Planned oil industry layoffs in the U.S. are approaching 100,000 in the past four months with more likely to come. Oil-producing states such as North Dakota, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana are catching the brunt of the cutbacks just as consumers are enjoying cheaper gasoline prices brought on by the 55% drop in crude oil prices since last June. “The entire Midwest from Texas to North Dakota is really feeling the effects,” says Moody’s Analytics economist Aaron Smith.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) will introduce legislation in the coming months to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority to override state resistance to certain power line projects. The proposal would give FERC the authority “as a backstop in the rare case where states have been unable to act on priority projects” that have been selected as part of FERC’s regional transmission planning process under Order No. 1000, Heinrich told attendees at a Southwestern summit on renewable energy transmission development yesterday. Heinrich’s bill could revive a years-long controversy over how much power the federal government should have to issue construction permits for transmission development when a state withholds approval.
While Kenderdine offered few specifics about the report, she outlined the agency’s focus on the challenges the United States’ power lines, railways, pipelines and power plants are facing from a surge of increasingly violent weather, age, competing interests and shifting trends with the discovery of shale gas. DOE has held 14 stakeholder outreach meetings across the country, as well as a meeting in Canada and a conference call with officials in Mexico to discuss the QER.
A proposed tax credit for Nebraska-based renewable energy projects has advanced out of a legislative committee. The Revenue Committee voted 5-2 on Wednesday to send the bill to the full Legislature for debate. The measure by Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha would increase the state credit for facilities that generate electricity with wind and other renewable sources. The measure is designed to attract in-state investors and help Nebraska compete with nearby states that offer tax credits.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in a split vote last night rejected PJM Interconnection’s bid to salvage its ability to use demand-response programs, casting the proposal as “premature” given the issue may be taken up by the Supreme Court. FERC Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioners Philip Moeller, Colette Honorable and Norman Bay denied PJM’s plan to change the way demand response is treated in annual capacity auctions, changes that would apply for the 2018/2019 delivery year. Commissioner Tony Clark cast the lone dissenting vote, calling on the agency to be proactive.
Germany multinational Siemens announced the results of a “detailed ecological review of its wind turbines.” The study was the result of efforts to maintain “a high degree of transparency” for its customers and the authorities, and was aimed at reviewing “the actual benefits of green power for the environment.” Many critics of wind energy (of which there are not many) often attempt to highlight supposed inadequacies in the manufacturing process which they say belittles the supposed environmental benefits resulting from the operation of wind turbines. Siemens study, however, puts the lie to this suggestion.
The changes in power plant fleets that will be required by U.S. EPA’s Clean Power plan are too much, too fast, and threaten electric affordability and reliability, a group of utilities and state regulators from up and down the nation’s central corridor said here yesterday. The comments came during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final regional hearing on implementation of the proposed rule, which calls for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent over the next 15 years.
“Let me just remind you that we have an uninvited guest in this room that’s sitting next to each and every one of you and hovering over you — and she is called Mother Nature,” Freeman, a former chairman at the Tennessee Valley Authority, told a crowd here. “And it doesn’t really matter what you believe; she’s here, and she will dominate the energy policy of this country for the rest of your life,” he said.
Solar power still amounts for a small share of net electricity generation around the world. In the USA, for instance, as of December 2014 it was responsible for just 0.45% of the total electricity produced. Things are changing quite quickly, however, and if the German think tank Agora Energiewende is right, faster than expected.
Wisconsin companies see opportunities for new products and plenty of sales in the next decade in the emerging field of energy storage. A new report commissioned for a Milwaukee-based energy collaborative suggests the global market for products in this market will grow by 400% by 2020 — with some segments forecast to grow at a clip of 40% a year. Better battery technology can help businesses combine renewable energy with energy storage to shield themselves from high utility costs, particularly in costly energy markets like Hawaii, California or New York.