Energy & Technology

Eileen Claussen's Remarks at "Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power"

REMARKS BY EILEEN CLAUSSEN

PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS

C2ES DISCUSSION “CLIMATE SOLUTIONS: THE ROLE OF NUCLEAR POWER”

NATIONAL PRESS CLUB, WASHINGTON, D.C.

APRIL 28, 2014

 

Good morning and welcome. I'm Eileen Claussen, President of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. I want to thank you all for joining us today to talk about the role of nuclear power in achieving our climate goals.

As many of you know, we at C2ES work with policymakers and a wide range of stakeholders to develop sensible solutions to one of our most fundamental challenges. That challenge, simply put, is providing clean, secure, and affordable energy, while also protecting the global climate.

If you haven’t been paying attention, climate change is getting harder and harder to ignore. It’s no longer a far-off possibility; it’s a here-and-now reality. In the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s climate scientists state even more clearly and emphatically that global warming is real; it’s largely caused by us; and we’re already feeling the impacts.

Climate change poses serious risks for our environment, our communities, and our economy. Our “Weathering the Storm” report last year looked at how companies are responding to these increased risks and found that 90 percent of S&P Global 100 companies see extreme weather and other climate impacts as current or future business risks.

The new IPCC report also says that greenhouse gas emissions need to drop 40 to 70 percent by 2050. To do that, according to the IPCC, the world would need to more than triple the amount of energy it gets from non-carbon sources – sources like wind, solar and nuclear -- that provide the energy we need while producing no carbon emissions.

Against that backdrop, we think it’s important to consider the role of nuclear power in achieving our climate goals – and, in particular, the importance of the existing nuclear fleet in achieving the goal of reducing U.S. emissions 17 percent by 2020.

I’m very pleased to be joined this morning by such a high-caliber group: Peter Lyons, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy; Carol Browner, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a former EPA administrator, and Bill Mohl, President of Entergy Wholesale Commodities.

In a few minutes, I’ll ask each of them how they view this dilemma, and we’ll get into what I hope will be a lively discussion. Then, Janet Peace, our VP of Markets and Business Strategy, will keep the conversation going with a second panel of experts: David Brown, Senior Vice President of Federal Government Affairs at Exelon Corporation; Kimberly Clark, Chief Commercial Officer for North America at AREVA; and Susan Tierney, Senior Advisor at The Analysis Group.

Before we start the conversation, I’d like to lay a bit of a foundation. Every type of energy comes with its own set of issues and risks. In the case of nuclear power, these have included waste disposal, proliferation concerns, and safety risks, which were underscored three years ago by the Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Many countries re-examined their nuclear policies in the wake of Fukushima.  Japan shut down all of its reactors, which increased its fossil fuel reliance and its carbon emissions. The national government has indicated that it hopes to begin restarting some of those reactors soon.

Meanwhile, Germany shut down eight reactors immediately after Fukushima and revived its plan to shut down all of its nuclear reactors by 2022. Already, Germany has seen an increase in its coal-generated electricity -- and its carbon emissions.

Globally, though, the bigger picture is one of nuclear power holding steady – or, especially in parts of the developing world – growing fast. Sixty new reactors are currently under construction in 13 countries. China, which operates 20 reactors, is building 28 more, and is looking toward a ten-fold increase by 2030. The EIA projects that, globally, nuclear generating capacity will nearly double over the next 25 years.

To what degree this projected growth is driven by climate considerations is very hard to say. But there’s no question that every kilowatt-hour generated by nuclear and renewables instead of coal or natural gas means less carbon going into the atmosphere.

Let’s take a closer look now at the situation we face here in the United States. And for that, I’d like to walk you through some of the key findings of our new policy brief, which you’ll find in your packets.

Our climate problems and our energy system are, of course, closely intertwined.  You can’t talk about one without talking about the other. In the U.S., nearly 40 percent of our CO2 emissions come from the power sector, making it the largest source.  Nuclear power supplies about a fifth of U.S. electricity. But more importantly from a climate perspective, nuclear represents the lion’s share – more than 60 percent -- of zero-carbon electricity.  

What’s also important is the type of power that nuclear provides: baseload power that’s available all day, every day. This slide shows how the U.S. electricity mix varies over the course of a typical winter day. It shows that the baseload sources – the sources we rely on 24 hours a day -- are primarily coal, natural gas, hydropower, and nuclear.  

Renewable sources like wind and solar help primarily with meeting variable demand – which as you can see, peaks at 8 in the morning and 6 at night. They’re also vital sources of zero-carbon energy and help to diversify our energy supply. But they’re intermittent sources. And until large-scale energy storage is commercially viable, renewables will only be able to meet a small portion of our baseload needs.

Given nuclear’s current importance as a zero-carbon fuel, losing nuclear capacity will make it harder for the United States to meet its goal to reduce emissions 17 percent by 2020.

Unfortunately, that’s the direction we’re heading.

