Angelique Mercurio

Posts by Angelique Mercurio

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, in his State of the State address, proposed a tougher carbon cap for states covered under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade program. The proposal underscores RGGI’s opportunity for achieving even greater emissions reductions in future years, as its current carbon cap remains significantly higher than actual emissions produced in the nine member states.

Laying out an energy- and climate-intensive policy agenda for New York, in his address on January 9, 2013, Governor Cuomo proposed a tougher RGGI carbon cap as part of efforts to address climate change and clean energy development in the state. RGGI, the nation’s first carbon cap-and-trade program, has helped reduce CO2 emissions levels by 30% across member states since inception in 2008. However, RGGI’s current carbon cap of 165 million tons of CO2 per year is now much higher than actual emissions produced in member states – only 91 million tons (expected total) in 2012. With a cap this high, RGGI states may have emitted 45% more carbon last year and still met program compliance. Keep reading →

California regulators released the state’s first draft regulations for hydraulic fracturing. The industry views the move as a positive start to drive oil and gas development in California, which has some of the strictest well safety regulations. The move could result in dramatic expansion of drilling activities in the state’s Monterey Shale, a major oil play that could substantially contribute to the domestic energy supply.

On December 18, 2012, California’s Department of Conservation released preliminary regulations for hydraulic fracturing, after a series of public discussions held this year to address environmental concerns. The draft rules, if passed, would require drilling companies to test well integrity and report test results to regulators before beginning fracturing operations. The proposal also seeks to require companies to maintain an online database of fracturing locations and chemical composition of fracturing fluids. It would however, provide an exemption for operators seeking protection for proprietary chemical composition information. The formal rulemaking process, expected to begin in early 2013 with further public hearings, could be finalized in about one year. Keep reading →

California regulators will direct the state’s largest utilities to return 85% of cap-and-trade proceeds to ratepayers. The move, which comes about a month after the successful completion of California’s first carbon allowance auction, aims at offsetting higher electricity costs resulting from the cap-and-trade program, by providing a “climate dividend” on utility bills.

On December 20, 1012, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) unanimously approved a plan to distribute the utility sector’s carbon allowance revenues to ratepayers in the form of a biennial “climate dividend.” The plan directs three major investor-owned utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric – to return 85% of proceeds from the sale of carbon allowances to ratepayers as rebates through the life of the cap-and-trade program. The dividend, estimated to range from $20 to $40, will appear as an automatic credit on utility bills every six months starting July 2013. The amount of money that will go to ratepayers in the form of rebates from 2013 through 2020 ranges from $5.7 billion to $22.6 billion. Keep reading →