What the Supreme Court ‘Stay’ Means for the Clean Energy Sector

What the Supreme Court ‘Stay’ Means for the Clean Energy Sector

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 this week to stay the implementation of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, until the carbon rule has been fully reviewed on its merits.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. is currently reviewing the regulation, with oral arguments scheduled to begin on June 2. A final ruling is expected by the end of the year.

Regardless of the outcome, the case will likely go to the Supreme Court, with either proponents or opponents challenging the appellate court’s decision. The stay issued this week is designed to halt implementation until the Supreme Court makes a final ruling. The stay itself could be a signal that the justices are leaning in favor of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) opponents.

So what does this mean for states and businesses impacted by the CPP?

For wind and solar companies, the decision doesn’t mean much — right now. The renewable energy sector saw record capacity additions in 2015 as prices continued to fall, and the recent extensions of the federal Investment Tax Credit for solar and the federal Production Tax Credit for wind will continue to drive growth over the next five to seven years.

However, the ITC and PTC extensions are intended to be a policy bridge until the CPP comes into effect. The stay creates uncertainty around what that bridge will lead to.

The CPP compliance period officially begins in 2022. But states can receive early action credits for investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency in 2020, if they file compliance plans by September 2016. At the very least, the stay delays that timeline.

“Approving this delay, I’m afraid, will create a chill in investment in the [clean energy] sector,” said Malcolm Woolf, vice president of policy and government affairs at Advanced Energy Economy.

The CPP stands to mobilize millions and eventually billions of dollars into efficient power plants and technologies to replace power plants. Because these projects need to prove their worth for decades to come, energy companies are more likely to hold off on making long-term commitments until the Supreme Court decides the case two or three years from now, said Woolf.

This could have an impact on some large-scale utility solar projects. The 2019 and 2020 forecasts for utility solar stood to gain from early-action-eligible projects, especially for utilities that could also benefit from the 30 percent ITC eligible projects, according to Cory Honeyman, senior solar analyst at GTM Research.

“So the biggest question now is how many large utilities voluntarily proceed with implementation plans,” he said. “If these utilities pause their planning and don’t submit draft plans by September, this potentially limits the impact of the early-action component of the CPP.”

States chart paths forward

Utilities will be looking to their state leaders for how to plan. Among state leaders, there has been a wide range of responses to the CPP stay.

Some states — such as Texas, Kentucky and Wisconsin — had refused to start work on an implementation plan and are now even less likely to take action. Other states that were challenging the rule, but had started to work on a plan nonetheless, have now decided to take a pause.

Montana Governor Steve Bullock immediately canceled an advisory council meeting on the CPP scheduled for later this month, saying the state plans to address climate change “on our own terms.” Montana is required to make the steepest emissions cuts of any state — 47 percent compared to 2012 levels by 2030. North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska have also called off meetings, according to E&E Publishing.

Some states are continuing to weigh how they will proceed, such as Michigan and Arizona. Many other states intend to move forward.

Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia have come out in support of the CPP and are actively involved in litigation to uphold it. All of these states have either announced they will or are expected to continue work on CPP compliance.

That list is made up of: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state and Washington, D.C.
Yet another group of states are actively opposing the CPP, but have decided to advance their compliance plans nonetheless, such as Wyoming and Colorado.

“It is prudent for Colorado to move forward during the litigation to ensure that the state is not left at a disadvantage if the courts uphold all or part of the Clean Power Plan,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement.

AEE compiled a list of states that are challenging the rule, but are also considering or have already started work on a compliance plan, shown below.

For some, stay doesn’t change anything

According to a White House statement, the EPA intends to work with states that choose to continue planning “and will prepare the tools those states will need.”

Stakeholder discussions also persist. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA), which represents regulators in 40 states charged with implementing the carbon rule, as well as the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the National Association of State Energy Officials all decided to move ahead with a conference on complying with the CPP this week.

“There’s been a tremendous amount of effort and resources and sweat expended preparing for the eventual submittal of a plan,” said William Becker, executive director of the NACAA. “That’s why I think you’ll find many more examples of states building upon the momentum they’ve gained over the past couple of years and continue, maybe at a slower pace, but continue nonetheless to plan for the CPP.”