In the past year-and-a-half, power companies have announced the unexpected retirement of five reactors, representing 4 percent of the U.S. nuclear fleet. More may follow. Earlier this year, Exelon, the nation’s largest operator of nuclear power plants, announced that it, too, is considering early retirements for some of its Midwest reactors.

What’s it take to replace the nuclear power we’re losing?  To replace the power from five nuclear plants, you’d need 16 natural gas combined cycle power plants, which would emit a total of 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. If you turned to renewables, you’d need a lot -- roughly 7,600 wind turbines or 3.7 million solar PV rooftop panels -- to generate the same amount of electricity as five nuclear reactors. And, as I pointed out, wind and solar can’t currently provide baseload power.

I call these nuclear retirements “unexpected” because some reactors are closing earlier than their useful lifetime. This is happening for a variety of reasons, including depressed power prices, higher operating costs, and power market design challenges. Those were among the reasons cited for the early retirement of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power station. By the way, an official with New England’s grid operator recently said Vermont Yankee’s shutdown will mean burning more oil and natural gas next winter. Again: the wrong direction.

As we outline in our brief, lower natural gas prices and increases in wind power generation – both of which, we have to point out,  have climate benefits – are contributing to lower wholesale market prices for electricity. The power markets are technology-agnostic. They don’t value zero-carbon or baseload sources more highly than their alternatives. Meanwhile, life-extending capital investments and post-Fukushima safety improvements are adding to nuclear costs. The combination of these forces has led to unsustainably low revenue for several nuclear power plants.

A member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently expressed concern about the loss of baseload nuclear power. Commissioner John Norris said nuclear is critical to lowering emissions in the coming decades and that, in his words, "if we don't do something…we are letting some pretty big bridges be torn down."

What can be done to address these challenges? I hope we get some of those answers from our discussion today.

At C2ES, we’ve long felt the best approach for advancing low-carbon solutions, including nuclear power, is to put a price on carbon. Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to see Congress enact a national carbon price any time soon.

But there may be things that can be done at the state or regional level to help maintain the existing nuclear fleet. Hopefully, the carbon standards for power plants being developed by EPA will allow states the flexibility to meet them through market-based programs – effectively creating a price on carbon. This could integrate the carbon markets we already have in California and the Northeast, and encourage other states to follow suit. Another implementation option might be to apply a carbon price within regional power markets, benefiting zero-emission sources like nuclear and renewables.

So key questions here are how ambitious the EPA standards will be, how effective states will be at establishing market-based programs, and whether the whole will provide enough of a price signal to keep the existing nuclear fleet competitive.   

These are just some ideas, and we’d love to hear others.

The bottom line is that if we keep shutting down nuclear power plants, it’s going to be that much tougher to meet even our near-term climate goals. With the risks of climate change clear, present, and rising, I don’t believe we can afford to take a proven zero-carbon energy source out of the equation.

There’s a lot to discuss, so let's get the conversation started.

 

Incentive to capture carbon emissions would spur needed technology

If carbon dioxide were a valuable commodity instead of a waste product, there would be a lot more incentive to capture it.

It turns out some oil producers already find carbon dioxide so useful, they’re willing to pay for it. In fact, they pay upwards of $30 per ton of CO2, which they then inject underground to coax oil from declining wells.

U.S. oil producers have been practicing carbon dioxide enhanced oil recovery (CO2-EOR) for four decades. Historically, they’ve relied mostly on CO2 from naturally occurring underground reservoirs. A better idea is to use man-made carbon emissions that would otherwise go into the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.

No single solution to nuclear’s troubles

A range of tools, including state action and power market changes, are needed to ensure that existing nuclear power plants help keep the United States on track to meeting its climate goals. That was the consensus of experts C2ES convened this week at the National Press Club to discuss nuclear’s role as a zero-carbon energy source.

In a new brief, Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power, C2ES laid out some of the factors that led to the premature retirement of five nuclear reactors. Nuclear power provides more than 60 percent of zero-carbon emission electricity in the United States. So further closures will make it harder to reduce U.S. carbon emissions.

C2ES assembled a group of experts, including Peter Lyons, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy; Carol Browner, Center for American Progress Distinguished Senior Fellow and former EPA Administrator; and Bill Mohl, President of Entergy Wholesale Commodities, to suggest potential remedies for preserving the existing nuclear fleet.

Notably, not all of the 100 operating nuclear reactors are at risk, only the 46 that operate as “merchant” generators and compete in wholesale power markets. Pressures they face include low natural gas prices, renewables policy, a slowdown in demand for electricity, unfavorable power market structures, and the absence of a price on carbon.

Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power

Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power

February 2014

by Douglas Vine and Timothy Juliani

Download as a PDF

Nuclear power supplies more than 60 percent of the nation’s zero-carbon electricity. The planned retirement of five nuclear reactors could make it tougher to meet U.S. climate goals.  A C2ES brief examines the pressures on the nation’s nuclear fleet and possible climate implications of future retirements.

