Expenditures for delivered energy in the United States in 2015 totaled $1.127 trillion, a 20% decrease in real terms from 2014, according to recently released data from EIA’s State Energy Data System. Adjusted for inflation, total energy expenditures in 2015 were the lowest since 2004. Total energy expenditures, expressed as a percent of the United States gross domestic product, were 6.2% in 2015, the lowest since 2002.
Nuclear plants in New York will continue to receive payments collected from all in-state load serving entities (LSE) in recognition of their clean energy contributions. Those payments, which might be as high as $8 billion over a ten year period, may also be as low as zero during years in which the average wholesale price of electricity rises to a level at which selling power becomes profitable for the qualifying plants. In a decision filed July 25, Judge Valerie Caproni dismissed the motions filed by various electrical generators and trade groups of electrical generators that challenged the constitutionality of the New York Public Service Commission’s decision to create a Zero Emission Credit program.
The state Supreme Court has decided not to take up an appeal of a lower court ruling that Malibu can’t limit chain stores or force major development projects to be put to a vote of the people. The determination filed late Wednesday appeared to mark the end of the road for the beach city’s Measure R ballot measure limiting development, handing a major victory to developers and for a project that would bring a Whole Foods store to the city.
U.S. worker productivity picked up modestly in the second quarter but showed little sign of breaking out of the sluggish trend that has prevailed for more than a decade, holding back economic growth and living standards. The lethargic pace of productivity growth seen in recent years could have a critical effect on the future trajectory of wages, prices, overall economic output and government budget balances. . . . “If labor productivity grows an average of 2% per year, average living standards for our children’s generation will be twice what we experienced,” Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said in a July speech. “If labor productivity grows an average of 1% per year, the difference is dramatic: Living standards will take two generations to double.”
A run-up in stocks helped deliver a banner year for America’s public pensions. But the gains won’t be nearly enough to ensure all state and local retirees receive their promised future benefits. Large U.S. systems that oversee retirement funds for police, firefighters, teachers and other public workers earned median returns of 12.4% in the fiscal year ended June 30, according to Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service. That is their best annual result since 2014. Yet many of these public pensions remain severely underfunded despite the recent gains, meaning they don’t have enough assets on hand to fulfill all promises made to their workers. Estimates of their collective shortfall vary from $1.6 trillion to $4 trillion.