Energy & Technology

SaskPower unveils first commercial-scale, coal-fired power plant to capture carbon

For the first time ever, a large-scale, coal-fired power plant is capturing carbon dioxide to keep it from being released into the atmosphere – a milestone for a technology critical to addressing climate change.

Canadian electric utility SaskPower has switched on unit 3 at its Boundary Dam power plant, about 10 miles from the North Dakota border, and will hold an official grand opening Oct. 2. Following a $1.2 billion retrofit, the 46-year-old, 110-megawatt coal unit is now on course toward capturing 90 percent of its carbon emissions. Other upgrades reduce nitrous oxide emissions and capture 100 percent of the unit’s sulfur dioxide emissions.

Numerous commercial-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology projects have been deployed in the industrial sector. In the power sector, demonstration-scale projects have been deployed, but this is the first commercial-scale project.

We will need to construct hundreds of such projects (along with other zero- and lower-emitting technologies) if greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced to levels that avoid the worst effects of climate change. According to the International Energy Agency, more than 440 terawatt-hours (TWh) of CCS must be generated between 2020 and 2035 to give us a chance of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. To get a sense of that scale, SaskPower’s unit 3 can produce up to 1 TWh of electricity per year.

The Boundary Dam project is important not just because it’s the first of its kind, but because it demonstrates a way to help make carbon capture technology economically viable -- by turning unwanted pollutants into valuable commodities. SaskPower has agreed to transport and sell its captured carbon dioxide (CO2) to an oilfield operated by Cenovus for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. The captured CO2 helps coax additional production from declining oil fields and results in the permanent storage of the CO2 underground. (In addition, captured sulfur dioxide emissions will be used to produce 50 tons per day of sulfuric acid for industrial customers, and SaskPower will sell the plant’s coal combustion residuals, also known as coal ash, for use in construction products like drywall and concrete.)

Clean Cities Webinar

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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Nick Nigro and Dan Welch of C2ES will report in the state of the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market.

Nick Nigro and Dan Welch of C2ES will report in the state of the plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market.

Moderated by Linda Bluestein, National Clean Cities Co-Director.

This webinar is open to the general public, and no pre-registration is required. To join the webinar:

Visit the Clean Cities webinars page for more details:

 

Don't toss out the good electricity with the bad

One way to reduce power plant carbon emissions is to reduce the demand for electricity. Encouraging customer energy efficiency is one of the building blocks underpinning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan. But the plan does not distinguish among uses of electricity. That means, without further options, the Clean Power Plan could inadvertently discourage states from deploying electric vehicles (EVs), electric mass transit, and other technologies that use electricity instead of a dirtier fuel.

In all but very coal-heavy regions, using electricity as a transportation fuel, especially in mass transit applications, results in the emission of far less carbon dioxide than burning gasoline. In industry, carbon emissions can be cut by using electric conveyance systems instead of diesel- or propane-fueled forklifts and electric arc furnaces instead of coal boilers.

Under the proposed power plant rules, new uses of electricity would be discouraged regardless of whether a state pursues a rate-based target (pounds of emissions per unit of electricity produced) or a mass-based target (tons of emissions per year).

EPA has a few options to make sure regulations for power plants would not discourage uses of electricity that result in less carbon emissions overall.

AFV Finance Initiative Publications and Tools

C2ES and its partners have published papers and created tools for the AFV Finance Initiative. The initiative consists of two projects:

Unlocking Private Sector Financing for Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure

C2ES, in partnership with National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, began a two-year project in early 2013 to develop innovative finance strategies aimed at accelerating the deployment of AFVs and fueling infrastructure.

 

Read our report on how Clean Energy Banks can help help reduce the barriers to private investment in EV charging infrastructure.

Read our report on the role of the ESCO model in natural gas vehicle fleets

Read our white paper on the AFV deployment barriers that private finance can help address

 

Business Models for Financially Sustainable EV Charging Networks

The Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee selected C2ES to develop new business models that will foster private sector commercialization of public EV charging services.

Read our report on business models for financially sustainable EV charging networks in Washington state.

Download the EV Charging Financial Analysis Tool to assess the financial viability of EV charging projects.
Read our white paper on assessing the EV charging network in Washington state

 

About the AFV Finance Initiative

The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Finance (AFV) Initiative brings together key public and private stakeholders to use innovative finance mechanisms to help accelerate the deployment of AFVs and fueling infrastructure. C2ES is working with states around the country to develop new strategies that will improve the business case for AFVs by leveraging small pubic investments or with new business arrangements.

Decreasing the transportation sector’s reliance on petroleum offers important economic, security, and environmental benefits for the United States. The nation’s dependence on foreign oil comes at a high price. In 2012, the U.S. transportation sector consumed 73 percent of the country’s petroleum supplies. Dependence on oil in transportation exposes the United States to price shocks largely beyond its control, since oil is a globally priced commodity. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimate that the total economic loss associated with oil dependence in the United States was $2.1 trillion from 2005 to 2010. These economic losses are due to oil price shocks and oil market influence by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). From an environmental perspective, motor vehicles are also responsible for half of smog-forming air pollutants, about 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions, and more than 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Most AFVs do not rely on petroleum, are more energy efficient than their conventional counterparts, and have lower or no tailpipe emissions. However, several barriers stand in the way of AFV and infrastructure deployment: market volatility, technological uncertainty, information failures, and regulatory hurdles and uncertainty. These barriers affect each fuel type differently. Recent large investments by the federal government in AFVs and other clean technologies will be winding down in the coming years. New private financing mechanisms are needed to fund these vehicles and associated infrastructure to enable wide-scale adoption.