Infographic:
See how losing nuclear power makes it harder to meet our climate goals.

Download as PDF

 

Doug Vine
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Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power

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9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m, National Press ClubNuclear power supplies more than 60 percent of zero-carbon electricity in the United States. The unexpected retirement of five nuclear reactors is prompting concerns that additional closures could make it tougher to meet U.S. climate goals. C2ES releases a new brief examining this emerging dilemma and hosts a discussion with government, industry, and policy leaders.

Nuclear power supplies more than 60 percent of zero-carbon electricity in the United States. The unexpected retirement of five nuclear reactors is prompting concerns that additional closures could make it tougher to meet U.S. climate goals.

C2ES releases a new brief examining this emerging dilemma and hosts a discussion with government, industry, and policy leaders.

Monday, April 28
9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m

National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

Speakers:

PETER LYONS
Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy

CAROL BROWNER
Distinguished Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress
and Former EPA Administrator

BILL MOHL
President, Entergy Wholesale Commodities

DAVID BROWN
Senior Vice President, Federal Government Affairs, Exelon Corporation

KIMBERLY CLARK
Chief Commercial Officer, North America, AREVA, Inc.

SUSAN TIERNEY
Senior Adviser, Analysis Group

EILEEN CLAUSSEN
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions



 

C2ES: Losing nuclear power makes it harder to meet U.S. climate goals

Press release

April 28, 2014

Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org, 703-516-0621

 

C2ES: Losing nuclear power makes it harder to meet U.S. climate goals

WASHINGTON – Further closures of U.S. nuclear power plants will make it harder for the United States to reduce carbon emissions and meet its climate goals, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) says in a new policy brief.

The brief, "Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power,” examines the role of the existing U.S. nuclear fleet as a zero-carbon energy source, and why power companies have announced the unexpected retirement of five nuclear plants.

Nuclear power currently supplies the lion’s share -- more than 60 percent -- of zero-carbon electricity in the United States. Unlike other zero-carbon sources such as wind and solar, which are intermittent, nuclear provides “baseload” power available 24 hours a day.

“Losing more of our existing nuclear fleet will make it that much tougher to meet our carbon reduction goals,” said C2ES President Eileen Claussen. “We need to keep ramping up renewables, but they can’t meet our need for reliable power 24/7. Nuclear is a baseload source and it’s carbon-free – two things we need.”

The new brief was released today at a C2ES event with government, industry, and policy leaders at the National Press Club.

According to the C2ES brief, replacing the generation being lost from the five announced nuclear shutdowns would require 16 (400 MW) natural gas combined cycle power plants, which would provide baseload power but emit 12 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. Replacing the same capacity with renewables would require about 7,600 (1.5 MW) wind turbines or about 3.7 million (5kW) solar rooftop panels, which are carbon-free but can’t currently provide baseload power.

The United States has set a goal of reducing its total greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Although emissions had declined about 7 percent, they have begun rising again, and additional policies are needed to meet the 2020 goal. Electricity accounts for about a third U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

“These plants are shutting down early for a variety of reasons, including lower power prices, higher operating costs, and the way our regional power markets work,” said C2ES Senior Energy Fellow Doug Vine, who co-authored the brief.

Lower natural gas prices and increased wind power generation – which both have climate benefits – are contributing to lower wholesale electricity prices. At the same time, maintenance activities and mandated post-Fukushima safety enhancements are adding to nuclear power plant costs. Wholesale power markets operate strictly on price – and don’t value zero-carbon or baseload sources more than their alternatives – and some nuclear facilities are finding it harder to remain competitive.

“The best way to advance low-carbon solutions, including nuclear power, is to put a price on carbon,’’ Claussen said. “A comprehensive national approach is unlikely any time soon. But if well designed, the carbon standards EPA will soon propose for existing power plants could drive market-based programs at the state and regional level that could help maintain the existing nuclear fleet.”

Speakers at today’s C2ES event included Peter Lyons, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy; Carol Browner, Center for American Progress Distinguished Senior Fellow and former EPA Administrator; Bill Mohl, President of Entergy Wholesale Commodities; David Brown, Senior Vice President of Federal Government Affairs at Exelon Corporation; Kimberly Clark, Chief Commercial Officer, North America, AREVA; and Susan Tierney, Senior Advisor at the Analysis Group.

Read the brief at: http://bit.ly/C2esnclr

An infographic is available for publication at: http://bit.ly/C2esinfo

About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Learn more at www.c2es.org.

Replacing Lost Nuclear

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Nuclear power supplies more than 60 percent of the nation’s zero-carbon electricity. The planned retirement of five nuclear reactors could make it tougher to meet U.S. climate goals. A C2ES brief examines the pressures on the nation’s nuclear fleet and possible climate implications of future retirements.
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Natural gas power plant with CCS is a positive step for the climate

The increased availability of natural gas is leading to its expanded use worldwide. Substituting natural gas for coal as a fuel for generating electricity helps reduce the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change because burning natural gas emits only about half as much carbon as burning coal.

