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

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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



 

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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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 November 17, 2014

Week of November 10, 2014

Week of November 3, 2014

  • Oil prices tumble again (Wall Street Journal)
    U.S. benchmark crude prices tumbled to a three-year low after Saudi Arabia cut prices for U.S. buyers. This is good news for consumers, but sustained lower crude prices could threaten some U.S. producers.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Progress on world carbon capture projects (ClimateWire - Subscription)
    According to the latest report from the Global CCS Institute, there are now 22 major projects either under construction or operating that capture and store carbon dioxide (CO2) from the industrial and power sectors. The total CO2 captured from these 22 projects will be around 40 million metric tons per year or the equivalent of taking around 8.4 million vehicles off the road annually.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture and storage
  • Keystone XL pipeline prospects get a boost from elections (CBC News)
    With a Republican takeover of the Senate last week, the chances of the Keystone XL pipeline being approved increased. The $8 billion, 830,000 barrel per day, 1,200-mile pipeline would travel from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska via the Canadian Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the U.S. states of Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • Japanese reactors set to restart early next year (BBC News)
    After clearing a final legislative hurdle, the two reactors at the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant (1,692 MW) are set to become the first of a possible 48 reactors restarted after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • China aims to cap some industrial emissions (ClimateWire - Subscription)
    China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced that it plans to cap carbon dioxide emissions from the steel and cement industries at 2015 levels.
    More from C2ES on international emissions

Week of October 27, 2014

  • Allowing crude oil exports could lower U.S. gasoline prices (Energy Information Administration)
    A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) finds that lifting the 40-year old crude oil export ban could result in higher U.S. crude prices and lower U.S. gasoline prices.
  • TransCanada files application for Energy East pipeline (Toronto Globe and Mail)
    TransCanada filed for regulatory approval of its 1.1 million barrel per day, 2,800 mile Energy East crude oil pipeline from Alberta to refineries and ports in Eastern Canada.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • EIA releases updated LNG export study (Energy Information Administration)
    The EIA released an updated study on the effect of increased levels of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports on U.S. energy markets. The new study looked at much higher LNG export levels (12 to 20 billion cubic feet per day), which the modelers noted were not very likely scenarios. An earlier analysis looked at more modest export levels.
  • Lithuania receives floating natural gas terminal (New York Times)
    Built in South Korea, a floating natural gas terminal will allow Lithuania (Latvia and Estonia) to immediately receive shipments of liquefied natural gas from Norway.
  • Sasol will move ahead with $8.1 billion chemical plant (Bloomberg)
    South African energy and chemicals company Sasol announced that it will construct an $8.1 billion plant in Louisiana that will convert natural gas into plastics and other products.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Emissions drop puts EU just shy of 2020 goal (AP)
    European Union (EU) greenhouse gas emissions fell 2 percent in 2013. The 28-nation bloc has a goal to reduce its emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. While many EU countries were meeting their national reduction targets, Germany and Spain were not.
    More from C2ES on emissions
  • Battery storage cheaper than fossil fuel peaker plant? (Financial Times)
    A private Swiss firm, Alevo, claims to have made a breakthrough in electricity storage technology. It plans to invest $1 billion in a new battery plant in North Carolina.
    More from C2ES on electric energy storage

Week of October 13, 2014

  • Lower oil prices means projects at risk (Fuel Fix)
    With the recent sharp decline in oil prices, projects in the Canadian oil sands, offshore fields in Norway and drilling-intensive U.S. shale plays are among the most vulnerable to reduced investment, curtailment or cancellation.
  • Lifting crude export ban might not lower gasoline prices (The Hill)
    Preliminary results from an EIA study suggest that domestic gasoline prices are set in global energy markets, and that lifting the ban on exporting U.S. crude might not have much of a price impact.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • North Dakota announces $4 billion plastic factory (Fuel Fix)
    Badlands NGL unveiled its plans to construct a 3.3 billion pound per year polyethylene factory in North Dakota. The largest private investment ever in the state will help to capture some of the natural gas that is currently being flared due to a lack of natural gas infrastructure.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Exelon to build natural gas CCS project (Exelon Press Release)
    Exelon announced plans for a first-of-its-kind natural gas power plant that produces no emissions. It will produce pipeline quality carbon dioxide, which can be sequestered underground, used for industrial purposes or enhanced oil recovery. The $140 million, 50 MWth facility will be built in Texas, and is expected to be operational in 2016.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture and storage
  • Lockheed claims fusion energy breakthrough (Scientific American)
    Lockheed Martin claims that it has made a technological breakthrough in the area of fusion energy, and believes it could build a compact (seven by ten foot) 100 MW nuclear fusion reactor within 10 years.
    More from C2ES on energy