C2ES is working with states to identify new ways to mobilize this private capital. The Initiative currently consists of two projects defined below.

Unlocking Private Sector Financing for Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure

C2ES, in partnership with National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, began a two-year project in early 2013 to develop new financial tools aimed at accelerating the deployment of AFVs and fueling infrastructure. C2ES has assembled an advisory group of experts on AFVs, infrastructure, and finance from the public and private sectors to help guide its work. The project aims to:

  • Identify barriers that hinder private sector investment;
  • Develop and evaluate innovative financing concepts for vehicle purchase and fueling infrastructure in order to make AFVs more accessible to consumers and fleet operators; and
  • Stimulate private-sector investment in AFVs and the associated infrastructure deployment, building upon and complementing previous public sector investments.

C2ES is researching financial barriers, preparing case studies, and developing strategies that states can consider trying at the project’s conclusion:

The project specifically emphasizes two fuels that offer significant opportunities for growth—electricity and natural gas. Biofuels are not considered because many government and private sector stakeholders are already facilitating the deployment of biofuel-powered vehicles. Vehicles powered by hydrogen are included, but they are not a major focus because hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are not yet widely available.

Click here to view publications for this project.

Business Models for Financially Sustainable EV Charging Networks

The Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee selected C2ES to develop new business models that will foster private sector commercialization of public EV charging services. First, C2ES will assess the state of EV charging in Washington and create useful products for the state to perform similar assessments as the market evolves. Second, drawing from its experience with the AFV Finance Initiative and similar activities, C2ES will identify and evaluate business models for EV charging in the state. Finally, C2ES will recommend ways the public sector can support those business models to maximize private sector investment in EV charging.

Click here to view publications for this project.

The interdependence of water and energy

Have you ever thought that by leaving a light on, you’re wasting water, or that a leaky faucet wastes energy? It’s odd, but accurate.

That’s because water and energy are interrelated. Water is used in all phases of energy production, and energy is required to extract, pump, and move water for human consumption. Energy is also needed to treat wastewater so it can be safely returned to the environment.

C2ES recently hosted a series of webinars (video and slides here) on the intersection between water and energy (sometimes referred to as the “nexus”). The series was co-sponsored by the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies and the Water Information Sharing and Analysis Center. Participants discussed how the water and energy sectors depend on each other and how they can work together to conserve resources.

CCS projects see progress

Three recent announcements signal important progress toward greater deployment of technology to capture and store carbon emissions that would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. CCS technology can capture up to 90 percent of emissions from power plants and industrial facilities and is critical to reducing climate-changing emissions while fossil fuels remain part of our energy mix.

One piece of good news came when NRG Energy announced it has begun construction on the Petra Nova Project in Texas, where an existing coal-fired power plant will be retrofitted with carbon capture equipment. The Petra Nova Project will be the world’s third commercial-scale CCS power project, following the nearly-completed SaskPower Boundary Dam project in Saskatchewan, Canada, and Southern Company’s Kemper County Energy Facility in Mississippi opening in 2015.

Energy efficiency financing models for buildings could work for natural gas vehicles

Owners of large buildings who want to save money by improving energy efficiency first have to overcome a huge hurdle – the upfront costs of getting the work done. A similar hurdle exists for fleet managers considering switching to natural gas vehicles to save on fuel costs – high initial expenses for vehicles and infrastructure.

What if the same method being used to pay for more energy-efficient buildings could also be used to get cleaner alternative fuel vehicles on the road? A new report by C2ES makes the connection between a commonly used business arrangement in the building sector and its potential use in the deployment of natural gas in public and private vehicle fleets.

Energy in the News Archives

This page contains stories from the Energy in the News section that are more than two months old. For more current stories, click here.

December 15-31, 2014

  • Top five factors affecting oil prices in 2015 (OilPrice.com)
    Oil prices declined around 50 percent during the last six months of 2014 with Brent crude currently trading around $54 per barrel. The future trajectory of oil prices will depend on China’s economy, U.S. shale production, elasticity of demand, OPEC’s next move, and geopolitical flashpoints among other things.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Natural gas prices plunge in December (ABC News)
    Natural gas prices have fallen nearly 30 percent since late November to below $3.20 per 1,000 cubic feet; abundant supply and relatively mild December temperatures were the primary drivers.
  • Governor bans ‘fracking’ in New York State (New York Times)
    Citing health risks, Governor Cuomo announced that the state would ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’, which involves injecting large amounts of water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure to release oil and/or natural gas from rock formations.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Minnesota PUC stands by oil sands pipeline expansion decision (Pioneer Press)
    The Minnesota Public Utility Commission unanimously voted against revisiting its August decision to allow expansion of Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper pipeline. The expansion will raise the Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin pipeline’s capacity from 450,000 to 800,000 barrels per day.
  • GOP prepares legislation that would approve the KXL pipeline (Bloomberg)
    Both chambers of Congress are preparing legislation that would approve the $8 billion Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, attempting to take the decision out of the hands of President Obama.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • Congress passes retroactive PTC extension (Utility Dive)
    According to the American Wind Energy Association, the extension of the wind production tax credit (PTC) until the end of 2014 will only allow minimal new wind development.
    More from C2ES on the PTC