But half isn’t zero.

That’s why it’s important to note the recent announcement in the United Kingdom of the next step in building the first full-scale commercial natural gas power plant using carbon capture and storage (CCS).

In the Peterhead CCS project, international oil company Shell and British utility Scottish and Southern Energy Company are teaming up to retrofit a 385 MW natural gas power plant to capture post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2). Pipelines will take the CO2 to permanent storage in a depleted hydrocarbon reservoir two kilometers under the North Sea. When the project, which received U.K. government incentives, comes online in 2018, it will be able to capture and store 1 million tons of CO2 each year for 10 years.

Water for Energy and Energy for Water: Challenges and Opportunities for Utilities

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.Webinar 1: An overview of water/energy issues from national and federal perspectivesSee video here. View slides here.

Webinar 1: An overview of water/energy issues from national and federal perspectives

May 8, 2014

2 p.m. – 3 p.m. ET

Dr. Craig Zamuda from the Department of Energy (DOE) will present key findings from DOE’s recently released water/energy nexus report, attempting to distill some of the key issues and risks of which water and electric utilities should be aware. Dr. Kristen Averyt, Associate Director for Science for the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Director of the Western Water Assessment at the University of Colorado, will present her research regarding water-energy challenges that exist currently and are on the horizon.

See video here. View slides here.

Energy in the News

Each week, C2ES provides a roundup of top energy news. Each headline below links to the full story at the original news outlet, which is solely responsible for its content.  Additional links to relevant C2ES resources are also provided.

Week of July 14, 2014

  • Australia repeals carbon tax (Wall Street Journal)
    Australia's senate voted to repeal the country's politically divisive carbon tax. Australia is the 12th largest economy in the world and one of the largest carbon dioxide emitters on a per capita basis – carbon dioxide emissions divided by GDP – due to its heavy reliance on coal-fired power plants.
    More from C2ES on carbon tax
  • EIA predicts slowdown in power plant growth (Energy Information Administration)
    Business-as-usual modeling from the Energy Information Administration projects that just 351 GW of new electric generating capacity will be built between 2013 and 2040 in the power and end-use sectors. In 2012, the United States had around 1,060 GW of electric generating capacity. The majority of new capacity is projected to be natural gas-fired.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Utility-scale solar on course to add 3.8 GW in 2014 (Utility Dive)
    Utility-scale solar projects continue apace according to a new report from GTM Research. In the first half of 2014, around 1.1 GW of utility-scale solar capacity was added, bringing the total to around 7 GW.
    More from C2ES on solar power
  • NRG announces $1 billion Texas carbon capture project (Reuters)
    NRG Energy and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration announced their Petra Nova Carbon Capture Project, which will capture 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide per year from a refurbished coal-fired power unit for enhanced oil recovery beginning in 2016.
    More from C2ES on Carbon Capture and Storage
  • N.Y. nuclear reactor at risk of retirement (Energywire - Subscription)
    Exelon has requested assistance from the New York Public Service Commission to compel utility Rochester Gas & Electric to negotiate an agreement to purchase power from its Ginna Nuclear Power Plant (581 MW, located in Ontario, NY).
  • Japan completes first safety assessment of nuclear reactors (Bloomberg)
    Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority has completed its first assessment of a nuclear power plant. The Kyushu Electric Power Company's Sendai facility in southern Japan has passed safety checks. The utility hopes to resume operations this autumn.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • China behind schedule on offshore wind development (Bloomberg)
    With only 429 MW in place at the end of 2013, officials announced that China will not meet its goal to build more than 5,000 MW of offshore wind turbines by 2015.
    More from C2ES on wind power

Week of July 7, 2014

  • EIA forecasts lowest oil imports since 1970 (Energy Information Administration)
    In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that average U.S. oil production will rise from 7.4 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2013 to 9.3 million b/d in 2015 – the highest production level since 1972. EIA also expects the net imported share to fall from 33 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2015 – its lowest level since 1970. In 2005, the imported share was 60 percent of the petroleum products supplied.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Industrial natural gas use set to spike (Energywire - Subscription)
    Researchers at the University of Texas estimate that industrial consumption of natural gas in 2020 will likely increase by 19 percent above 2012 levels as new petrochemical processing facilities come online.
  • GE, Suncor announce oil sands deal (Energywire - Subscription)
    General Electric and Canada's Suncor Energy announced projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water usage from in situ oil sands extraction facilities.
    More from C2ES on oil sands
  • EU offshore wind targets in doubt (Cimatewire - Subscription)
    According to the European Wind Energy Association, European countries, particularly France and Germany, are falling significantly behind on their offshore wind development targets. This could affect the European Union's binding target of achieving 20 percent of its energy consumption from renewable energy by 2020.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • China's second-largest hydropower station is now fully operational (Xinhua)
    Xiluodu, China's second-largest hydropower station and the third biggest in the world, started full operation earlier this month. The plant can generate up to 13,860 MW. The Three Gorges Dam, also in China, can generate 22,500 MW and the Itaipu Dam on the Brazil-Paraguay border has an installed capacity of 14,000 MW.
    More from C2ES on hydropower
  • World's largest nuclear plant unlikely to restart this year (Reuters)
    Japan's Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant (7 reactors) is unlikely to restart this year. The newly formed Nuclear Regulation Authority, vetting restart applications from nine utilities, has fallen far behind screening applications.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

