NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, June 2: EPA UNVEILS NEW EMISSIONS STANDARD; THE LOW COSTS AND BIG BENEFITS OF RENEWABLES STANDARDS; SILICON OVERSUPPLY, LOW SOLAR PRICES

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    Monday, June 02, 2014

    QUICK NEWS, June 2: EPA UNVEILS NEW EMISSIONS STANDARD; THE LOW COSTS AND BIG BENEFITS OF RENEWABLES STANDARDS; SILICON OVERSUPPLY, LOW SOLAR PRICES

    EPA UNVEILS NEW EMISSIONS STANDARD EPA to propose cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants 30% by 2030

    Juliet Eilperin and Steve Mufson, June 2, 2014 (Washington Post)

    “…[The Environmental Protection Agency regulation] would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels…Under the draft rule, the EPA would analyze four options that states and utilities would have to meet the new standard, with different approaches to energy efficiency, shifting from coal to natural gas, investing in renewable energy and making power plant upgrades…Other compliance methods could include offering discounts to encourage consumers to shift electricity use to off-peak hours…

    “…The rule represents one of the most significant steps the federal government has ever taken to curb the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions…[and] is sure to spark a major political and legal battle…[E]nvironmental and public health activists have been pressing Obama to use his executive authority to impose carbon limits on the power sector, which accounts for 38 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. Opponents, including coal producers, some utilities and many Republicans, argue that the EPA is using a novel legal approach to demand stringent greenhouse gas cuts that are not achievable given current technology…” click here for more

    THE LOW COSTS AND BIG BENEFITS OF RENEWABLES STANDARDS A Survey of State-Level Cost and Benefit Estimates of Renewable Portfolio Standards

    May 30, 2014 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    “Renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies are in place in more than half of all U.S. states and have played a critical role in driving renewable energy deployment over the past decade. In many states, however, fierce debates have recently arisen regarding the cost of RPS policies…Among the 24 states for which the requisite data were available, estimated RPS compliance costs over the 2010-2012 period were equivalent to, on average, roughly 1% of retail electricity rates, though substantial variation exists…[A]verage RPS compliance costs during 2010-2012 ranged from -$4/MWh (i.e., a net savings) to $44/MWh across states…Utilities in eight states assess surcharges on customer bills to recoup RPS compliance costs, which in 2012, ranged from about $0.50/month to $4.00/month for average residential customers…Cost containment mechanisms incorporated into current RPS policies will limit future compliance costs, in the worst case, to no more than 5% of average retail rates in many states and to 10% or less in most others…” click here for more

    SILICON OVERSUPPLY, LOW SOLAR PRICES Polysilicon Prices Up for Now, but New Low Cost Plants May Reverse the Trend

    Charles Annis, May 16, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “Driven mainly by expectations of strong end-market demand growth this year, polysilicon spot prices increased significantly in Q1’14, up 15% Q/Q and 28% Y/Y. In Q2’14, spot prices are expected to remain relatively flat – or to decline moderately – as more polysilicon makers ramp-up production, in an effort to take advantage of the current price environment…[P]olysilicon makers are feeling more confident that they can build new, highly efficient plants that may be able to produce low cost polysilicon and enable satisfactory returns…Despite all the turmoil in the PV industry over the past couple of years (including the dramatic drop in polysilicon prices), NPD Solarbuzz is now forecasting that more than 260,000MT of new polysilicon capacity is likely to be added through 2018…The polysilicon industry is again in danger of perpetuating a state of chronic excessive capacity for several more years and once more pushing prices lower…” click here for more

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