Week of October 6, 2014

  • Investments in efficiency outpacing renewables: IEA (Bloomberg)
    According to a new report from the International Energy Agency, global investments in reducing energy waste and increasing efficiency are overtaking investments in wind and solar energy.
  • U.S. net energy imports continue to fall (Energy Information Administration)
    U.S. energy production continues to surge, while growth in consumption is modest. As a result, net energy imports are 17 percent lower in the first half of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Canadian crude exports to US ramping up (Reuters)
    According to EIA data, Canada exported an average of 3.2 million barrels per day of crude to the United States in the week ended October 3, up 18 percent from the previous week and up 35 percent from the same period a year earlier.
  • Oil prices continue to slide (Bloomberg)
    West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. oil benchmark, fell below $85 a barrel last week (and global crude prices weren’t far behind at around $88 a barrel). If prices continue to fall lower, the economic viability of some non-conventional oil plays could be at risk, lowering overall U.S. production.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Proposed Texas LNG export facility clears environmental hurdle (Fuel Fix)
    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has determined that Cheneire’s Corpus Christi liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility will not significantly harm the environment, clearing the way for full approval.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • France reiterates its pledge to reduce nuclear power (Reuters)
    Citing the high cost of maintaining its aging nuclear fleet, France plans to bring down nuclear power’s share of its electricity mix from 75 percent today to 50 percent by 2025.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

Week of September 29, 2014

  • U.S. CO2 emissions up again (The Hill)
    In the first half of 2014, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of fossil fuels were 2.7 percent higher than the same period during 2013, and 6 percent higher than the same period during 2012.
    More from C2ES on U.S. climate pledge
  • Cove Point LNG export terminal clears environmental hurdle (Capital Gazette)
    Dominion Energy’s proposed Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
  • Australians' natural gas bills soar amid LNG export boom (Wall Street Journal)
    With seven LNG export projects expected to come on line in the next three to four years, Australia will become the largest LNG exporter in the world. Australia’s natural gas prices have risen sharply in anticipation of tighter supplies.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Presidential permit issued for Quebec to Queens power line (Greenwire - subscription)
    The Department of Energy will grant a presidential permit for a $2.2 billion, 1,000 MW power transmission line extending from Quebec to New York City. In 2011, more than 97 percent of Quebec’s electricity came from hydropower.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Kemper Plant delayed again (Climate Wire - subscription)
    Startup of Mississippi Power’s Kemper County Energy Facility, which will be the first large-scale U.S. power plant to capture the majority of its carbon dioxide emissions, is being delayed into the second half of 2015 due to issues related to “start up activities and operational readiness.”
    More from C2ES on carbon capture and storage

Week of September 22, 2014

  • Crude by rail is here to stay (Wall Street Journal)
    Initially conceived of as a stopgap measure until pipelines could be constructed, attractive economics have contributed to crude by rail becoming a permanent part of the nation’s energy infrastructure.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Statoil halts oil sands project (Wall Street Journal)
    Citing high costs and shipping bottlenecks, Statoil has shelved its Corner in-situ oil sands project for at least three years.
    More from C2ES on oil sands
  • California utility plans largest battery energy storage project in North America (Greentech Media)
    Southern California Edison announced plans for an 8 MW lithium-ion battery storage (4-hour duration) demonstration project located near one of California’s best wind resources in the Tehachapi Mountains.
    More from C2ES on electric energy storage
  • Eastern coal production continues to slow (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    According to data from SNL Financial, more than three quarters of the recent drop in national coal production occurred in the Central Appalachian region, i.e., eastern Kentucky, southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of September 15, 2014

  • GAO report expects more coal power plant retirements (The Hill)
    The Government Accountability Office reported that around 13 percent of the nation’s 2012 coal power plant capacity will retire by 2025 as a result of environmental regulations, and increased competition from falling natural gas prices, among other things.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Drilling productivity is rising (Wall Street Journal)
    Innovation in oil and natural gas extraction technology is leading to significant increases in production per new well; some analysts suggest that U.S. supply can continue to rise through 2040.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • NRC certifies new reactor design (Greenwire - Subscription)
    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the GE Hitachi Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) design for use in the United States. The ESBWR is a 1,574 MW reactor, which incorporates passive safety features that would automatically cool the reactor in the event of an accident without the need for human intervention.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Shell to resume Arctic exploration next summer (Energy Wire - Subscription)
    The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management made public Shell’s plan to drill for oil in Alaska’s Chukchi Sea. The company plans to use 2 rigs to drill up to 6 wells in 2015.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Demand response market growth rate lowered (Utility Dive)
    A report from Greentech Media has nearly halved the annual growth rate of the demand response market. FERC Order 745, which would have ensured demand response resources received full market prices in wholesale power markets, was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals earlier this year.
    More from C2ES on residential end-use efficiency

