24 that they have compiled a list of 9,500 contaminated sites that could potentially be used as renewable energy generation sites.  The EPA used data from DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Comprehensive Environment Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) to establish the list.  The EPA has generated a Google map to identify all the spots where renewable energy could be used on contaminated sites.  The EPA also has generated a state-by-state incentives chart for renewable energy.  In its announcement the EPA notes that, “appropriate steps to address the contamination at these properties will vary from site to site, depending on the nature of the contamination and intended reuse.”

To view the information regarding the EPA program visit: http://www.epa.gov/renewableenergyland/index.htm

McCain Calls For Increase In Nuclear Power

June 20, 2008 11:29 AM | Posted by Patrick Greissing | Topic(s): Renewable Energy

At a campaign event in Missouri on Wednesday, Sen. McCain announced some of his plans, if elected president, that would move the country towards energy independence.  The major focus of the speech was on nuclear energy.  McCain said, "If I am elected president, I will set this nation on a course to building 45 new reactors by the year 2030, with the ultimate goal of 100 new plants to power the homes and factories and cities of America."  He said nuclear provides the best zero carbon emission plan with long term price stability.  He also stated that he would put $2 billion a year toward a clean coal technology research and development fund.

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