Becker added that he’s confident the CPP will be upheld, but if somehow it isn’t, he said he has “every expectation” that many states and localities will use their own legislative or regulatory authority to implement a clean energy plan. These plans might look different from a CPP compliance strategy, “but will build on upon the successes and experiences encountered while preparing for it.”

Utilities have an important role to play in what happens over the coming months, Becker added. Utilities work closely with regulators and policymakers, and could encourage state leaders to advance a backup plan in the event the CPP is upheld — the way Duke Energy has in North Carolina.

But power providers stand divided on the carbon rule. Municipalities and co-ops are staunchly opposed, and have filed to sue. Some power companies, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, Calpine and NextEra Energy have filed in support. While others say the legality of the CPP has little effect on the transition to a lower carbon energy mix one way or the other.

Quin Shea, vice president for environment at the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, said the CPP stay doesn’t really change anything. His industry will continue to make “significant investments” in a cleaner generation fleet and take meaningful actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

EEI’s members “are united in their focus on delivering the clean energy future that customers want and expect,” he said.

Clean energy shift continues, but pace remains unclear

“Inevitably, the grid is going to get modernized,” said AEE’s Woolf. “I think, unfortunately, the Supreme Court decision will slow down investment, but the trend is going to continue anyway.”

At the DistribuTech conference, a major smart grid event, conversations were much more focused on getting deals done in the coming quarters than planning for the CPP in 2020, said Woolf, who attended the conference this week.

“I don’t think it’s had much of a ripple here,” he said.

For solar, the stay could push back a portion of forecast procurement and install volumes into the post-2020 timeframe, said GTM Research’s Honeyman. But at least through 2020, utility solar will still remain the primary driver of U.S. solar demand, thanks in large part to the federal ITC extension.

“As PPA prices for utility solar become that much more competitive, the market will be supported by a number of drivers, including expedited coal retirements via additional EPA standards, natural-gas price hedging, renewable portfolio standards, federal PURPA legislation, and corporate procurement,” he said.

All of these factors mean that the coal industry is still under intense pressure. However, the stay does offer some reprieve, said Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“Coal was in deep trouble before the CPP and will remain in dire straits,” he said. “But at the margin, is this bullish on coal? Of course.”

For some, the real question now is what happens with respect to climate. Wind and solar companies may not need Obama’s CPP to survive, but what about the Paris climate accord? The CPP is a central part of the U.S. commitment. If the regulation is ultimately thrown out, what happens in 2020 and beyond? Will clean energy solutions be able to scale fast enough in the coming years to meet the U.S. targets?

This uncertainty “may reasonably cause concern to other countries,” said Robert Stavins, professor of business and government at Harvard University. This is especially true if the U.S. elects a Republican president, he said.

Source: greentechmedia.com/GTM_Solar
What the Supreme Court ‘Stay’ Means for the Clean Energy Sector

Obama Wins Praise as a Champion of Clean Energy Despite Political Gridlock

Obama Wins Praise as a Champion of Clean Energy Despite Political Gridlock

President Obama’s legacy on clean energy and climate will be widely considered one of his greatest achievements — and one of his most polarizing endeavors.

In a recent victory, the president helped finalize the most ambitious international climate agreement to date. In last night’s State of the Union address, the final one of his two-term presidency, Obama engaged critics of his climate action plan head on.

“Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it,” he said. “You’ll be pretty lonely, because you’ll be debating our military, most of America’s business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it’s a problem and intend to solve it.”

Putting the science aside, the solutions to climate change will also bolster the U.S. economy, he said. “Why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?”

While he can’t take credit for everything, there’s no denying the U.S. advanced energy sector has boomed on Obama’s watch.

Shortly after taking office, Obama spearheaded the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which included more than $90 billion in government investment and tax incentives to boost the clean energy economy. Investments were made in everything from advanced clean-energy manufacturing to efficiency retrofits to smart meters.

