News

Energy on stage in 2-week sprint to recess

Source: Geof Koss and Hannah Northey, E&E reporters • Posted: Monday, July 20th, 2015

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is adding the final touches and working through remaining negotiations on comprehensive energy legislation and could release the highly anticipated document as soon as today. Republican Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has said she plans to begin marking up the bill this week and report the language out of committee before Congress adjourns for the August recess. That schedule would ensure the bill is ready for floor action as soon as leadership has floor time available, said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for the senator.

Spending bills still moving — to uncertain future

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, July 17th, 2015

Assuming a short-term CR is put in place, Congress will buy some time to try to assemble an omnibus package, which would allow appropriators to salvage their hard work by incorporating at least some of the provisions from the individual bills. The spending stalemate also makes it tougher for Republicans to press hot-button environmental policy riders in omnibus negotiations, given that there’s little way to demonstrate the levels of support in each chamber for the provisions. “It’s hard,” Murkowski said.

Another bankruptcy filing has analysts bracing for a wave

Source: Nathanial Gronewold, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, July 17th, 2015

The industry is now being invited to take a second look at its crude price assumptions for next year, as robust U.S. production, weak demand growth and the anticipated return of Iranian oil supplies to Europe all cast a pall on a price recovery that was expected to near $70 per barrel by early 2016. In a new notice, Moody’s Investors Services predicts oil prices in 2016 will average $60 to $65 per barrel, increasing to the $70 per barrel range internationally in 2017.

FERC brushes off clown-clad protesters to tackle cyberthreats

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, July 17th, 2015

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today moved forward with a high-profile effort to protect the U.S. bulk power system from cyberattacks as activists dressed as clowns marched outside the agency’s headquarters to protest the spread of gas infrastructure. FERC Chairman Norman Bay and his fellow commissioners unanimously proposed revisions to reliability standards to address the threat utilities face from network or computer hardware infected with malware.

The electric car owner’s conundrum: Where are the chargers?

Source: Brittany Patterson, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, July 17th, 2015

In May 2013, Kristen House, her husband and their three children packed up their Nashville, Tenn., home, strapped their Nissan Leaf to the back of the moving truck and hit the road to foggy San Francisco. Whenever they’d stop somewhere, House would pull the Leaf off the moving truck and the family would drive it around town, running errands or grabbing a bite to eat. They even zipped around the Bonneville Salt Flats in northwestern Utah with the electric car. With a range of 60 to 100 miles on one charge, it was too much of a risk to drive the car out West like a traditional gas car. During the trip, she said, they could go days without seeing an electric charging station.

Alabama Power plans to supply more solar and wind power, but not to all customers

Source: Daniel Cusick, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, July 17th, 2015

And not all Alabama Power customers will receive the power. Rather, it will be sold to business and industrial customers that are “looking to meet renewable mandates pushed down from their headquarters,” said Tony Smoke, Alabama Power’s vice president of marketing, in a post published on the company’s online news site. Nick Sellers, the Birmingham-based utility’s vice president of regulatory and corporate affairs, said in a statement that the proposal “provides a common-sense path for expanding renewable in Alabama.” But he added that that state regulators have made clear that they do not want renewable energy resources “to be subsidized by all of our customers.”

Report: Wind could supply 40 percent of Iowa energy by 2020

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Friday, July 17th, 2015

Iowa could meet 40 percent of its energy needs from wind power within five years, according to an industry report Thursday that looks at the state’s wind generation potential. The state could push its wind-energy mix to 41 percent in 2020 and supply enough power to more than match its energy usage by 2030, with excess energy to export to other states, the American Wind Energy Association said Thursday.

Wind Energy Blowing Strong in Iowa, But Room to Grow

Source: By SARAH BODEN, Iowa Public Radio • Posted: Friday, July 17th, 2015

Iowa ranks first in the U.S. for having the highest percentage of wind energy used on its electrical grid, but a new industry report by the American Wind Energy Association and the Wind Energy Foundation says there is room to grow. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Energy, the report finds that 28 percent of Iowa electricity in 2014 was generated by wind, and that number could grow to 40 percent by 2020. During a panel on the state’s wind industry at Des Moines Area Community College’s Ankeny campus, Mike Prior of the Iowa Wind Energy Association says these projections are based on the industry’s current rate of development.

Will Calif.’s ambitious policies to promote electric vehicles sell in other states?

Source: Brittany Patterson, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2015

From the muscle cars of the 1950s to Volkswagen buses with sandy surfboards strapped to the roof, cars have long been part of the culture of California. Highways and freeways crisscross the state, and drive-ins and drive-thrus grew up there. The state’s latest ambition is to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by switching its car culture from gas guzzlers to electrics. That’s a tall order. California’s transportation sector produces about 40 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. As the state reaches toward its climate change goals — emissions reductions of 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030 and 80 percent by 2050 — vehicles and emissions reductions will be inextricably tied.

Iowa ahead in meeting carbon reduction goals

Source: By Donnelle Eller, Des Moines Register • Posted: Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Continued growth of wind energy in Iowa places it ahead of other states in meeting a proposed rule that would require existing power plants to cut carbon emissions, a leader with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says. Iowa would be required to cut carbon emissions 16 percent by 2030, under the proposed rule. The state’s target is lower than the 30 percent national average because of its investment in renewable energy development and energy efficiency, federal leaders have said. Karl Brooks, the EPA’s regional director, said outcry against the rule, proposed in June, has been less than expected.