Week of December 8, 2014

  • US crude settles below $60 a barrel for the first time in 5 years  (Reuters)
    New York Mercantile Exchange's front-month West Texas Intermediate contract for U.S. crude settled down 99 cents, or 1.6 percent lower, at $59.95 per barrel, its lowest close since July 14, 2009.  The contract has lost almost 9 percent this week and roughly 45 percent from a June high above $107 a barrel. Traders warned that a bottom for crude remained elusive after a six-month selloff.
  • House Republican to introduce bill to lift crude export ban (The Hill)
    Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) will introduce legislation that lifts a decades-old ban on crude oil exports on Tuesday. Barton, who has been planning the bill since earlier this year, is a strong advocate in favor of repealing the ban first imposed during the Arab oil embargoes of the 1970s. Barton’s legislation will be introduced sometime Tuesday, according to his spokesman. It comes out ahead of a House hearing on Thursday that will focus on the export ban.
    More from C2ES on oil.
  • Global Shale Ambitions Wane as OPEC Price War Deepens (Bloomberg)
    Efforts to replicate the U.S. shale revolution are under threat as a price war by OPEC pushes crude to levels last seen during the global financial crisis. From the U.K. to Australia, countries without government-backed energy producers appear the most vulnerable to delays in extracting shale oil and gas. Even nations such as China and Argentina, where state-run producers have a government mandate to drill, could see a slowing in investment.
  • Oil’s Fall Puts a Chill on U.S. Drilling (Wall Street Journal)
    U.S. energy companies are starting to cut drilling, lay off workers and slash spending in the face of an accelerating decline in oil prices, which fell to a fresh five-year low Wednesday. The number of rigs drilling for oil in North Dakota and parts of Texas has started to edge down, new drilling permits have dropped sharply since October, and many companies say they are going to focus on their most profitable wells.
    More from C2ES on natural gas.
  • GOP gains put nuclear power back on the table (The Hill)
    Republicans and the nuclear power sector are hopeful that GOP control of the Senate will improve the political landscape for an industry that hasn’t opened a new generator in nearly two decades. As Senate Democrats this week held their tenth hearing on nuclear safety since Japan’s Fukushima Daichii meltdown three years ago, Republicans and observers looked forward to a future with a more business-friendly approach to the industry. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), long a champion of nuclear power and a critic of environmental rules, is set to become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees nuclear safety. 
    More from C2ES on nuclear.

Week of December 1, 2014

  • Net generation from solar power doubles (Utility Dive)
    According to data from the Energy Information Administration, electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal sources doubled in the first nine months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013; electricity from solar PV was five times greater than the first nine months of 2012.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Illinois regulators approve Rock Island Clean Line (Utility Dive)
    The Rock Island Clean Line, which would deliver up to 3,500 MW of electricity from wind-rich northwestern Iowa to the Chicago area on a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line, cleared an important regulatory hurdle.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • FERC approves Northeast natural gas pipeline (ABC News)
    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline from Pennsylvania to New England. The pipeline could be operational in a year if it receives timely approval from Pennsylvania, New York and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • DOE invests in low-head hydropower projects (Department of Energy)
    The Department of Energy (DOE) announced $4.4 million in funding for two projects to advance the development of low-head hydropower technologies, which only require a change in elevation of 6 to 60 feet. The DOE estimates a technical resource potential of more than 50 GW of low-head hydro in the United States.
    More from C2ES on hydropower
  • New Georgia nukes unlikely to start in 2017, 2018 (SNL)
    Consultants have informed the Georgia Public Service Commission that two new nuclear reactors at Southern Company’s Plant Vogtle are likely to be delayed at least another year, as critical project milestone dates continue to slip.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • German utility to split into two companies (Wall Street Journal)
    Germany’s largest utility E.ON will split into two companies – one focused on renewables and the other on conventional energy.
    More from C2ES on electricity

Week of November 24, 2014

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

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

Week of April 7, 2014

  • U.S. crude oil reserves highest in nearly 40 years (Energy Information Administration)
    For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. crude oil reserves increased. At 33 billion barrels, U.S. crude oil and leased condensate reserves were at their highest levels since 1976.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Statoil sets target for reducing its oil sands production emissions (Bloomberg)
    Statoil plans to reduce its per barrel carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent by 2020 (and 40 percent by 2025) using innovative technology in its in situ oil sands development.
    More from C2ES on oil sands
  • Coal’s share of electricity generation increased (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, coal-fired electricity generation increased nearly 5 percent from 2012 levels, while natural gas-fired generation fell a little more than 9 percent. The U.S. 2013 electricity mix was: coal (39.1 percent), natural gas (27.4 percent), nuclear (19.4 percent), hydro (6.6 percent), wind (4.1 percent), other renewables (2.1 percent), and oil (0.7 percent).
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Revised earthquake estimates require costly analyses for nuclear reactors (New York Times)
    Following a reanalysis of the earthquake risk in the central eastern United States by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), owners of at least two dozen nuclear reactors will be required to undertake extensive analyses of plant structures and components to show that their reactors could tolerate the effects of the most severe earthquakes that they might face.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Germany reforming renewable energy laws (Reuters)
    The German government is reforming renewable energy laws in order to slow cost increases as the country moves to double its renewable energy share to 40 to 45 percent by 2025 (and 55 to 60 percent by 2035). Germany currently has some of the highest household power prices in Europe.