Week of September 8, 2014

Week of September 1, 2014

  • PNM to ask for rate increase to pay for falling revenues (Utility Dive)
    Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) will seek a rate increase to recover its costs. While some areas of the country are beginning to see rising electricity sales in a nationally-improving economy, a weak economy, energy conservation and self-generation like rooftop solar have resulted in lower electricity sales in New Mexico.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • EPA issues key permit for carbon capture project (Houston Chronicle)
    The Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit that will allow the FutureGen 2.0 clean coal project to store carbon dioxide emissions underground. The commercial-scale (200 MW) power plant aims to capture and permanently sequester nearly all of its carbon dioxide emissions in deep saline aquifers. The Illinois-based project is expected to come online in late 2017.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture and storage
  • Water availability could hamper energy extraction efforts (Fuel Fix)
    A new report from World Resources Institute finds that 38 percent of global shale gas and tight oil resources are in areas where water resources are highly constrained. Typically, energy extraction from these geological formations is extremely water intensive.
    More from C2ES on water and energy
  • Shell’s Appalachia strategy looks promising (Fuel Fix)
    Shell’s two successful discovery wells in Tioga County, Pennsylvania may suggest that the sweet spot of the Utica Shale formation is considerably larger than previously thought.
    More from C2ES on natural gas

Week of August 25, 2014

  • Vancouver approves new coal export facility (CBC)
    Port Metro Vancouver issued a permit to allow the existing deep-water facility - Fraser Surrey dock - to expand and export around 4.4 million tons of U.S. coal per year. Although this facility does not currently ship coal, in 2013 Canada’s largest port (Vancouver) exported nearly 42 million tons of (28.5) metallurgical and (13.2) thermal coal.
  • Australian economist sees end to coal-dominated growth model in China (Sydney Morning Herald
    In a recent report, climate policy expert and economist Ross Garnaut sees Chinese coal consumption falling 0.1 percent per year from 2014 to 2020 – a historic turnaround.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • China to start national carbon market in 2016 (Reuters)
    A senior Chinese climate official, Sun Cuihua, told a conference in Beijing that China plans to launch its national market for carbon permit trading in 2016. When fully operational, it will be the largest market in the world.
    More from C2ES on China and climate change
  • Rail deliveries of U.S. oil continue to increase (Department of Energy Information Administration)
    During the first seven months of 2014 around 8 percent of U.S. oil production was moved via rail. The average volume of crude and refined oil products delivered via rail has doubled since 2012 to more than 1.5 million barrels per day.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Renewables to generate more than one quarter of electricity by 2020 (The Hill)
    In its latest Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report, the International Energy Agency expects more than $1.6 trillion to be invested in new renewable energy capacity between now and 2020, when renewable sources will account for more than one quarter of global electricity generation.
    More from C2ES on renewable energy

Week of August 18, 2014

  • Oregon rejects permit request for coal export facility (Reuters)
    Oregon’s Department of State Lands denied Ambre Energy’s request to build a coal export terminal on the Columbia River at the Port of Morrow. The facility would have exported around 8.8 million tons of coal per year. In 2013, the United States exported 117 million tons of coal. Ambre has 21 days to appeal the decision.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Massive Wyoming wind farm to proceed with or without federal credit (Casper Star Tribune)
    Power Company of Wyoming announced that its up to 1,000 turbine (3,000 MW) wind farm in Carbon County will proceed regardless of the status of the federal production tax credit. When completed, the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind farm will be the largest in the United States.
  • U.S. wind capacity expected to increase 25 percent (Department of Energy)
    In the latest Department of Energy Wind Technologies Market Report, U.S. wind capacity addition forecasts for 2014 through 2016 from Bloomberg NEF, IHS EER, Navigant, and MAKE Consulting increase the current installed capacity (61 GW) by 15.1 to as much as 20.5 GW. In 2013, wind supplied 4.1 percent of total U.S. electric power generation.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • U.S. firms helping China develop shale resource (Houston Chronicle)
    China, home to the world’s largest, albeit geologically challenging shale resource is sweetening deals with U.S. firms to gain their know-how.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Tennessee reactor on schedule and within budget (The Chattanoogan)
    In its most recent quarterly filing, the Tennessee Valley Authority reports that the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant unit 2 is more than 90 percent complete. The 1,150 MW reactor will most likely go on-line in December 2015 and the final cost is projected to be $4.2 billion. It will be the first new nuclear reactor built in the United States since 1996.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

