When the U.S. Supreme Court decided American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the blogosphere was filled with all sorts of opinions about what the future of GHG regulation might be . . . but very little in the way of cogent analysis.  Fortunately, my good friend Stan Alpert has now weighed in with an analysis not only of the decision itself, but also the legal context in which it was decided and the practical business implications.  Stan knows a bit about which he speaks.  He is the former Chief Environmental Prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney's Office covering parts of New York City and all of Long Island, and he now advises companies on their compliance with climate change, GHG, and environmental laws and regulations.  To read his brief yet illuminating analysis, click here.
Samsung is investing $7 billion in Ontario to create the world's largest cluster of wind and solar power.  When completed, the projects will generate 2,500 MWs of renewable energy -- providing power with zero ongoing fuel costs well into the future.  Samsung and its partners are also establishing four manufacturing facilities in Ontario, creating 1,440 manufacturing and related jobs building wind and solar technology for use in Ontario and export across North America.

In the latest phase of the agreement, the Ontario Power Authority has signed power purchase agreements for 870 megawatts (MWs) of wind power.  The agreements with Samsung and its partner, Pattern Energy Group LP, will provide enough clean energy to power more than 300,000 homes.

Constructing 870 MWs of wind power will create good-paying jobs in the short-term and additional jobs in operations and maintenance over the long term.  The wind projects have also resulted in commitments from two other companies -- Siemens and CS Wind -- to build two new factories in Ontario.  All the turbines used in the 870 MWs of wind power will be made in Ontario.

Private capital building clean energy and creating good paying manufacturing jobs?  Maybe we can learn something from our friends up north.

John Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey

A major issue with plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) is, where will you plug it in?  With relatively limited range, the EV industry faces a chicken and egg problem.  Mass numbers of people will not buy EVs until they are assured that they can recharge their vehicle just about anywhere, and mass installations of recharging stations will not happen until enough EVs are on the road to justify the investment.

EV and recharging station manufacturers have been developing innovative solutions to this conundrum, including teaming up with municipal parking lots and big box retailers to install recharging stations.  Municipalities get an extra source of revenue, and retailers can run customer loyalty programs such as free recharging for customers who spend a certain amount of time or money inside the store.

Now Nissan has come up with yet another innovative marketing solution for EVs.  Working with builders to pre-wire garages in new homes for recharging stations.

Nissan Americas and City Ventures – California's leading builder of affordable, eco-friendly homes in urban locations – have announced a cooperative project to pre-wire 190 Southern California townhomes currently under construction for electric vehicle chargers.   The plan is for every home in nearly every new City Ventures development to include pre-wired parking spaces or garages, allowing easy installation of a Level II (240v/40 amp) electric vehicle charging dock, the recommended method to charge the Nissan LEAF at home.

The Nissan LEAF is the first and only 100-percent electric, zero-emission vehicle available to the mass market. Since its launch in December 2010, Nissan has delivered more than 4,000 Nissan LEAF electric vehicles in the United States. The Nissan LEAF currently is available in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon and Washington, with additional markets launching later this year. To date, more than 350,000 people have expressed interest in the Nissan LEAF by signing up for updates, including information on how to purchase and reserve a vehicle.

Because target customers for the Nissan LEAF and City Ventures' residences share similar sensitivities and interests in environment issues, the project offers other benefits.  For example, Nissan LEAF owners who buy a City Ventures' residence can use their home's solar panels to power their car.  Of course, the existence of recharging station wiring in City Ventures' residences might also cause homeowners of the homes to consider purchasing a Nissan Leaf as their next car.

One small step in many respects.  But once the EV and recharging station manufacturers put a few of these steps together, we could reach a tipping point for EVs.

John Howley
Woodbridge, New Jersey