Week of June 30, 2014

  • DOE loan for Cape Wind likely (Department of Energy)
    The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the first step toward issuing a $150 million loan guarantee for the Cape Wind offshore wind project. The controversial 360 megawatt (MW) project off the Massachusetts coast will need around $2.6 billion in project financing according to Bloomberg news.
    More from C2ES on wind
  • North Dakota moves to capture more flared natural gas (Energywire - Subscription)
    North Dakota approved an additional policy aimed at capturing natural gas from oil production sites. Noncompliant drillers will face significant production restrictions.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • BNEF report bullish on global renewable growth (CimateWire - Subscription)
    Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) 2030 Market Outlook expects that by 2030 more than half of the world’s electric power capacity will be from zero-emission energy sources. In 2012, the zero-emission share of electric capacity was a little more than a third.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • China looks to natural gas as a fix for air pollution concerns (CimateWire - Subscription)
    China continues to ink deals and create supportive policy for consuming more natural gas. It is hoping to displace more of coal’s share of its overall energy mix, thereby improving air quality and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • More Nuclear Power for the United Kingdom (New York Times)
    Toshiba and GDF Suez have announced plans to build 3 reactors (~3,400 MW) in the northwest of England. The reactors are expected to begin coming online in 2024, and the facility’s estimated cost is a minimum of $17 billion. According to the World Nuclear Association, the government aims to have around 16,000 MW of new nuclear capacity operating by 2030.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 23, 2014

  • Four-decade ban on crude oil exports loosened (Wall Street Journal)
    In a private ruling, the Commerce Commission has reportedly given two U.S. companies permission to ship unprocessed ultralight oil (condensate) from the Texas Eagle Ford Shale formation abroad.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Texan policy helps expand transmission (Energy Information Administration)
    Over the past four years, the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones program in Texas has spurred the development of new transmission, which has relieved system congestion and led to the reduced occurrence of wind curtailment (excess wind power being restricted by the grid operator due to physical limitations) and negative power prices.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • DTE to cut its coal fleet by a third (CimateWire - Subscription)
    Michigan’s largest electric utility DTE announced that it plans to cut 2,000 MW of its coal-fired capacity by 2025 due to plant age, market conditions and new regulations from the EPA.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • NOAA report weighs in on global methane emissions (CimateWire - Subscription)
    A new report from researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Earth Systems Research Lab found that methane emissions from the natural gas industry globally were most likely between 2 and 4 percent of the gas produced since 2000 and trending downward. The report suggests that “further reductions from the natural gas industry may be needed to ensure climate benefits over coal during the next few decades.”
    More from C2ES on natural gas

Week of June 16, 2014

  • Gazprom stops supplying natural gas to Ukraine (New York Times)
    Russian energy company Gazprom stopped supplying natural gas to Ukraine last week after it missed a Monday morning deadline for payment.
  • Sempra Energy wins approval for LNG export (Bloomberg)
    Sempra Energy's Cameron LNG export terminal (Hackberry, LA) became the second facility to win government approval after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission voted unanimously to let the nearly $10 billion project proceed. The facility will export up to 1.7 billion cubic feet per day. Cheniere's Sabine Pass plant (TX/LA border) is the only other facility approved to ship LNG to non-free-trade agreement (FTA) countries like Japan, India and the European Union; it is expect to begin exporting LNG in late 2015.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Global coal consumption at highest level in decades (Greenwire - subscription)
    In 2013 according to the BP World Statistical Energy Review, global primary energy (oil, natural gas, coal, renewable energy and nuclear electric power) use increased by 2.3 percent. Coal was the fastest growing fossil fuel in 2013, and its share of global energy consumption reached 30.1 percent, its highest share of the mix since 1970.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Strong growth continues in domestic crude oil production (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, for the second year in a row, domestic crude production grew by more than 14 percent from the previous year. In 2013, the United States produced on average nearly 7.5 million barrels of crude oil per day, up nearly 50 percent from 2008 levels, which were around 5 million barrels per day.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Canada approves KXL alternative (CTV)
    The Canadian federal government announced conditional approval of Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline. If constructed, the 730 mile pipeline would carry up to 525,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the port of Kitimat, British Columbia.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • MISO gives retiring plants a lifeline to preserve system reliability (Midwest Energy News)
    In the past two years, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) has ordered at least seven coal- and gas-fired power plants (which had planned to retire) to keep running in order to preserve electrical system reliability. The plants are designated as "System Support Resources" and the plant operators are compensated for their service.

