Power Generation

Due to advances in technology and drilling techniques, most notably hydraulic fracturing, vast reserves of untapped natural gas in shale formations are commercially viable, resulting in a significant increase in natural gas production over the last decade. However, this increase in production has raised concerns over environmental impacts such as water pollution, seismic activity, and air quality. This article provides an overview of some of these concerns and how state legislatures are addressing these issues. 

Experts discussed the legal arguments for and against the Clean Power Plan, or CPP, during a recent eCademy webcast, “What's Next? Legal Perspectives on the Clean Power Plan,” presented by CSG and the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies. 

The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 established a national program for the safe, permanent disposal of highly radioactive waste.  In 2002, Congress approved a site at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain; however, that project was stalled and defunded in 2010. Consequently, there currently is no disposal facility in the United States for spent fuel rods from 99 operating commercial nuclear reactors across the country. This webinar, the first in a two-part series, explores the status of nuclear waste management in the United States, with a focus on how the lack of a disposal facility affects electricity customers, the communities that are home to nuclear power plants, and the utilities that own and operate the plants. Part 2 of the series, Searching for Solutionscan be viewed here.

Nuclear energy has provided commercial electricity generation in the United States since 1957, when a plant in Shippingport, Penn., came online. Between 1966 and 1977, 75 nuclear reactors were built in the U.S. However, a combination of escalating costs and increasing safety and environmental concerns halted almost all construction of new nuclear reactors in the U.S. after 1978. While the future of nuclear energy is uncertain, the construction of the first new reactors in decades and the continuing need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is leading to an increased interest in nuclear energy.

In a unanimous opinion in Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing the Supreme Court held that Maryland’s program which guarantees a power plant generator a contractual rate rather than the “clearing price” wholesale rate set at a federally-approved capacity auction is preempted by the Federal Power Act (FPA).

The State and Local Legal Center filed an amicus brief arguing that Maryland’s program should not be preempted. At least one other state, New Jersey, has implemented a similar program.  

CSG Midwest

The nation’s leader in wind energy and use has hit yet another milestone. Iowa is now getting more than 30 percent of its electricity from this renewable source — the only U.S. state that has reached this threshold. According to Gov. Terry Branstad, the state has the potential to reach 40 percent within the next five years....

CSG Midwest

The Midwest is not known as a center of solar energy development, but in fact, electricity from the sun is being generated across the region. And at the same time, perceptions about solar energy are changing — including which parts of the country can be leaders in further developing and using this renewable power source.<--break->Of the top 10 solar-producing states in the nation, for example, three are in the Northeast...

On Tuesday evening, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a stay that stops implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan until the ongoing legal challenges to the rule are resolved by the courts. The 5-4 decision came in response to a request for stay to the U.S. Supreme Court by over two dozen states, utilities, and other industry advocates after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit...

Community solar is a program where a utility or third-party provider constructs a solar array in an external location and a group of participants voluntarily pay for a share of that project. The electricity produced by the array flows to the electricity grid instead of directly to the customers’ homes, but the subscriber receives a benefit for the electricity produced by the array, usually as a credit on their utility bill.

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...

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