“Those were serious dollars for clean energy — an order of magnitude greater than what has been seen before,” said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president of policy and government affairs at Advanced Energy Economy, who testified on the ARRA bill in 2009 as chair of the National Association of State Energy Officials. The Recovery Act allocated roughly $3 billion for state energy programs.

Obama built on this foundation by enacting regulations that will double the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks by 2025, as well as issuing the first-ever set of standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

His administration then turned to stationary polluters with the launch of the Clean Power Plan. Last August, the EPA finalized historic carbon regulations on new and existing power plants that will cut pollution from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030 and spur investments in clean energy.

In another major win for clean energy, the Obama administration helped push through five-year extensions of the Production Tax Credit for wind and the Investment Tax Credit for solar in the final moments of last year.

“Obama got us past the tipping point”

One indication that Obama’s strategy has worked is that clean technologies like wind and solar have reached the point where they’re economically viable, said Woolf. Wind power PPAs in the U.S. are now coming in below 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, while utility-scale solar project prices have hit record lows and the overall solar industry booms. According to GTM Research, cumulative solar capacity in the U.S. has grown by a factor of 33 over the course of Obama’s presidency.

At the same time, corporations are buying more renewable energy than ever before, and a majority of companies have put in place some kind of sustainability plan. Furthermore, grid operators are now starting to see renewable energy as a way to offer affordable, reliable electricity, rather than as a problem.

Obama did not meet his goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, but Woolf still counts the initiative as a win. Arguably, Obama’s push for electric vehicles through research and regulations is responsible for spurring automakers from General Motors to Mercedes to Porsche to bring mainstream electric vehicles to market.

The entire suite of advanced energy technologies has been on an upswing. In 2014, the sector grew a record 14 percent — five times faster than the GDP — to a market worth of nearly $200 billion, according to AEE.

In addition to specific policy actions, Woolf chalked up the success of the advanced energy sector to the “presidential prestige” Obama put behind the sector.

“He went to so many ribbon-cutting events highlighting this industry,” said Woolf. “It helped encourage investor confidence and enabled these technologies to mature to the point where they reach scale.”

“We’re fairly optimistic [going forward], regardless of the result of the presidential election, because we see the technologies being economically competitive in their own right, so that we’re no longer dependent on the president being the cheerleader,” he added. “Obama got us past the tipping point.”

Still earning his legacy

While Obama has advocated for clean energy over the past seven years, climate policy was not his top priority at the outset. The U.S. was supportive of a deal at the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, but ultimately the talks failed, in part because of U.S. resistance. And in 2010, Obama chose not to rally behind a Democrat-led climate change bill. Instead, the president focused his political capital on his landmark healthcare law.

Climate became a much stronger focus of the Obama presidency in his second term. “That inaugural address was the turning point,” Heather Zichal, Obama’s former climate change adviser, told the New York Times last fall.

Over time, environmental regulations emerged as an area where the White House could act without hitting congressional roadblocks. It was also a strategic move. Obama could win support from progressives as calls for climate action and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline intensified, led by groups like 350.org.

But despite his efforts, Obama still has some winning over to do.

“Spurred by the growing strength and diversity of the climate movement, President Obama is the first U.S. president to sincerely champion the fight against climate change,” Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, said in a statement. “However, to secure his legacy, President Obama must pursue solutions that match the scale of the problem, which means keeping fossil fuels in the ground and putting the needs of the people ahead of the polluters.”

Obama said in his speech that he plans “to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.” Environmental groups — and oil and coal companies — will surely be eager to learn more.

While U.S. oil and gas production is booming, many people argue that Obama has been a hindrance to the industry overall. According to Frank Maisano, senior principal at the D.C. law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, Obama’s drawn-out rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline has also opened the door for opponents to block infrastructure projects for whatever parochial reason — that goes for pipelines and transmission projects needed for the Clean Power Plan.

“The way Keystone XL played out has made it much more difficult to win support for all big infrastructure projects — to build the type of infrastructure projects necessary to have renewable energy projects built out,” said Maisano.

