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Low gas prices could drive steep CO2 cuts in PJM; Maryland sets 40% emissions reduction goal


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Low gas prices could drive steep CO2 cuts in PJM; Maryland sets 40% emissions reduction goal

When the parties litigating the Clean Power Plan appearbefore the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on June2, their arguments will reflect the ambiguity left by more than a decade oflegal wrangling over the regulation of greenhouse gases. The proceedingchallenging the rule before the D.C. Circuit is currently in the briefingstage, and the documents that have been tendered to the court provide a glimpseinto the energy policy and litigation history that gave rise to the carbon rule.

If natural gas prices remain low, the region couldexpect to have emissions far lower than targets set by the Clean Power Plan,the grid operator said in an early analysis report. "Sustained lower gasprices will result in CO2 reductions through retirements and new combined-cycleentry," said the report.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed into law the Greenhouse GasEmissions Reduction Act, which requires the state to reduce its greenhouse gasemissions 40% below 2006 levels by 2030. The Republican governor signed H.B.610/S.B. 323 on April 4 after it passedthe House of Delegates in a 101-37 vote on March 17 and the Senate 38-8 inFebruary.

Accusing the Obama administration of waging a war on coalmay serve as an effective rallying cry in coal-producing states, but the peoplemaking the claim either are intentionally misleading their constituents or lacka clear understanding of the history of the Clean Air Act, according to a pairof environmental law experts.

Should each constituent of the S&P 500 pare their directemissions down to zero, the impact would be roughly equivalent to removing allthe emissions produced in France, Germany and U.K. combined, according to therecently released S&P Index Carbon Emitter Scorecard. Announced by S&PDow Jones Indices on April 7, the research provides regional and thematic breakdownsof carbon emissions of major global equity benchmarks.

A North Carolina judge has closed a lawsuit filed against aDuke Energy Corp.subsidiary related to coal ash management at three power plants because of thecompany's commitment to clean up the sites. Wake County Superior Court JudgePaul Ridgeway on April 4 approved a settlementDuke Energy reached last year with environmental groups tied to closing thebasins at its H.F. Lee Energy,Cape Fear andW.H. Weatherspoonplants in the eastern part of North Carolina.

The TennesseeValley Authority has decided to build a bottom ash dewateringfacility at its Kingston Fossil Plant, after an environmental review clearedthe project. The review focused at the potential environmental effects of threealternatives, including the construction of the facility. A finding of nosignificant impact was issued on the decision March 23.

Participating states in the Regional Greenhouse GasInitiative released auction documents April 4 for the program's secondquarterly auction of the year to be held June 1. The 32nd RGGI auction willoffer for sale 15,089,652 allocation year 2016 CO2 allowances, using a reserveprice of $2.10/ton. The cost containment reserve for calendar year 2016 is 10million allowances. All 10 million cost containment reserve allowances areavailable in the June auction.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on April 7 proposeduniform permitting requirements for emissions from oil and gas compressionequipment. "Currently, air emissions from these common pieces of equipmentare subject to more lengthy case-by-case permits. By contrast, applications forgeneral permits follow a template," the Ohio EPA said.