Week of March 31, 2014

  • Total U.S. net energy imports in 2013 lowest since 1980s (Energy Information Administration)
    Net energy imports declined 19 percent from 2012 to 2013, as increases in domestic production of oil and natural gas displaced imports and supported modest increases in petroleum product exports.
  • Canadian crude imports exceed 3 million barrels per day (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, Canada, the largest crude exporter to the United States, sent an average of 3.1 million barrels per day (b/d) across the border – a 6 percent increase above 2012 levels. This was more than the second (Saudi Arabia - 1.3 million b/d) and third (Mexico - 0.9 million b/d) countries combined. The United States consumed an average of 18.3 million b/d of petroleum products in 2013.
  • Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rise (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2013, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions increased 2.3 percent from 2012 levels to 5,390 million metric tons. Sector-wide, emissions from coal (+3.9 percent), natural gas (+2.1 percent) and petroleum (+1.3 percent) increased. While natural gas use in the electric power sector decreased, its consumption increased in the industrial, residential and commercial sectors.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Natural gas emissions from utility-owned distribution systems declining (Fierce Energy)
    A study (to be published this summer) by the American Gas Association, the Environmental Defense Fund and Washington State University found that natural gas emissions from utility-owned distribution systems have fallen by 16 percent since 1990, even as the industry increased the size of the pipeline network by 30 percent.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • DOE approves new standards for commercial equipment (Greenwire - Subscription)
    The Department of Energy (DOE) finalized open-air refrigerator and walk-in freezer standards that will reduce energy consumption and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 142 million metric tons from 2017 – 2046, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 27 million cars.
    More from C2ES on appliance and equipment energy efficiency standards
  • Sixth Chinese carbon market launches (Bloomberg)
    Last week, the central Chinese province of Hubei joined Guangdong, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, and Shenzhen to become the country’s sixth regional carbon market; Chongqing will be the last market to launch. The pilot carbon exchanges are a precursor to a national trading system that could start as early as 2016.
    More from C2ES on policies in key countries
  • Global clean energy investment declined for the second year in a row (Pew)
    A report from The Pew Charitable Trusts founds that global clean energy investment fell 11 percent last year to $254 billion. Investment in the region of Europe, the Middle East and Africa fell to $55 billion in 2013, less than half of 2011 levels.

Week of March 24, 2014

  • Coal-fired power plant operators consider regulation compliance options (Energy Information Administration)
    As at the end of 2012, 69 percent of U.S. coal plant operators were in compliance with the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS), which goes into effect in April 2015. 16 percent of the fleet was undecided on whether it would retrofit or retire. Coal-fired generation was responsible for 39 percent of U.S. electricity in 2013.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • DOE gives nod to eighth LNG export facility (Greenwire - Subscription)
    The Department of Energy (DOE) conditionally approved (subject to environmental review and final regulatory approval) the Jordan Cove Energy Project to export up to 0.8 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/day) of domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its facility in Coos Bay, Oregon.
  • Canadian government issues 4 LNG export licenses (Energywire - Subscription)
    The Canadian government issued LNG export licenses for terminals in British Columbia to Woodfibre LNG, Pacific NorthWest LNG, WCC LNG and Prince Rupert LNG for up to 73.7 million metric tons per year or around 9.8 Bcf/day.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • U.S. producing 10 percent of global crude (Energy Information Administration)
    Increases from the Bakken and Eagle Ford basins helped push U.S. production to more than 10 percent of the world total in the last quarter of 2013.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • New Hampshire support for Northern Pass power line rising (Energywire - Subscription)
    A high-voltage electric power line that would bring additional Canadian hydropower into the New England power market has reached a high point of support, according to pollsters at the University of New Hampshire.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • United Kingdom’s GHG emissions decline 2 percent (The Guardian)
    Lower coal and gas consumption combined with increased wind power generation, led to a 2 percent fall in 2013 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United Kingdom from 2012 levels. Emissions have fallen back to 2009 levels.
    More from C2ES on international emissions
  • German utility seeks approval to close reactor early (Wall Street Journal)
    E.ON SE, Germany’s largest utility, is requesting permission to shut down its 1.3 GW Grafenrheinfeld reactor as soon as May 2015, around seven months early, because the plant is marginally profitable.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

Week of March 17, 2014

  • NRDC updates its proposal for reducing emissions from existing power plants (NRDC)
    NRDC has released an update to its December 2012 proposal for reducing emissions from existing power plants. Its new analysis finds that that 470 to 700 million tons of carbon pollution can be eliminated per year in 2020 compared to 2012 levels.
    More from C2ES on carbon pollution standards for existing power plants
  • FERC commissioner says nuclear critical to lower U.S. emissions (Greenwire - Subscription)
    In a public meeting last Thurday, FERC Commissioner John Norris expressed concern over the retirement of baseload nuclear power plants. He said that nuclear is critical to lowering emissions in the coming decades and "if we don't do something…we are letting some pretty big bridges be torn down."
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Fitch report highlights market challenges for merchant generators (Reuters)
    Fitch expects, "a continuation of relatively low (wholesale) power and (natural) gas prices, as well as rising costs related to environmental regulations and modest prospective sales growth due to competitive pressures from both energy-use efficiency and renewable generation" to create challenges for merchant generators. Merchant generators, or independent power producers, sell their power into competitive wholesale markets at the prevailing market price.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Power market rule changes could keep nuclear plant online (Boston Business Journal)
    Independent system operator (ISO) New England is considering power market rule changes that would reward baseload generators for their round-the-clock power. If implemented, these changes could help the 688 MW Pilgrim nuclear power plant (marginally profitable) in Massachusetts remain online.
  • China's demand for solar panels increasing (Bloomberg)
    Rising domestic demand for solar panels is helping Chinese manufacturers return to profitability. China became the largest solar market in 2013, surpassing Germany, and could install more than 14 GW in 2014.
    More from C2ES on solar power