Obama has only paid lip service to the need for infrastructure improvements, said Maisano, which is part of the reason why grid operators have pushed back so strongly against the carbon rule.

A great success. And a failure?

As Obama’s second term winds down, legal suits against the Clean Power Plan continue, a number of states have moved to roll back their renewable energy policies, and public opinion on climate change remains deeply divided.

Many prominent politicians continue to oppose climate action. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee (who once famously brought a snowball to the Senate floor as evidence against global warming), firmly believes climate change is a “hoax.” Donald Trump and several other presidential candidates are also climate skeptics. And although Marco Rubio says he’s “not skeptical,” he believes that Obama’s climate policies will “destroy our economy.”

Many of Obama’s critics also believe that his focus on climate in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks made the U.S. look weak on national security.

Ironically, one of Obama’s greatest failings is that his advocacy for clean energy and climate solutions may have turned these issues into political punching bags.

“The iPhone 6 is not a partisan piece of technology; it’s a cool device that people like. Because Obama was such a champion for clean energy, he inadvertently made clean energy technologies more partisan than they should have been,” said Woolf. “So it’s interesting to see what might have happened had he not been as engaged. The industry might have lost a market signal, but we might not have the partisan fights that we now seem to have.”

Obama actually acknowledged in his State of the Union address that the political divide that’s grown over the past seven years — on all issues — is one of his biggest missteps.

“It’s one of the few regrets of my presidency  —  that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better,” he said.

Obama pledged to try and bridge the divide during his remaining months in office, and called on all Americans “to change the system to reflect our better selves.”

Source: greentechmedia.com/GTM_Solar
Obama Wins Praise as a Champion of Clean Energy Despite Political Gridlock

Advanced las firm Mauritius pros and cons of legal profession

We are the advanced law firm in Mauritius and in this blog, we will tell you pros and cons of the legal profession. Choosing the legal director of training, most dream of a dizzying career. Someone thinks that fame can be achieved in the profession of a judge, and someone dreams of becoming a lawyer. In any case, no matter which direction of training is chosen, it is worth saying that any of them has both pluses and minuses.

What are the advantages of a lawyer’s profession most obvious? What are the lawyer’s profession’s minuses? Should we even consider for our future a specialty whose main task is to protect the legitimate rights of citizens? It is worth it if your vocation is protected. And it’s not worth it, if the head of the corner is high incomes. However, about everything in order.

Disadvantages of the profession of attorney

TV shows are full of headlines about bright things. One of the important advantages of the profession of a lawyer in recent years is not so much work in the profession as the work on the camera of the most famous TV channels of the country and the world. Invited guests – lawyers become gurus, talking about the mores of the modern world, about how fragile life can be and that these laws have long needed to be changed. Yesterday, an unknown lawyer to anybody, suddenly becomes an acknowledged expert of the bar, and his words literally break up into quotes. But few people know that only a few can boast of such achievements.

The truth is that a huge disadvantage of the legal profession of a lawyer is high competition. This despite the fact that to get the status of a lawyer, it takes a long way to go. His result will be the passing of a qualifying examination for a lawyer.

But, for starters, you will need to obtain a higher legal education. At the same time, if there is more than enough for a lawyer to work in a company, then the minus of a lawyer’s profession is that higher legal education only gives you the right to work in the ranks of legal assistants, a judge or an attorney who has already taken place. At the same time, the minus of a lawyer’s profession is that it’s impossible immediately after the university, but you’ll have to work. If you want to become an advocate, be prepared for the fact that immediately after receiving an education, you will have to work in the law enforcement system for at least 2 years, performing assignments as an assistant or assistant.

Unfortunately, it often happens that such positions are not only low-paid but often are generally free. But the law is the law and here it is for a profession of lawyer puts a huge minus. However, in this situation, the profession of attorney has a plus – you can work in the legal profession and as a teacher in one of the higher or secondary professional educational institutions of the country. But you should not relax. This is due to the fact that after 2 years of work, in the life of the future defender comes the most difficult moment – passing the exams. This exam certifies you for knowledge of laws and regulations, assesses your speaking skills and puts your license on the map.

