The push by some politicians and the oil industry to expand offshore drilling to the Atlantic is the wrong way to create jobs and lower gas prices. In fact, offshore wind development off the East Coast could produce twice as many jobs and energy as offshore drilling while alleviating the risk of catastrophic oil spills.
The societal issue we own, obviously, is climate change, the mother of all social issues. We are as an industry – for the sake only of the casual uninformed reader perusing this issue of EnergyBiz in the dentist’s waiting room – the single largest emitter domestically of CO2, as a result of our overwhelming dependence on fossil fuel-based power generation. We should have seen it coming back in 2007, when the proud and mighty TXU was forced into the hands of private equity because it had ignited a firestorm of controversy by announcing its plans to build 11 new coal plants in the coal-friendly and deeply conservative state of Texas.
Oil and gas officials and environmentalists panned the Obama administration’s move today to open Atlantic and Arctic waters to potential new drilling, a proposal that will leave a lasting mark on the president’s energy and environmental legacy. The Interior Department bid to allow a potential 2021 lease sale in waters from Virginia to Georgia and additional sales in the oil-rich but often perilous waters of the Chukchi and Beaufort seas was blasted by Republicans as too timid and by Democrats as environmentally reckless.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur today said her agency’s reviews of natural gas infrastructure, transmission and evolving markets will underpin implementation of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, despite drawing unparalleled pushback.”Pipelines are facing unprecedented opposition, from local and national groups, including environmental activists,” LaFleur told attendees at a National Press Club luncheon in Washington, D.C. “We’ve got a situation here.”
Last week, 15 Senate Republicans abandoned their party’s tried-and-true “I’m not a scientist” stance to back amendments affirming that human emissions are at least partly responsible for global warming. The shift in message was subtle, and some political experts said it wasn’t a shift at all. There have always been Republicans who acknowledged that human activity has a hand in climate change, they said, and the two amendments to the Keystone XL oil pipeline bill merely gave them a forum to express it.
Renewable energy groups say EPA used old data in calculating states’ greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets under the existing power plant rule, which underestimates the potential of solar, wind and other renewables in meeting the goals and creates a scenario where states may “over-rely” on natural gas to meet the rule’s targets. The renewable industry groups are urging EPA to update the existing source performance standards (ESPS) to reflect higher values for renewable energy potential, include more accurate cost assumptions, and adopt the “alternative approach” that EPA proposed that the industry believes is a more accurate method to calculate the rule’s state-specific targets.
The Midwest is home to 1 in 5 Americans and an outsized manufacturing sector that consumes 20 percent more energy per dollar of economic output than the national average, the report found. The region is responsible for higher per-capita greenhouse gas emissions, too, emitting 22 percent more than the U.S. average. In a county-by-county perspective, the study compiled results on heat-related deaths, increased electricity demand, climbing energy costs, dipping labor output, dwindling crop yields and damage to transportation infrastructure.
The Interior Department is set to issue final approval of a 515-mile-long multistate transmission line project that the Obama administration considers a top priority but that has been hounded by concerns it could compromise a New Mexico missile testing range and degrade a pristine Arizona river valley. At issue is the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project, which is projected to carry as much as 4,500 megawatts of what proponents say will be mostly wind-generated electricity from northeast New Mexico to an electric distribution point northwest of Tucson, Ariz.
Cape Wind’s future is again in doubt this week after New England’s grid operator suspended the offshore wind developer from participating in wholesale electricity markets — at the same time Cape Wind executives are seeking to downplay the project’s termination of land-use agreements.
Did President Obama’s State of the Union remarks on wind power’s leadership role indicate a shift in support for the production tax credit? During today’s OnPoint, Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, explains why his industry continues to need the PTC, despite its global leadership. He also talks about his organization’s lobbying strategy for the Republican-controlled Congress.