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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Wind PTC, Plastic Bag Ban, BP Penalty, Shipping Fuels

President Obama stumped for an extension to wind energy production tax credits at the facility of wind turbine blade manufacturer TPI Composites in Newton, Iowa. An extension of ten years is estimated to cost $4.1 billion, the Des Moines Register said.

The Los Angeles city council has voted to eliminate plastic bags over the next 12 months at an estimated 7,500 supermarket checkout lines, and implement a 10-cent charge for paper bags starting next year. Larger stores have six months to phase out plastic bags, and smaller markets have twelve months, the Los Angeles Times said.

BP North America has agreed to pay an $8 million penalty and to invest $400 million in pollution controls to reduce emissions from its petroleum refinery in Whiting, Ind. The settlement is related to alleged violations of a 2001 consent decree that covered all of BP’s refineries, the EPA said.

The EU agreed on legislation to limit the maximum sulfur content of shipping fuels by the end of the decade. Under the new law, the maximum sulphur content will be limited to 0.5 percent for all ships from 2020, down from 3.5 percent for cargo vessels and 1.5 percent for passenger ships, Euractiv said. Read more about environmental shipping regulations in the latest issue of EL Insights.

China’s Commerce Ministry ruled that US government support for six renewable energy projects violated WTO subsidy regulations. The short statement did not include any action towards punitive measures for the projects investigated in Washington, Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey and California, the Associated Press said.

The International Energy Agency said that governments must cut fossil fuel subsidies and support energy efficiency to avoid a temperature rise of 6 degrees Celsius by 2050, after the IEA found that CO2 emissions last year hit their highest level ever. The agency said that a jump in China’s CO2 emissions offset falls in the United States and Europe, Reuters reports.

And three climate research groups said that GHG emissions in 2020 could measure 9.92 billion tons above what is seen as the threshold to the limit global warming. The report by Climate Analytics, Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said that governments’ emissions reduction policies may increase the gap between real emissions and what is needed to limit warming, Reuters said.

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change has set the FIT for small domestic solar installations on a schedule to decrease on a three-month basis after an initial reduction to 16p/kWh, down from 21p, that will take effect in August. The export tariff will be increased from 3.2p to 4.5p., writes Solar Industry Magazine.

The UK released its draft Energy Bill, which is expected to encourage £110 billion ($172 billion) investment in low-carbon power generation. The bill has an emissions cap for power plants, and a backup mechanism for gaps in intermittent renewables generation, the Wall Street Journal said.

The Interior Department is preparing for the next round of blowout-prevention rules, after hosting a technical forum on next-generation BOP and control systems technology. Representatives included members of government organizations, trade associations, equipment manufacturers, and BOP monitoring companies, The Hill said.

Oregon cheese processing company Columbia River Processing has reached a settlement with the EPA that includes a $42,435 penalty. The settlement is related to allegations that the company’s Boardman, Ore., cheese processing facility failed to report a 2,500-pound release of anhydrous ammonia in June 2008, the EPA said.

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