Week of March 10, 2014

  • California PUC approves natural gas as nuclear replacement (E&E News - Subscription)
    In a unanimous ruling, the California Public Utility Commission (PUC) approved the use of up to 800 MW of new natural gas-fired power plants to replace lost power from the retired San Onofre nuclear power plant. Environmental groups had pushed for replacement from only "preferred sources" – energy efficiency, renewable power, battery storage and conservation. However, the commission responded that the natural gas plants were necessary to guarantee electric system reliability. "The simple reality is that no one in the world has managed to run a complex electric grid like the one we have in Southern California" without having fossil energy for contingencies, Commissioner Mike Florio said.
  • Report: LNG exports benefit the US (NERA)
    In an update of its 2012 report to the Department of Energy, NERA finds that U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) provide net economic benefits in all scenarios and that the market for LNG is self-limiting, i.e., if domestic prices rise above current expectations then exports will be curtailed.
  • Poland proposes tax breaks for shale gas (Wall Street Journal)
    In an effort to spur development of what may be the largest technically recoverable shale gas reserves in Europe (according to the EIA), Poland is proposing tax breaks and regulatory reform for exploration.
    More from C2ES on natural gas.
  • Canadian regulators approve pipeline reversal (Energy Wire - Subscription)
    In a move that could help move oil sands crude to global markets, Canadian regulators have backed the reversal and expansion of Enbridge's Line 9 oil pipeline.
  • Iraqi oil production surging (Energy Wire - Subscription)
    Exports from the southern Iraq port of Basra have reached around 2.5 million barrels per day, a level not seen since 1979. With the pace of economic growth slowing in China and India and global oil production increasing, some analysts believe a significant price drop in 2014 is likely.
    More from C2ES on oil

Week of March 3, 2014

  • Exelon working to keep Illinois nuclear units from shuttering  (Crain’s Chicago Business)
    Exelon is working with state officials to find ways of keeping three of its six unprofitable or struggling Illinois nuclear units from closing.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Methane emissions could be cut at low cost (Climatewire - Subscription)
    A new report from ICF (commissioned by EDF) finds that 40 percent of methane emissions could be eliminated using existing technologies and at a fairly low cost; methane emissions from the oil and gas sector are projected to rise 4.5 percent from 2011 to 2018.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • U.S. coal production expected to rise (Cimatewire - Subscription)
    According to a report from ICF, a steady decline in U.S. coal production driven by lower natural gas prices and EPA regulations is predicted to level off, while growing global demand for coal is forecast to send even more U.S. coal abroad. Export capacity could triple in the coming years if planned terminals along the Gulf Coast and Pacific Northwest are built. Though, coal export terminals in the Northwest face strong challenges from environmental groups and local communities.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • U.S. refineries expanding capacity (New York Times)
    Increased U.S. oil production is leading oil refiners to expand refining capacity at existing facilities.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Solar association issues year-in-review report (Solar Energy Industries Association)
    The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) reported that 29 percent of new electric generating capacity in 2013 was solar, second only to natural gas at 46 percent.
    More from C2ES on solar power
  • China’s wind power capacity increasing (Bloomberg)
    According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, China is expected to add 14.7 GW of wind power in 2014. At the end of 2013, there was more than 12 GW of wind power under construction in the United States.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • China renews interest in nuclear power (Climatewire - Subscription)
    China is signaling that it is interested in expanding nuclear power into inland locations in its next five-year plan (2016 - 2020). According to the World Nuclear Association, China currently has 20 operational reactors and 28 under construction.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

Week of February 24, 2014

  • EPA releases draft GHG inventory (EPA)
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft version of the 2014 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory report. It showed that 2012 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions are 6,501.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent, which is the lowest they have been since 1994. This is 3.3 percent below 2011 and 10.3 percent below 2005 levels.
  • CATF offers proposal for existing power plants (Reuters)
    The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) issued a plan aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants under the Clean Air Act (CAA) Section 111(d). The CATF proposal could inform emissions standards for existing power plants from the EPA, which is legally required to regulate greenhouse gases under the CAA and has been directed by President Obama to issue a proposed rule by June 1, 2014 (with a final rule due in June 2015).
    More from C2ES on existing power plant regulations
  • KXL decision could come in months (Los Angeles Times)
    Republican Governors Mary Fallin (Oklahoma), Nikki Haley (South Carolina) and others told reporters that President Obama promised them that he would weigh in with a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline within the next few months. The promise came during a private meeting with governors on Monday.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • Japanese draft energy plan calls for nuclear restart (New York Times)
    A draft energy plan by the government of Prime Minister Abe refers to nuclear power as an important “baseload” electricity source that should be part of Japan’s energy mix, although no specific target for future use of nuclear power was set.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • 5. What keeps utility execs up at night? (Utility Dive)
    A survey of 500 plus (mostly investor-owned) utility executives found that their greatest pressing challenge was ageing infrastructure; the current regulatory model, an ageing workforce, distributed generation and flat demand growth, rounded out the top 5 list.
    More from C2ES on electricity