Week of August 11, 2014

  • EPA moving forward with rule to protect fish (The Hill)
    After a three-month delay, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published the cooling water intake structure rule in the Federal Register last week. More than 1,000 existing power plants will soon be required to implement measures to prevent fish from getting sucked into their cooling water systems. Note that more than 40 percent of the affected facilities have already implemented the required technologies.
    More from C2ES on cooling water intake rule
  • Pipeline firm plans $1.75 billion infrastructure investment (Fuel Fix)
    Columbia Pipeline Group announced its plan to build two new pipelines to move stranded Marcellus and Utica shale gas to nearby states and its interstate network.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • South Carolina nuclear reactors delayed (GSA Business)
    SCANA Corp announced that the two 1,117 MW reactors it is constructing at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station could be delayed by 2 ½ to 3 years from the original schedule. The new expected online dates are late 2018 for one unit and the first half of 2019 for the second unit.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Oil prices fall on weaker demand and ample supply (Bloomberg)
    World and U.S. benchmark crude oil prices fell last week on weak economic data from the euro area and oversupply in the Atlantic basin.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • India was fourth-largest energy consumer in 2011 (Energy Information Administration)
    With the world’s second largest population, dynamic economic growth and modernization, India’s energy demand continues to rise.
    More from C2ES on energy

Week of August 4, 2014

  • China lowers 2020 shale gas production target (Reuters)
    China has halved its 2020 shale gas production target to 30 billion cubic meters (1,059 billion cubic feet) after early efforts to access the unconventional fuel proved challenging. China is estimated to have the largest technically recoverable shale gas resource in the world.
  • Marcellus shale hits production record (Energy Information Administration)
    Natural gas production from the Marcellus shale formation (Pennsylvania, West Virginia) hit a record high in July, averaging more than 15 billion cubic feet per day.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Exelon seeks compensation for reactors (Chicago Tribune)
    Exelon expects that its Illinois nuclear plants will benefit from state legislation that is being crafted in response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The company has delayed its decision on whether to close any reactors from the end of this year until June 2015.
    More from C2ES on Clean Power Plan, nuclear power
  • Wind adds 835 MW in first half of 2014 (AWEA)
    The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported that U.S. wind generation capacity additions picked up in the first half of 2014 to 834 MW, compared to just 1.6 MW during the same period in 2013. Globally, the U.S. has the second largest installed capacity at nearly 62,000 MW, while China has more than 91,000 MW.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • Beijing districts to ban coal by 2020 (Sydney Morning Herald)
    Xinhua is reporting that coal for electric power and other uses will be banned in six inner districts of Beijing by 2020.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Mexico’s Congress approves changes for energy industry (New York Times)
    Mexico’s Congress has approved a sweeping overhaul of its energy industry, affecting Pemex, its state run oil company as well as creating a competitive electricity market. Mexico is one of the top three suppliers of crude oil to the United States. The legislation is designed to help Pemex boost its sagging output in the coming years, among other things.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • DOE to provide funds for geothermal (The Hill)
    The Department of Energy will provide $18 million for 32 projects that aim to reduce the costs of geothermal energy production.
    More from C2ES on geothermal

Week of July 28, 2014

Week of July 21, 2014

  • China considers cap on coal consumption (New York Times)
    Under pressure to reduce unhealthy air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, the Chinese government is exploring mitigation options, including putting a cap on coal.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • After a slow 2013, global wind power growth expected to resume (Fierce Energy)
    Wind power supplied around 3 percent of the world’s electric power in 2013. According to Navigant Research, this is expected to grow to more than 7 percent by 2018.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • Administration opens Atlantic to oil and gas exploration (The Hill)
    The Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced it will allow the use of air guns and sonic sensors off the East Coast to map hydrocarbon potential in the basin – a key first step toward future drilling.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Natural gas less polluting than coal in power sector (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists have performed an apples-to-apples comparison (harmonization) of eight previously reported life-cycle analyses of unconventional natural gas. They found that from production at the wellhead to its burning in power plants shale gas emits about half as much carbon as coal over its life cycle.
  • Natural gas prices continue to decline (Bloomberg Businessweek)
    Below-normal temperatures in many areas of the country, yet again, have lowered demand for natural gas in the power sector (power plants account for 31 percent of natural gas consumption). August futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled at $3.78/MMBtu on Friday. Prices have declined 20 percent over the past six weeks.
    More from C2ES on natural gas

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

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