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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Nevada Geothermal, JPMorgan Chase, CARB, New Zealand ETS

An internal audit of Nevada Geothermal Power, the recipient of a $98.5 million federal loan guarantee for its 49.5 MW Blue Mountain geothermal power project (pictured), has brought into questions the company’s solvency ahead of a July 24 shareholders meeting. The company has $98 million in net losses and cannot produce enough cash from current operations after debt-service payments, The Hill said.

A U.S. judge has ordered JPMorgan Chase & Co to explain why the court should not force the bank to turn over 25 internal emails related to an investigation into whether the bank manipulated electricity markets in California and the midwest. The order follows a petition filed by the FERC in federal court as part of an investigation into the bank’s power trading, Reuters said.

CARB has extended the small fleet registration deadline for the Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Regulation to September 1, 2012. The extension affects the reporting deadline for small fleets of 20 or fewer total trailers, and does not delay any compliance, installation, or reporting dates, or other CARB regulations, the board said.

CARB also has approved $27 million for its Air Quality Improvement Program, which provides incentives for the purchase of advanced-technology passenger cars and heavy-duty trucks. The majority of those funds will go to the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project to provide incentives for the purchase of zero-emission and plug-in hybrid passenger cars, The Trucker said.

The New Zealand government has delayed parts of its emissions trading scheme (ETS) for farmers, who will not have to buy carbon credits until at least 2015. Also, the two-for-one carbon credit scheme for emitters will remain in place instead of ending this year, the New Zealand Herald said.

The British government has approved two large offshore wind farms off the Norfolk coast: the 580 MW Race Banks being developed by utility Centrica, and the 560 MW Dudgeon project proposed by developer Warwick Energy. The combined investment is estimated at £3 billion ($4.7 billion), Reuters said.

North Carolina lawmakers has voted to ignore studies showing a rapid rise in sea levels, and to require that projected rates of sea level rise be calculated on historical trends rather than on an accelerated rates of increase. The legislation, which the governor may sign, veto, or allow to become law without a signature, had the support of a coastal economic development group called NC-20, Reuters said.

A bill in Massachusetts would require large retail establishments to dispense compostable plastic bags. The bill approved by a joint House and Senate committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture would apply to retail locations that have 4,000 square feet or more or at least three locations within the state; pharmacies with at least five locations; and supermarkets with annual gross sales over $1 million, Waste & Recycling News said.

Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities’ statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, announced new incentive programs for residents and businesses. Programs for businesses include incentives for the installation of renewable energy systems, a retro-commissioning program for operational efficiency projects in existing buildings, and an energy efficiency financing plan for eligible small businesses, the organization said.

The Michigan Energy Michigan Jobs group has submitted a proposal with nearly 530,000 signatures to put on the November ballot a proposal to amend the state constitution and require Michigan electric utilities to derive at least 25 percent of their energy from clean renewable sources by 2025. The state required 322,609 valid signatures by today in order for a proposal to appear on the ballot, writes MLive Media Group.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold an American Energy Initiative hearing on Tuesday focusing on the challenges and the opportunities of alternative fuels and vehicles.

The House Natural Resources Committee‘s Subcommittee on Water and Power will have a hearing Tuesday on the Endangered Fish Recovery Programs Extension Act of 2012, which would maintain annual base funding for the Upper Colorado and San Juan fish recovery programs through fiscal year 2019.

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