U.S. Oil Industry Cheers Trump Energy Pick, Seeks Gas Export Boost

Source: By Susan Heavey and Steve Holland, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, December 15th, 2016

The U.S. oil and gas industry on Wednesday welcomed President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of former Texas Governor Rick Perry to head the U.S. Department of Energy, and wasted no time making its first specific request of him: to support increased exports of America’s natural gas overseas. Trump named Perry as his pick for the top U.S. energy job on Wednesday morning, handing the portfolio to a climate change skeptic with close ties to the oil and gas industry, and who previously proposed abolishing the department.

From Trump and His New Team, Mixed Signals on Climate Change

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, December 15th, 2016

He brushed off it off as a Chinese hoax, then called it the real deal and finally declared that “nobody really knows.” When it comes to climate change, Donald Trump is sending mixed signals on whether or how he will try to slow Earth’s warming temperatures and rising sea levels. Since he was elected, Trump has met with prominent climate activists Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s suggested his daughter Ivanka, a close adviser, has a particular interest in the issue and could be his envoy. But he has also tapped oil industry champions for his Cabinet, men who say they’re determined to reverse President Barack Obama’s efforts to rein in emissions.

West Coast states to fight climate change even if Trump does not

Source: By Sharon Bernstein, Reuters • Posted: Thursday, December 15th, 2016

The governors of the three U.S. West Coast states on Tuesday vowed to step up their efforts to fight climate change in the face of the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, who has dismissed global warming as a hoax. Democratic governors Jerry Brown of California, Jay Inslee of Washington and Katherine Brown of Oregon made stark warnings that climate change was already harming the Pacific Ocean along which their states lie.

EPA Backs Off Finding That Fracking Is Safe for Water

Source: By Jacqueline Toth , OPIS • Posted: Thursday, December 15th, 2016

The EPA said Tuesday it’s less certain than it was 18 months ago that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, does not harm drinking water supplies. In June 2015, the agency issued a draft assessment of the oil and gas drilling process’ effects on nearby drinking water supplies that found “no widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.” But the final report, issued Tuesday, does not include that finding.

Solar installations reach record high in the third quarter

Source: By Ivan Penn, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Thursday, December 15th, 2016

Solar energy continued its bullish growth across the United States in the three months ended Sept. 30 with a record number of installations for a single quarter. California, by far the nation’s leader in use of solar, led the expansion and became the first state to install 1 gigawatt of solar power in a single quarter, according to the Solar Energy Industries Assn.

Utah regulators put Rocky Mountain Power net metering proposal on hold

Source: By Krysti Shallenberger, Utility Dive • Posted: Thursday, December 15th, 2016

RMP is returning to the drawing board for its net metering proposal in a move clean energy advocates applauded. Advocates earlier protested the proposal with additional fees and demand charges, both moves that have proved unpopular when utilities have tried them in other states. RMP however, had defended its proposal, saying last month that the average Utah solar customer underpays her actual cost-of service by $400 annually.

For new infrastructure, apply Republican approach to power and communications

Source: By Reed Hundt, The Hill • Posted: Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

One is the system of generating power, transmitting it to local utilities, distributing it to buildings and consuming it from the grid as efficiently as possible. This energy infrastructure attracts about $100 billion a year in capital expenditure, mostly by utilities. But it could use at least double that amount in order to guarantee that only domestic sources — principally natural gas, nuclear, solar and wind — are used. The other goal is to deliver the electricity to end users at the same or lower prices than are paid today.

America’s New Ambassador To China Is A Boon To The Renewables Sector

Source: By Tristan R. Brown, Seeking Alpha • Posted: Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The renewable energy trade between the U.S. and China has very much been bidirectional, however. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated that the U.S. was a net importer of wind turbines and wind turbine parts. Furthermore, Asia, primarily in the form of China, was the source of 42% of the value of those imports. The state of Iowa has installed an average of 500 MW of new wind power capacity annually over the last decade, more than any other state except Texas. Not all of this expansion occurred under Mr. Branstad, who was out of office between 1999 and 2011, and not all of the capacity was imported from China. Mr. Branstad has overseen some of the largest increases in capacity, however, and China has been financing U.S. wind power production even when it does not directly supply the turbines.

AP Sources: Trump Offers Montana’s Zinke Interior Secretary

Source: By Matthew Daly and Matthew Brown, Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump has offered Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke the job of interior secretary, though it’s unclear whether the congressman has accepted, two people with knowledge of the offer said Tuesday. Zinke, 55, is a retired Navy SEAL who was awarded two Bronze Stars for combat missions in Iraq. He was an early supporter of Trump and met with the president-elect Monday at Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Big Zap: Huge New Power Lines in West Get Federal OK

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

Two power line projects that won federal approval Tuesday will give a big capacity boost to the Western energy grid, including power for up to 1 million homes from what’s on track to become the biggest wind farm in the U.S. The TransWest Express project will help California meet its goal of getting half its electricity from renewable sources by 2030 by carrying up to 3,000 megawatts from the Chokecherry-Sierra Madre wind farm in southern Wyoming. The new power lines would span 728 miles from the wind farm to southern Nevada, crossing northwest Colorado and all of Utah along the way.