Week of June 9, 2014

  • “Golden Age” of gas coming to China (International Energy Agency)
    In its latest Medium-Term Gas Report, the International Energy Agency expects natural gas demand to increase 90 percent by 2019 in China, where air quality concerns are prompting government plans to reduce pollution.
  • New rules to reduce ND flaring now in effect (Energywire - subscription)
    As of June 1, permits will only be issued to oil and natural gas producers in North Dakota that can demonstrate to regulators a plan to harness most of the natural gas that comes up during oil drilling. Currently, around one-third of natural gas associated with oil production in the state is flared (burned) directly into the atmosphere.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • CAPP lowers oil sands production forecast (Edmonton Journal)
    In its latest annual report, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) forecasts oil sands production levels to reach 4.8 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2030, which is around 400,000 b/d or 8 percent lower than last year’s 2030 forecast. CAPP cites cost competitiveness and project schedule delays for the shift in 2030 production.
  • Oil prices up on turmoil in Iraq (Reuters)
    Oil futures hit a 9-month high on concerns over escalating violence in Iraq. The OPEC country provides more than 3 million b/d of global crude supply.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • MIT report shows cap-and-trade policy as the low cost option (ClimateWire - subscription)
    A new report from researchers at MIT modeled six climate policy scenarios and found, among other things, that a national cap-and-trade system could reduce emissions at a fraction of the cost of command-and-control regulations.
    More from C2ES on cap-and-trade
  • Google to build tools for electric utilities (Bloomberg)
    Seizing on a market opportunity, Google’s Energy Access team is said to be in the early stages of developing software and hardware tools to manage power lines and other system infrastructure.
    More from C2ES on electricity

Week of June 2, 2014

  • EPA proposes rules for existing power plants (New York Times)
    The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to cut U.S. carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 from existing power plants.
    More from C2ES on carbon pollution standards
  • Domestic energy production continues to rise (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, U.S. energy production was enough to satisfy 84 percent of total U.S energy demand. This is up from 69 percent (historical low point) in 2005.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • IEA says Mideast oil investment needed (Wall Street Journal)
    A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights the importance of Middle East oil supply in the mid-2020s, as the current U.S. oil boom begins to decline around that time.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • NREL and LBNL analyses the effect of RPS on electricity rates (ClimateWire - Subscription)
    A study by the National Renewables Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has found, among other things, that renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which mandate the development of wind, solar and other renewable energy sources, has resulted in electricity rates around 1 percent higher, on average, than they would have been in the absence of the RPS.
    More from C2ES on RPS
  • Dominion considers new natural gas pipeline (Richmond Times Dispatch)
    Dominion Transmission is considering building a $2 billion, 450 mile natural gas pipeline from the Marcellus shale region in West Virginia to end-users in North Carolina.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Global non-hydro renewable power capacity increased nearly 17 percent in 2013 (REN21)
    According to a United Nations report, non-hydro renewable power capacity increased by 80 GW to 560 GW worldwide; in 2013, solar photovoltaic (PV) increased by 39 GW and wind power increased by 35 GW.
    More from C2ES on renewable energy

Week of May 26, 2014

  • DOE proposes changes to LNG export application process (Reuters)
    In an attempt to streamline and expedite the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export application process, the Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed changes. Additionally, the DOE plans to conduct additional studies to determine the economic impact of exporting between 12 and 20 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of U.S. LNG per day. Permits have already been conditionally issued that would result in the export of around 8.5 Bcf per day.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Solar deployment continues apace (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    According to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association in the first quarter of 2014, 1,330 MW of solar PV was installed – 232 MW in the residential sector, 225 MW in the commercial sector and 873 MW in the utility sector – it was the second-largest ever quarterly total. There is currently around 13,400 MW of PV solar capacity in the United States.
    More from C2ES on solar energy
  • Three Exelon nuclear plants fail to clear PJM auction (Energywire - Subscription)
    Exelon’s Quad Cities and Byron nuclear plants in Illinois and its Oyster Creek facility in New Jersey failed to clear in PJM’s annual capacity auction last week. "That means expected revenue for those plants will likely fall short of their costs of operation," said Tim Hanley, an Exelon senior vice president. Capacity markets create important forward price signals and provide compensation to power plants today for the promise of future capacity. Note that the Oyster Creek plant is already scheduled to retire in 2019.
    More from C2ES on Climate Solutions: The Role of Nuclear Power