If the exam is completed, you will receive a license and be able to become an advocate, and if not, you will have to return to books and re-study thousands of articles and acts. To my great regret, what is the absolute minus of the profession of a lawyer, the probability of failing to pass the exam the first time is very high? All because to keep in my head half a thousand articles, to answer the questions of the test that checks you both in criminal and civil law is not so easy. Often even they say that obtaining a lawyer’s license is like a lottery, where someone is lucky, and someone will have to try their luck again. And yet, although this is a minus of the profession of an attorney, to pass the qualification exam, if not from the first, then at least for the second time, is real. Luckily lucky, the legal status is assigned once and for life, and therefore, in case of victory, you will never have to prove your knowledge of the exam.

But the downsides of the profession of lawyer do not end there. To the surprise of the now licensed professional, there are a lot of people who have gone through this hard way, and the number of clients who need legal protection is still small. So it turns out that the next years the newly-baked lawyer will have to spend to prove to the market that it is you who are worthy to do business. Probably, that is why the low incomes that expect future defenders in the first years of their practice – the best thing to expect.

It should also be said that the minuses of the profession of a lawyer can be minimized if you are charismatic, persuasive, and ready to protect everyone, regardless of his beliefs, and most importantly – are ready to support your favorite business. If you can not find such qualities in yourself, perhaps you should consider another direction.

Pros of the profession of attorney

Despite a large number of cons of a legal profession, thousands of applicants receive a long-awaited license every year and the right to become a defender of the plaintiff or defendant. If it is passed from education to passing the exam, the lawyer will eventually discover

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DAZ 3D Embraces 3D Printing for Their Popular Figurines

DAZ 3D Embraces 3D Printing for Their Popular Figurines
Founded in 2000, DAZ 3D offers 3D software, content, and print capabilities to create what they call “morph-able, pose-able human models and assets,” and they add that a pair of them in particular “are…

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Source: 3dprintcom
DAZ 3D Embraces 3D Printing for Their Popular Figurines

Re-examining the Clothes Hanger: A 3D Printed Closet Solution

Re-examining the Clothes Hanger: A 3D Printed Closet Solution
We’re accustomed to seeing innovations on the cutting edge of aeronautics and medicine resulting from 3D printing. Sometimes, however, it is the everyday object that needs renewed attention. North Dakota State University Student Amber…

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Re-examining the Clothes Hanger: A 3D Printed Closet Solution

3D Printed ‘Cool Bricks’ Can Cool an Entire Room Using Water

3D Printed ‘Cool Bricks’ Can Cool an Entire Room Using Water
I live sunny south Florida, where the temperature rarely drops below 60 degrees during the day, and the humidity level in the summer is usually hovering at around 100%. Summers are brutal if you…

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Source: 3dprintcom
3D Printed ‘Cool Bricks’ Can Cool an Entire Room Using Water

North Carolina Man Seeks Kickstarter Funding to Help Him 3D Print Prosthetic Fairings For His Leg

North Carolina Man Seeks Kickstarter Funding to Help Him 3D Print Prosthetic Fairings For His Leg
There have been so many incredible stories we have covered over the last year. In fact, as 3DPrint.com turns a year old, the topics which have received the most feedback have been those related…

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North Carolina Man Seeks Kickstarter Funding to Help Him 3D Print Prosthetic Fairings For His Leg

Fractal Artist Shows Stunning Strategy in Creating 3D Printed Surreal Chess Set

Fractal Artist Shows Stunning Strategy in Creating 3D Printed Surreal Chess Set
As so often happens, when 3D designers and 3D printing collide, the story is a combination of utilitarian concept and works of art. These are generally items being made for use, but the people…

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Fractal Artist Shows Stunning Strategy in Creating 3D Printed Surreal Chess Set

Prismadd Joins the French 3D Printing Scene

Prismadd Joins the French 3D Printing Scene
Three French companies have joined together to introduce Prismadd, an ambitious effort to integrate all aspects of metals and plastics additive manufacturing into a single production line. Their primary target is the aerospace industry,…

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Prismadd Joins the French 3D Printing Scene