Energy

Product stewardship laws have a goal of reducing the environmental, safety and health impacts of consumer products. These laws typically focus on the end-of-life management of these products and generally require the manufacturers to take responsibility for recycling or safely disposing of these products when consumers cease using them. This FREE eCademy webcast featured Chaz Miller, director of policy and advocacy for the National Association of Waste and Recycling, who discussed emerging issues and trends in product stewardship laws in the states.

Produced water is a term used to describe water trapped in underground formations that is brought to the surface during oil and gas exploration and production. Because the water has been in contact with the hydrocarbon-bearing formation for centuries, it carries some of the chemical characteristics of the formation and the hydrocarbon itself. Produced water may include water from the reservoir, water injected into the formation, and any chemicals added during the drilling, production, and treatment processes. Often, produced water is regarded as wastewater, but if managed as a resource rather than a waste for disposal, produced water has the potential to be used beneficially, such as helping to alleviate drought and reducing earthquakes caused by waste water injection. This webinar explores alternative uses and factors that influence the demand for alternative uses, as well as environmental concerns posed by produced water.

In an 6-2 decision in FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association the Supreme Court ruled that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has the authority to regulate wholesale “demand response” and that demand response bidders may receive the same compensation as electricity producers.

“Demand response” is a practice in which operators in wholesale markets pay electricity consumers to not use power at certain times.

Energy is more expensive and inefficient to produce at certain times (like hot days). Nonetheless retail electricity rates remain stable providing no incentive for electric consumers to reduce their demand at these times. So, FERC blessed wholesale market operators using demand response to reduce energy use during peak times and to lower wholesale electricity prices.

This Act provides disclosure requirements to be included in agreements for the sale or lease of a distributed energy generating system.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s, or EPA’s, final Clean Power Plan regulates carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants under Section 111 of the Clean Air Act. The final version of this regulation, published in October 2015, includes a number of key changes from the proposed rule, including an adjusted state plan and implementation schedule, alterations to the “building blocks” on which individual state targets are based and the promotion of interstate trading options. While the overall Clean Power Plan seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from this sector by 32 percent by 2030, each state faces a different target. This controversial rulemaking (as of Oct. 30, 2015, 26 states had filed legal challenges to the final rule) has prompted states to consider legislation directing how state environmental agencies and other officials respond or comply.

The Clean Power Plan

On Aug. 3, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Clean Power Plan, which is expected to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants by 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The rule sets target emissions reductions for states and states are responsible for designing their own plans to meet these emissions reductions targets...

CSG Director of Energy and Environmental Policy Liz Edmondson outlines the top five issues for 2016, including the Clean Power Plan, the rise of U.S. natural gas production, water quality and quantity, the use of science-based decision making, and electricity transmission and grid reliability. 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments encourages state policymakers to recognize the value the electric grid delivers to all and to: evaluate the system-wide benefits and costs of distributed generation (including costs and benefits relating to the investment in and operation of generation and the transmission and distribution grid) so that those costs and benefits relating to distributed generation can be appropriately allocated and made transparent to regulators, legislators and consumers; and facilitate the continued provision of safe, reliable, resilient, secure, cost-effective, and environmentally sound energy services at fair and affordable electric rates as new and innovative technologies are added to the energy mix; and update policies and regulations to ensure that everyone who benefits from the electric power grid helps pay to maintain it and to keep it operating reliably at all times.

Adjusting to federal government regulations relating to climate change will require meaningful coordination between state legislators, state energy and regulatory agencies, and the regulated community. This session provided an overview of what state legislators need to know about these recent regulatory changes, their anticipated impacts on the states and how state officials can work together to address recent EPA regulations.

Recent pipeline accidents, such as those in Allentown, Pa., and San Bruno, Calif., have raised concerns about pipeline safety and the consequences of the aging natural gas infrastructure in the United States. Currently, there are more than 2.4 million miles of natural gas pipeline infrastructure in the country that supplies 177 million Americans with natural gas. Natural gas utilities spend more than $19 billion annually to help enhance the safety of the natural gas distribution system and to upgrade and expand service.

Pages