Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.


  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-This Is How To Beat Climate Change. Now Get To It.
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-China To Build World’s Biggest Solar Panel Project
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Europe’s Ocean Wind Boom
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Australia’s Huge Ocean Energy Opportunity


  • TTTA Thursday-How Climate Change Is A Health Insurance Problem
  • TTTA Thursday-World Wind Can Be A Third Of Global Power By 2030
  • TTTA Thursday-First U.S. Solar Sidewalks Installed
  • TTTA Thursday-Looking Ahead At The EV Market

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: 'The future grid' and aggregated distributed energy resources
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Renewable Portfolio Standards offer billions in benefits
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Powered by PTC, wind energy expected to keep booming

  • TODAY’S STUDY: On The Way To 100% New Energy In Hawaii
  • QUICK NEWS, October 18: The Lack Of Climate Change In The Election; Trump And Clinton On Climate Change And New Energy; New Energy Keeps Booming

  • TODAY’S STUDY: New Energy For New Urbanists
  • QUICK NEWS, October 17: Chemical Mulitnationals Bet on Climate Solutions; World Wind Gets Bigger; SolarReserve Power Plant Possibilities Rising

  • Weekend Video: High Water Everywhere
  • Weekend Video: Chasing Extreme Weather To Catch Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: Wind Power On The Land
  • --------------------------


    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews


    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns


    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart




      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.


    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, October 22-23:

  • The Most Unlikely Eco-Warriors Of All Time
  • A New Energy Vision
  • Solutions – Solar
  • Solutions – Wind

    Thursday, December 11, 2014


    Could FERC put a price on carbon?; EPA can require emissions cuts but FERC can make emissions unaffordable for utilities.

    Herman K. Trabish: July 28, 2014 (Utility Dive)

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could be more effective than the EPA in the Obama administration’s fight against greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new legal opinion. And such a move by FERC would not be without precedent, says one of the opinion’s authors.

    Through FERC’s authority over electricity rates, power contracts, and utility planning, as well as its responsibility for new transmission and natural gas pipelines, the agency can influence the cost-effectiveness of new generation and new infrastructure by putting a price on emissions, according toAddressing Climate Change Without Legislation from the University of California Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment.

    “It is not unusual for FERC to be aggressive in implementing what it sees as appropriate public policy,” explains co-author Steven Weissman.

    Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) urged such action on climate change to FERC commissioners at the July 29 House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.

    "The statutory standards that FERC administers give the agency many tools to help combat climate change," Waxman told all four commissioners. The ideas proposed in the U.C. Berkeley legal opinion, which he entered into the Congressional Record, deserve "serious consideration" and show "we don’t have to choose between protecting the environment and reliable electricity."

    Wholesale electricity rates are in FERC's jurisdiction

    “FERC’s regulatory duties include overseeing wholesale electricity rates to ensure that they are just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential,” the opinion reads.

    The Federal Power Act does not define “just and reasonable” but FERC and the Supreme Court have interpreted the phrase, the opinion goes on. They did not require a specific rate calculation methodology but said rates must be in “a zone of reasonableness” that balances the interests of electricity suppliers and customers while protecting “the general public interest.”

    For suppliers, “rates will be just and reasonable if they provide an opportunity to earn sufficient revenue to cover the operating expenses and capital costs of the business and provide a return on investment,” the opinion says. And for customers, “just and reasonable rates do not permit exploitation, abuse, or gouging, or unjust discrimination between customers.”

    Because fossil fuel generators do not pay for the environmental costs of emissions, the opinion argues, they have a potentially unreasonable competitive advantage over renewable energy developers. FERC could use its authority over rates to eliminate this advantage with a “carbon adder” on the wholesale electricity rate that reflects such costs.

    Through its authority over utility power purchase agreements, FERC could impose that carbon adder on contracts, the opinion notes. Through itsauthority over utility planning, it could require their Integrated Resource Plans to consider such an adder.

    “There has already been a significant amount attention to climate issues in FERC’s considerations,” says Weissman, a former California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Administrative Law Judge and policy advisor. CPUC decisions reflected an increasing awareness over time of the link between energy and climate change, Weissman says, and three particular recent decisions from FERC in support of renewables suggest it may also soon be ready to join the climate fight.

    Possible FERC action not without precedent

    Congress created a “chicken and egg” dilemma when it established the principle that access to transmission has to be non-discriminatory, he explains. Developers of utility-scale solar and wind need to know they will have transmission lines to their remote locations before they build but transmission builders need to know they will have users to pay for the new infrastructure before they will build.

    “FERC resolved the dilemma by deciding non-discrimination meant unfair discrimination,” Weissman says. In a decision supporting renewables, it pronounced renewables “locationally constrained” to where the sun shines and the wind blows and therefore in need of special consideration.

    In a similar decision, FERC interrupted delays in transmission build-outs to locationally constrained resources, Weissman goes on. It decided the cost of a new line would not fall only to the developer but to all those generators within that system who benefit from it.

    And finally there is the just-enacted Order 1000, Weissman argues. It required transmission planning to be coordinated and paid for regionally, making it “easier to move renewable energy while spreading the cost of new transmission across a broader base of customers,” he explains.

    “Those orders don’t necessarily mention climate change but they recognize the need for new transmission for public policy ends,” Weissman says. They showed that FERC can have its own sense of what public policy can be and proceed aggressively.

    A precedent in which FERC used rate adjustments for public policy ends, the opinion reports, was in its 2006 order, subsequently upheld by the court, forPJM Interconnection “to impose a charge equal to the marginal cost of transmission line losses on all wholesale customers.”

    The decision was made “on policy grounds” and to send “the strongest signal possible” to PJM generators to use transmission efficiently. PJM estimated the change has saved $100 million annually.

    FERC was aware the added charge would produce “a mismatch between costs and revenues and would most likely lead to a significant over-collection by PJM,” the opinion explains. That is why it also ordered that surplus funds be fairly returned to market participants.

    Climate action?

    “It is not a huge step for FERC to take more direct climate change action,” Weismann says. “It is likely in time there will be a price on carbon. Including a carbon adder in wholesale electricity rates now would help ensure that electricity demand is met using the generating resources with the lowest environmental cost and help guide utilities in directions that would not leave them vulnerable to sudden cost increases later.”

    The opinion also outlines ways FERC could similarly act through its authority over U.S. hydroelectric and hydrokinetic development and over natural gasinfrastructure and pipelines construction permitting.

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