Week of May 19, 2014

  • Russia signs long-term natural gas deal with China (BBC)
    Russia’s Gazprom and China’s National Petroleum Corporation signed a 30-year deal estimated to be worth in excess of $400 billion. Starting in 2018, Gazprom is expected to deliver around 38 billion cubic meters or around 1.34 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) a year to China. In 2013, the United States consumed 26 Tcf of natural gas, of which 8.15 Tcf (31 percent) was in the electric power sector.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Shell sees no stranded assets in a carbon-constrained future (Energywire - Subscription)
    In a recently released paper, Shell reports that none of its proven oil and gas reserves are at risk of becoming irrelevant even if stringent climate regulations come into effect, such as those associated with the International Energy Administration’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook (WEO) “450” scenario – in which government actions set the energy system on-track to keeping the long-term average global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
    More from C2ES on oil
  • China ups zero-carbon emission energy source targets (Bloomberg)
    According to information posted on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website, China plans to triple its solar capacity to 70 GW by 2017. Additionally, it plans to increase wind capacity to 150 GW from 92 GW (2013), hydropower to 330 GW from 249 GW (2012) and nuclear to 50 GW from 12.5 GW (2012) by 2017. In 2012, 758 GW (66 percent) of 1,145 GW of total installed electricity capacity was coal-fired generation.

Week of May 12, 2014

  • EPA existing power plant emission rules will not harm reliability (Energywire - Subscription)
    A report from the Analysis Group asserts that upcoming EPA rules for carbon dioxide emissions will not threaten electrical system reliability because, among other things, "Section 111(d) [of the Clean Air Act] affords states considerable latitude to mitigate and otherwise resolve reliability concerns."
    More from C2ES on EPA regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants
  • NERC report highlights peak-power issues for Texas and Midwest (Greenwire - Subscription)
    In its summer reliability assessment 2014, The North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) highlights unit and baseload plant retirements as well as constraints within natural gas infrastructure systems as operational challenges for the Texas and Midwest electrical grid.
    Florida utility gets nod for two new reactors
    (Energywire - Subscription)
  • Last week, Florida Power & Light (FPL) received approval from the governor and his Cabinet to add two 1,100 MW reactors to its Turkey Point nuclear generation facility located 25 miles south of Miami. Federal combined construction and operating licenses (COL) from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are likely years away from being issued. Still, FPL is hoping to complete the reactors in 2022 and 2023.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Rhode Island offshore wind farm secures permit (Providence Journal)
    Deepwater Wind moved a step closer to becoming the nation's first offshore wind project when it secured a key permit last Tuesday. The 30 MW, 5 turbine project, to be located 3 miles southeast of Block Island, expects to begin transmission construction in 2014 and offshore construction in 2015.
  • 14 offshore wind projects in advanced stages of development (Utility Dive)
    Navigant consulting has identified 14 offshore wind projects, located off the Mid-Atlantic, New England and Texas coasts, with 3,900 MW of capacity that have reached an advanced stage of development.
    More from C2ES on wind energy
  • China responsible for 49 percent of global coal consumption (Energy Information Administration)
    Increasing for the 13th consecutive year in 2012, China produced 46 percent of global coal and consumed 49 of global coal – almost as much as the rest of the world combined.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of May 5, 2014

  • EIA outlook for U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are flat (Energy Information Administration)
    In the business-as-usual scenario of the Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (full report released last week), energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 are 8.7 percent below 2005 levels and 6.7 percent below 2005 levels in 2040. Lower economic growth, increased use of renewable technologies and fuels, vehicle efficiency improvements, slower growth of electricity demand and greater use of natural gas (substituted for coal) are factors driving this trend.
  • Natural gas prices fall as inventories increase (24/7 Wall St)
    Last week, natural gas prices eased ($4.63/MMBtu) from their recent April highs ($4.81/MMBtu) as storage levels continue to recover from the massive drawdown during an exceptionally cold winter.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Dominion Resources to study if its nuclear reactors can run 80 years (Power Engineering)
    Dominion Resources is looking into the feasibility of extending the operating licenses of its six reactors (Surry, North Anna, and Millstone) for an additional 20 years.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • U.S. coal shipments to Europe remain strong (Wall Street Journal)
    In 2013, the 28-nation European Union (EU) imported 47.2 million tons of U.S. coal, nearly 3.5 times the amount it imported 10 years ago. Last year, only Russia supplied more coal to the EU than the United States.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of April 28, 2014

