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Should plastics be a source of energy?

The plastic waste problem has grown into a crisis over the past year as more people have become aware of ocean plastic litter and China shut its doors to waste plastics imports from the rest of the world. In the U.S., little plastic is being recycled, and the prospects for boosting recycling significantly and in short order are slim. Some observers are arguing for burning plastic that can’t be recycled to extract its energy value. But that might be easier said than done. Burning more plastics in waste-to-energy facilities poses economic and societal challenges.

The Battle Over Arizona’s Clean Energy Mix

As debate rages over increasing Arizona’s RPS, the largest utility—and strongest RPS opponent—has announced new clean energy programs and incentives. This column explores the state’s mismatched clean energy outlook. In November, residents will vote on whether or not to enshrine the increase in Arizona’s constitution under Proposition 127. The state’s current RPS is 15 percent by 2025. Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest utility, is strongly opposed to the increase.

Ryan Zinke to the oil and gas industry: “Our government should work for you”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke gave the keynote address at the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association’s fall meeting in Lafayette, Louisiana. He told the conference over lunch “our government should work for you." And according to the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, the industry members in the room were thrilled with the pledge, giving Zinke a standing ovation.

California urges Trump administration to abandon fuel rule plan

California’s top air regulator urged the Trump administration on Sunday to abandon a plan to freeze fuel efficiency standards through 2026, as automakers urged state and federal regulators to reach agreement to extend nationwide rules. Mary Nichols, who chairs the state’s Air Resources Board, asked the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency to reverse course, saying the plan to freeze requirements at 2020 levels “turns its back on decades of progress in cleaning up cars and trucks.”

87 days of smog: Southern California just saw its longest streak of bad air in decades

Southern Californians might remember the summer of 2018 for its sweltering heat waves, record ocean temperatures and destructive wildfires. But it also claimed another distinction: the summer we went nearly three months without a day of clean air.The region violated federal smog standards for 87 consecutive days, the longest stretch of bad air in at least 20 years, state monitoring data show. The streak is the latest sign that Southern California’s battle against smog is faltering after decades of dramatic improvement.

Resiliency in the face of hurricanes makes the case for renewables even stronger

People of the Carolinas are picking up the pieces after Hurricane Florence, the wettest tropical cyclone on record.  Solar-power installations were largely able to escape without harm.Before the storm hit, Duke Energy’s 40 solar-power sites were “de-energized” and set up horizontally to minimize wind damage. Although it’s too soon say what, if any, damage occurred, the signs are good. Soon after the storm passed, all the installations had begun producing power. Rooftop solar installations fared well too.

Omaha company idles Iowa ethanol plant, points to trade war, lack of year-round E15

Omaha-based Green Plains says it's idling production at a northwest Iowa ethanol plant, but the facility remains open and its nearly 50 employees continue to work. Jim Stark, Green Plains spokesman, said the company plans to resume production at Superior, but he's unsure exactly when that will occur. The facility employs 46 workers.

Trump administration weakens methane pollution standards for drilling on public lands

The Trump administration on Tuesday finalized its plans to weaken regulations on methane gas releases from drilling on public land.The action from the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) rolls back key provisions of an Obama-era rule that limited releases of the greenhouse gas during oil and gas production on publicly owned lands leased to fossil fuel companies.The new rule is expected to allow for more leaks of the gas through a practice known as venting or flaring, adding to air pollution.

Indiana NIPSCO plan would eliminate coal-fired electricity generation within 10 years

IPSCO has a tentative plan to retire its entire coal-fired electricity generation fleet in the next decade, with the majority of its coal-fired generators to be retired in the next five years.The company made the announcement at the fourth of five public meetings detailing the development of a new Integrated Resource Plan for the utility.“This creates a vision for the future that is better for our customers, and it’s consistent with our goal to transition to the best cost, cleanest electric supply mix available while maintaining reliability, diversity and flexibility for technology and mark

Solar Going Big (And Small) In Illinois

Solar power has been used here and there in Illinois for a long time. But now the state is going for it in a big way. With the Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, Illinois charted a course to boost renewable energy, particularly solar, in a big way.It's all being managed by the Illinois Power Agency (IPA), led by Anthony Star. It was established to manage electricity markets, including renewables, and still does.

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