Week of February 17, 2014

  • Utilities pursuing ‘back-to-basics’ strategy (Utility Dive)
    Utilities like FirstEnergy, Duke, Dominion Power, and Ameren are increasingly pulling out of unregulated operations, where a combination of factors, including low natural gas prices and weak demand for electricity (driven by a soft economy, energy efficiency mandates, and demand response initiatives) have driven down wholesale prices and reduced margins.
  • MISO survey forecasts decrease in electricity demand (Energy Wire - Subscription)
    The most recent Organization of MISO States (OMS) survey indicates a -0.75 percent annual growth rate (2014 – 2016) of electricity demand in its north and central regions. If the forecast holds, it would reduce a potential generation shortfall from 8.5 to 2 GW below the system’s 2016 reliability margin requirement. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) administers a wholesale electricity market covering 15 states (from Minnesota to Louisiana) and one Canadian province.
  • Nebraska ruling could delay KXL (Reuters)
    A Nebraska court invalidated a law passed in 2011, allowing Gov. Dave Heineman to approve the route for the Keystone XL pipeline through the state. The judge said that the Nebraska Public Service Commission is the proper state agency to decide pipeline matters. The governor has filed an appeal. An anonymous State Department source said Friday that the agency is continuing to review the application at this time and monitoring events in Nebraska.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • Natural gas prices hit 5-year high (CNBC)
    Low storage levels and a forecast of continued cold weather into March sent NYMEX March natural gas futures above $6/MMBtu.

Week of February 11, 2014

  • DOE approves 6th LNG application (Green Wire - Subscription)
    Cameron LNG has received conditional (pending environmental and regulatory review) approval from the Department of Energy to export up to 1.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from its Louisiana facility. Other facilities recently approved for export include: Lake Charles Exports (2 Bcf), Sabine Pass (2.2 Bcf), Freeport (2 applications, 1.8 Bcf), and Cove Point (0.77 Bcf); the maximum total of future U.S. LNG exports now stands at 8.47 Bcf/day or just over 3 Tcf/year. In 2012, the United States consumed 25.5 Tcf of natural gas.
  • EPA may underestimate methane emissions (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    A new synthesis report by researchers from Stanford, MIT, University of Michigan and others, indicates that methane emissions are 1.25 to 1.75 times higher than reported by the EPA. Notably, the researchers conclude that emissions from fracking are not the main culprit, and overall emissions are likely driven by a few “super-emitters” in the oil and gas sector. In spite of the higher emissions, the research found that switching from coal to natural gas in the power sector offers robust climate benefits, while substitution of diesel or gasoline with natural gas in the transport sector may not.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • First US offshore wind project in sight (Climate Wire - Subscription)
    A 30 MW offshore wind project (using five 6 MW Alstom turbines) could be generating power as early as 2016. The project will be located about 17 miles south of Rhode Island, near Block Island.
  • Germany switching from gas to coal (Wall Street Journal)
    By 2015, 10 GW of natural gas-fired power plants are expected to be taken down in Germany and replaced by 7 GW of coal. In 2011, 75 GW of installed fossil generation delivered 60 percent of Germany’s electricity.
  • Oregon issues permits for coal export terminal (Portland Business Journal)
    The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued three permits for the Morrow Pacific coal project, which proposes to export “low-sulfur coal from the U.S. Intermountain region to trade allies such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.” Additional state permits and approval from the Army Corps of Engineers are required before the project can be developed.
  • EIA projects more coal power plant retirements (Energy Information Administration)
    In its Annual Energy Outlook 2014 Reference Case, the EIA expects an additional 16 GW or so of coal plant retirements above what operators have already stated (40 GW) by 2016.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of February 3, 2014

  • Some Exelon reactors unprofitable (Seeking Alpha)
    On a conference call, Exelon CEO Chris Crane informed analysts and investors that some of its ten nuclear power plants were not profitable, and it will consider shutting down units (by the end of the year) if it does not “see a path to sustainable profits.”
  • Nuclear operators express concerns (Green Wire - Subscription)
    At an energy conference last week, nuclear operators Exelon and Entergy expressed their concern about the viability of older, single reactors throughout the Northeast, which face challenges from cheap natural gas, high operating costs, new regulatory expenses following the Fukushima disaster, and competition from other subsidized generation like wind and solar.
    More from C2ES on nuclear energy
  • Two Bakken pipelines won’t move ahead (Inforum)
    Two proposed pipeline projects will not move ahead due to lack of interest, driven in part by the availability of flexible crude-by-rail shipping, and uncertainty around Keystone XL development among other things.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • UK GHG emissions rise (Reuters)
    According to government data for 2012, greenhouse gas emissions in the United Kingdom rose by 3.2 percent. In 2012, coal overtook natural gas as the nation’s largest source for electricity generation. Additionally, a colder than average winter contributed to the emissions rise.
    More from C2ES on international emissions
  • Japan’s LNG imports hit a record (Reuters)
    Japan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports hit a record high in 2013. The shutdown of the country’s nuclear power plants following the Fukushima disaster in 2011 has forced the country to increase its reliance on fossil fuels for electric power generation.
    More from C2ES on key country policies
  • Poland announces nuclear plans (Economist)
    Poland, which currently gets more than 80 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, announced plans to build its first nuclear reactor – expected to be up and running by 2024.
    More from C2ES on international emissions

