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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Clean Energy Ministerial, NYC Zoning, EU ETS, Feed-in Tariffs

The 23-government Clean Energy Ministerial and the UN Sustainable Energy for All program have outlined a set of commitments for participating countries and the private sector to promote energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies, and increased global energy access. Developments include:

•  The Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment  initiative aims to push to market efficient equipment and appliances through incentives and technology-sharing. The measures are estimated to save as much as 1,800 terawatt-hours per year by 2030.

The Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group aims to develop a global atlas for solar and wind energy and a long-term strategy on joint capacity building. The group also will look for ways to reduce the incremental costs of providing wind and solar energy to all regions of the world.

New York City will update zoning regulations to facilitate the installation of rooftop gardens, solar panels on exterior walls, and other green building features. The City Council is expected to approve new rules in a vote scheduled for today, the New York Times said.

The EU’s single registry for the carbon accounts of more than 12,000 regulated power plants and factories will be fully active in June. The European Commission will release a complete timetable outlining five weeks of activation requirements and transitional restrictions – including a two-week suspension of the registry system prior to launch – on May 3, Platts said.

The value of carbon permits on the New Zealand ETS was down by 73 percent for the first quarter of 2012 over the corresponding period in 2011. The exchange fell to NZ$24.9 million ($20.3 million), affected by the supply of cheap UN offsets, Point Carbon said.

A Japanese governmental panel has recommended feed-in tariffs for solar power at 42 yen ($0.52) per kWh for 20 years, compared with the current rate of 13.65 yen per kWh for industry and commercial users. Feed-in tariffs for wind-generated power were recommended at 23.10 yen per kWh for plants with the capacity of 20 kilowatts or more, and 57.75 yen for smaller ones, both for 20 years. Pending approval by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the FITs will be introduced in July, Bloomberg said.

Eight in ten Americans are in favor of federal funding for renewable energy research, but “strong support” has fallen to 36 percent, down from 53 percent in 2008. The Yale-George Mason University poll also found that 76 percent of Americans support regulating carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas pollutant, the Los Angeles Times said.

The US Navy has agreed to pay a $5,855 penalty to settle alleged underground storage tank (UST) violations at a facility in Norfolk, Va. A March 2011 inspection revealed that three 25,000-gallon underground storage tanks containing diesel fuel had not been tested since 2004, the EPA said.

The Idaho Milk Products dairy processing facility in Jerome, Idaho, allegedly failed to report the treatment and disposal of nitric acid and nitrate compounds which the company released to the local wastewater treatment plant in 2009, the EPA said. The company has submitted the reports required by the Toxics Release Inventory Program, to resolve the violations, and agreed to pay a penalty of $52,100.

The EPA has reached an agreement with Amtrak regarding the safety and reliability of drinking water for the railroad’s passengers and crews. The agreement requires Amtrak to monitor all the drinking water systems on its railcars for microbiological contamination and provide enhanced maintenance for its water systems, the EPA said.

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