  • Exelon plans to buy Pepco (New York Times)
    Last Wednesday, Exelon announced it would buy Pepco Holdings for $6.8 billion. Pepco provides power to customers in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Washington, DC. The combined companies will have around 10 million customers.
  • More delays for Kemper CCS (Sun Herald)
    Last week, Mississippi Power announced that its 582 MW Kemper County Energy Facility will be delayed around six months and not go online until the first half of 2015. The first-of-its-kind plant will convert locally sourced lignite coal to synthesis gas (syngas), capture the pre-combustion carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery, and utilize the syngas to generate electric power. Overall, the technology will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 65 percent.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture and storage
  • U.S. could nearly double its hydropower capacity (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    A report from the Department of Energy estimates that there could be 65 GW of potential new hydropower developed across all 50 states. In 2013, hydropower provided almost 7 percent of U.S. electricity.
    More from C2ES on hydropower
  • New England’s natural gas infrastructure issue (Wall Street Journal)
    Last January (one of the coldest in decades) in New England at one point, nearly 75 percent of natural gas plants were idle because the operators couldn’t get natural gas or buy it at the right price.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • NREL and INL collaborating on linking nuclear and renewable power (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Idaho National Laboratory (INL) have been jointly exploring ways of combining nuclear and renewable energy systems into a hybrid energy system. A white paper is expected soon.
    More from C2ES on nuclear energy
  • Report estimates future Chinese nuclear capacity (Wood Mackenzie)
    A new report from research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie estimates that China could have around 175 GW of installed nuclear capacity by 2030. In comparison, the EIA’s IEO 2013 estimated that China would have an installed nuclear capacity of 120 GW by 2030 and 160 GW by 2040. According to 2013 data from the Chinese National Energy Association, it currently has around 14 GW (1 percent) of nuclear out of a total of 1,244 GW installed capacity.
    More from C2ES on policies in key countries

Week of April 21, 2014

  • Natural gas prices expected to remain around $4/MMbtu (Energy Wire - Subscription)
    In its latest Strategic Natural Gas Outlook, consulting firm ICF sees natural gas prices remaining around $4 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) for the next decade, as efficiencies have improved and drillers are getting more of the gas out of the shale formations.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Solar capacity expanding rapidly (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    According to the EIA, since 2010 U.S. solar capacity increased 418 percent from 2,326 MW, accounting for 0.2 percent of total electric generation, to today's 12,057 MW, or 1.13 percent of generation.
    More from C2ES on solar power
  • U.S. geothermal energy growth lagging (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    In 2013, the United States added just 85 MW of geothermal energy. Globally, geothermal energy added 530 MW last year, and it’s growing at 4 to 5 percent per year.
    More from C2ES on geothermal electricity
  • Capacity market reforms mooted (Energywire - Subscription)
    Nuclear plant operators believe that capacity market reforms are necessary to help preserve electrical system reliability.
    More from C2ES on electric power
  • DOE plans to use loan guarantees to spur energy storage breakthrough (Utility Dive)
    The Department of Energy will use up to $1.5 billion in loan guarantees approved by Congress in 2009 to support energy storage, demand response and efforts to make electrical grids more resilient.
    More from C2ES on energy storage

Week of April 14, 2014

  • Keystone XL pipeline decision delayed (New York Times)
    On Friday, the Obama administration put on hold its permitting decision for the Keystone XL pipeline until after ongoing litigation in Nebraska that may ultimately affect the pipeline route is resolved.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL pipeline
  • Global emissions growing more quickly (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
    According to a new report from the IPCC, global annual greenhouse gas emissions grew on average 1 gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent or 2.2 percent per year from 2000 to 2010, a higher rate than in each of the previous three decades. The latest report also describes, among other things, mitigation pathways – technical measures and behavioral changes – to limit global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
    More from C2ES on IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)
  • Canada’s oil and gas sector is now largest source of GHGs (Environment Canada)
    The latest National Inventory Report from Environment Canada shows that the oil and gas sector edged out transportation to become the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in 2012. Overall, Canada’s greenhouse gases fell slightly, down 0.3 percent from 2011 levels.
    More from C2ES on oil sands
  • Carbon capture could help lower future oil sands emissions (The Globe and Mail)
    Husky Energy is partnering with CO2 Solutions to build a pilot carbon capture project at its Pike Peak South oil project in Saskatchewan. The project will use enzyme-based solutions to scrub carbon dioxide from the emissions of natural gas boilers as opposed to ammonia-based scrubbers, which it believes will lead to cost reductions.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture and storage
  • Maine leads all U.S. states in non-hydro renewable power generation (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, the U.S. derived 6.2 percent of its electricity generation from non-hydro renewable sources. Maine led all states by generating 32 percent of its electricity from non-hydro renewables, primarily biomass generation from the wood products industry. 11 states generated electricity from non-hydro renewables at double the U.S. average.
    More from C2ES on renewable energy
  • White papers on methane and VOC emissions offer clues to how EPA might regulate (Energywire - Subscription)
    The EPA released 5 white papers last week on potential significant sources of methane and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the oil and gas sector, including Compressors, Emissions from completions and ongoing production at hydraulic fractured oil wells, Leaks, Liquids unloading and Pneumatic devices.
    More from C2ES on methane emissions
  • Tepco will seeks bids for new thermal power plants (Bloomberg)
    Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), Japan’s largest utility, plans to ask for bids for up to 6 GW of new thermal generation. It did not specify which fuels the plants will use.
    More from C2ES on policies in key countries

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