Week of January 27, 2013

  • State Department issues final environmental impact statement on KXL (State Department)
    The State Department released a final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday. “The range of incremental greenhouse gas emissions for crude oil that would be transported by the proposed Project [was] estimated to be 1.3 to 27.4 MMTCO2e annually.” This represents 0.02 to 0.4 percent of  total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions (2011). The EIS release initiates a 30-day "national interest determination" comment period (February 5 to March 7) during which State seeks feedback from the public, interested parties and other federal agencies.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • FERC issues energy infrastructure update (FERC Report) According to FERC’s energy infrastructure update 14.2 GW of new electric capacity was added in 2013, down from 29.7 GW in 2012. Natural gas-fired generation made up 51 percent of the additions, followed by solar (21 percent), coal (11 percent), wind (8 percent), biomass (5 percent) and hydro (3 percent). Notably, new wind installations were down by more than 90 percent in 2013; however, there are currently more than 12 GW under construction – a record high.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Proposal aims to reduce Bakken flaring (Energy Wire - Subscription)
    The North Dakota Petroleum Council has put forth a proposal to reduce the amount of wasted natural gas from the Bakken formation. Data from November 2013 indicated that 29 percent of natural gas produced statewide is flared. Through various measures, the proposal aims to capture 90 – 95 percent of the gas in pipelines by 2020.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Republicans push natural gas pipeline bill (Green Wire - Subscription)
    Seizing upon President Obama’s State of the Union support for natural gas, House Republicans suggested in a letter to the President that this might be an area where there is “potential for agreement” between the Administration and Congress. Last year, House Republicans passed a bill designed to cut red tape for natural gas pipeline permitting.
    More from C2ES on State of the Union
  • New York State fracking moratorium to continue (Bloomberg)
    New York’s environmental commissioner announced last week that a moratorium on the practice of hydraulic fracturing will continue until at least April 2015.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Crude oil price spread narrows (Bloomberg)
    The crude oil price spread between West Texas Intermediate (U.S. benchmark) and Brent (global benchmark) fell below $10 per barrel last week. The opening of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, which is currently transporting around 288,000 barrels per day to the Gulf Coast, is easing a supply glut in Cushing, Oklahoma. TransCanada, the pipeline operator, plans to increase flows this year toward its 700,000 barrel per day maximum.
  • South Korea approves new reactors (Bloomberg)
    South Korea has approved construction of two 1,400 MW nuclear reactors, its first since the Fukushima disaster. It currently has 23 reactors with plans to build another 11. South Korea gets around one-third of its power from nuclear energy, and is aiming to increase this to 50 percent.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

Week of January 20, 2013

  • Natural gas prices soar again (Market Watch)
    Increased demand from the latest winter storm and cold weather outbreak sent natural gas prices to record highs again in New England – spot prices averaged nearly $80/MMBtu on the Intercontinental Exchange for some locations. The region’s gas-fired electricity generating capacity has grown, while pipeline and storage capacity has not. The expectation of continued cold weather into February, sent the benchmark (Henry Hub) natural gas price above $5/MMBtu for the first time since June 2010.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • DOE Quadrennial Energy Review to focus on infrastructure  (Greenwire - Subscription)
    The Department of Energy’s (DOE) first Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), due by January 31, 2015, will focus on energy transmission and distribution infrastructure issues, including wires, pipelines, rail, and import/export terminals.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • EU plans to cut emissions 40 percent (Bloomberg)
    The 28-nation European Union (EU-28) announced plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. In 2011, EU-27 GHG emissions fell 3.3 percent from 2010 levels; they are currently 18.4 percent below 1990 levels.
  • Advanced meter market penetration rising (FERC Report)
    A recent report by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) estimates that advanced (electricity) meter penetration rates may now exceed 30 percent of total meters deployed, up from around 5 percent in 2008. Advanced meters allow utilities to restore power more quickly after outages, as well as offer time-based rates and demand response programs. Additionally, they help consumers to better understand their energy consumption, among other things.
    More from C2ES on the smart grid

 Week of January 13, 2013

  • U.S. energy-Related CO2 emissions rising (EIA.gov)
    Preliminary data for 2013 indicates that U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions were around 2 percent higher than in 2012, as coal regained some market share. However, since 2005 energy-related emissions are down a little more than 10 percent. According to EIA’s short-term energy outlook, energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to increase around 0.5 percent by 2015, which would leave energy-related emission down slightly less than 10 percent from 2005 levels. According to EIA’s annual energy outlook 2014 reference case, energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to be 8.7 percent below 2005 levels in 2020.
  • Carbon capture projects receive funding (PDF from Energy.gov)
    Lake Charles Clean Energy (LCCE) has been awarded cost-share funding of $261.4 million from the DOE for a Louisiana plant that will convert petroleum coke, a refinery byproduct that is more than 90 percent carbon, to hydrogen gas, methanol and other products. Around 89 percent of the carbon dioxide will be captured and piped to the West Hastings oil field for EOR. Plant construction is expected to take around 3 years.
    DOE approved $1 billion for FutureGen 2.0, an Illinois coal plant retrofit (168 MW) that will capture more than 90 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions and pipe them into an underground storage facility about 30 miles from the plant (notably, not for EOR).
  • What is next for the Keystone XL permit process (Financial Post)
    The State Department is expected to release a final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the Keystone XL pipeline soon after Obama's January 28 State of the Union address. The EIS release will initiate a "national interest determination" process during which State is obliged to seek feedback from other interested agencies.
  • Alaska natural gas pipeline moving forward (Energy Wire, subscription required)
    Alaska, ExxonMobil, BP, ConocoPhilips and TransCanada signed a preliminary agreement last week to build a natural gas pipeline from the North Slope to an export facility on the state’s southern coast.
  • Canada reports to the UN on its emissions (Climatewire, subscription required)
    In a report to the UN, Canada’s carbon emissions are projected to be 11 percent above 2005 levels by 2030, mostly due to increasing oil sands projects. Last fall, Environment Canada found that emissions in 2020 would likely be 3 percent lower than 2005 levels when LULUCF (land use, land-use change and forestry) is included.

