News

Montana Supreme Court appears divided over youth climate case

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, July 11th, 2024

The Montana Supreme Court did not clearly indicate how it might rule in a landmark case that could change how decisionmakers in the Treasure State — and other parts of the country — consider the climate impacts of fossil fuel development. Some of the court’s seven justices appeared skeptical during oral arguments Wednesday that a Montana law barring state agencies from considering climate change is consistent with a guarantee in the state Constitution to a clean and healthful environment. Others asked whether it’s too soon to take up the matter, given that the lawsuit from young climate activists does not challenge any specific project.

A lethal combo: Power outages, extreme heat devastate Texas

Source: By Thomas Frank, Ariel Wittenberg, E&E News • Posted: Thursday, July 11th, 2024

More than 1 million homes and businesses remained without power in the Houston area Thursday morning, raising questions about the resiliency of the region’s electricity infrastructure in the wake of Hurricane Beryl. The Category 1 storm made landfall three days ago, knocking down power lines and leaving 1.3 million utility customers without electricity and air conditioning. Now, the nation’s fifth-most-populous metropolitan area is in the midst of a heat wave, with heat indexes exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The area spent Wednesday under a National Weather Service heat advisory, indicating “extremely dangerous heat conditions.”

Up to two new offshore wind projects are proposed for New Jersey. A third seeks to re-bid its terms

Source: By Wayne Parry, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, July 11th, 2024

Up to two additional offshore wind projects were proposed for the New Jersey coast Wednesday, and the developers of a third project that already has preliminary approval sought to re-bid its terms. The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities received three bids by Wednesday’s deadline in the state’s fourth round of solicitations for offshore wind farms.

Iowa State University receives federal grant for power distribution grid work

Source: By BROOKLYN DRAISEY, Iowa Capital Dispatch • Posted: Thursday, July 11th, 2024

As electricity usage in homes increases due to modernization and weather changes, Iowa State University researchers are working to keep the lights on and the power grid working smoothly with a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The project, led by Grumman associate professor of electrical and computer engineering Zhaoyu Wang, will use data analytics and modeling to help improve the health and lifespan of distribution transformers, which lower the voltage amounts from the power distribution grid enough for houses to connect and have power.

Supreme Court ‘shadow docket’ halts another EPA rule

Source: By Pamela King, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

The Supreme Court is once again reaching out through its emergency docket to bring environmental protections to a standstill. Last month’s 5-4 ruling that blocked EPA controls on smog-forming pollution that wafts across state lines is the latest in a string of decisions over the last eight years that have expanded the power of the Supreme Court’s emergency — or “shadow” — docket. The emergency docket is traditionally reserved for nondivisive procedural matters that are settled quickly and without explanation.

Occidental Clinches Record Carbon-Removal Deal With Mega-Buyer Microsoft

Source: By Michelle Ma, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

Oil giant Occidental Petroleum Corp. clinched a record carbon removal deal with Microsoft Corp. amid the software titan’s push to reduce its expanding emissions. Occidental, which is building an carbon-capture portfolio through its subsidiary 1PointFive, plans to build a fleet of plants that suck carbon dioxide directly from the air. Microsoft on Tuesday agreed to buy 500,000 metric tons of credits from the company’s Stratos plant in Texas, which is expected to start up next year.

Montana Supreme Court takes up kids’ climate case

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

Montana’s highest court will soon decide the fate of a landmark legal victory for young climate activists that upended the state’s approach to fossil fuel development. Oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday morning in the Montana Supreme Court come nearly a year to the day after a state judge found that the youth have a constitutional right to a stable climate and struck down laws that bar state agencies from considering climate effects.

Biden signs a big nuclear bill. Can it remake the industry?

Source: By Zach Bright, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

President Joe Biden signed legislation Tuesday that aims to deploy advanced nuclear reactors more quickly, placing wind at the backs of companies feverishly striving to carve out a bigger niche for nuclear technology as a zero-carbon source of electricity. The ADVANCE Act, aims to further streamline permitting for new reactor designs, give the Nuclear Regulatory Commission more resources, and promote deployment across the globe. For the NRC, it’s a chance at redemption. The pace of permitting projects is regarded by nuclear advocates as a major impediment to any future nuclear renaissance. The latest injection of support from Congress builds on the agency’s ongoing effort to sift through applications and put easier safety assessments on faster tracks.

Solar Firm Gets Millions in US Tax Credits Despite Chinese Labor Questions

Source: By Sheridan Prasso, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

A solar panel maker in Georgia that has booked $230 million in federal tax credits stands to collect hundreds of millions more as it pursues plans to create the first end-to-end solar manufacturing chain in the US, easing reliance on China and related concerns about the use of forced labor. But at least through the end of this year, the Qcells solar plant, which South Korea’s Hanwha Solutions Corp. opened in Dalton, Georgia, in 2019 and almost doubled in capacity last year, is making panels with base components from China.

N.D.’s Burgum says ‘unconstitutional’ Minn. climate law must allow CCS

Source: By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, July 10th, 2024

North Dakota officials led by Republican Gov. Doug Burgum and leaders in the state’s coal industry are pushing for carbon capture and storage to qualify as an eligible technology under Minnesota’s carbon-free standard, a key part of that state’s sweeping climate law enacted last year. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, a three-member panel led by Burgum, filed formal comments with Minnesota’s Public Utilities Commission late last month, expressing concerns about the Minnesota law’s constitutionality and stating that carbon capture “must be recognized as a ‘carbon-free energy technology.’” Burgum is consider a top contender to be a potential running mate for former President Donald Trump.