Week of January 6, 2014

  • Oil Prices fall as output rises (Bloomberg News)
    U.S. crude prices fell to an 8-month low ($91.66 a barrel) last week on rising output, ample supply and reduced fuel consumption. Also last week, the global (Brent) price was trading at around $106 a barrel.
  • Report details natural gas emissions intensity (NOAA Report)
    A new report from NOAA found that (in 2012) natural gas combined cycle power plants  emitted (890lb CO2/MWh) on average 44 percent of the CO2 compared with coal power plants (~2,024lb CO2/MWh). Data from EPA’s continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMS) was used for the analysis. Over the past 15 years, the CO2 emission intensity of natural gas combined cycle power plants has decreased by about one-third. The average emission rate from all forms of natural gas-fired power generation is 1,135lb CO2/MWh.
  • Cold snap spurs record natural gas demand (Marketwatch)
    U.S. natural gas demand reached a record high of 134.3 billion cubic feet/day on Tuesday January 7, as consumers heating demand increased and utilities increased usage for electric power generation on one of the coldest days in years. Day-ahead natural gas spot prices in New England spiked to over $50/MMBtu for a time on Monday in anticipation of the coming cold wave.
  • Utility Mergers Ahead? (E&E News, subscription required)
    Duke CEO Lynn Good expects to see continued consolidation in the utility sector in the face of a slowing rise in electricity demand.
  • DOE awards projects for Small Modular Reactors (SMR) (E&E News, subscription required)
    NuScale Power (Oregon) has been selected to received up to $226 million in DOE funding over the next 5 years for development of its 45 MW SMR. In 2012, Babcock & Wilcox (Tennessee) received a similar amount of funding for its 180 MW mPower design. Commercialization of these small reactors is not expected for at least another 10 years.
  • Nebraska nuclear plant restarts (Omaha World Herald)
    After nearly 3 years offline and $177 million spent on recommissioning by the Omaha Public Power District, Ft Calhoun nuclear power plant (563 MW) returned to service last month after getting the green light from the NRC.
  • Big money backs energy storage (Greentech Grid)
    Aquion Energy, a developer and manufacturer of sodium ion batteries, attracted a slew of high profile investors in 2013 including Bill Gates. The Western Pennsylvania company will commercially launch its range (off-grid to grid-scale) of energy storage products in early 2014.

 Week of December 31, 2013

  • Kerry backs 17 percent emissions reduction (E&E News, subscription required)
    In the State Department’s 2014 Climate Action Report, Secretary Kerry stated that the U.S. Copenhagen Accord (2009) pledge of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 is “ambitious but achievable.” Kerry notes that U.S. emissions have already fallen by 6.5 percent since 2005 as a result of “economic factors and government policies.”
  • EIA report details declining electricity sales (eia.gov)
    According to EIA data, total U.S. electricity sales have decreased in four of the past five years (2008 – 2012) due to a variety of factors, including a declining industrial sector, weather pattern shifts, efficiency improvements, and growth in distributed generation. The early release of its Annual Energy Outlook 2014 predicts flat electricity use through 2015. Average household power usage in 2013 has fallen to 2001 levels. The decline is attributed to more energy efficient housing, appliances and gadgets.
  • Trans Mountain oil sands pipeline could expand (E&E News, subscription required)
    Kinder Morgan formally applied to the Canadian Government to expand the capacity of its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia (Vancouver). It hopes to complete the project by 2017, but faces opposition from First Nations and environmental groups.
  • Shell explores use of LNG trucks (E&E News, subscription required)
    In an attempt to reduce its oil sands emissions profile, Shell is looking into using trucks that run on LNG.
  • Chinese pilot emissions trading schemes (E&E News, subscription required)
    There are now 5 trading schemes operating in China: Tianjin, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong province.
  • Australia unveils Emission Reduction Fund (The Australian)
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Webinar - Water for Energy and Energy for Water: Innovation and Effective Stakeholder Engagement

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
0
2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EDTView slides here.See video here.

 

Webinar 3: Innovation and effective stakeholder engagement on water and energy issues

July 24, 2014
2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EDT

Involving other stakeholders or partners for a water-energy project often leads to insights, innovations, and/or greater efficiency. In this third and final webinar, speakers from American Water and East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD; California) discuss how they leveraged stakeholder involvement to address water-energy challenges and implement innovations. 

Suzanne Chiavari, Engineering Practice Leader from American Water, will describe some of her organization’s recent work in using renewable energy technologies, and how they’ve engaged community partners to establish greater integration across their resource management activities. Clifford Chan, Manager of Water Treatment and Distribution at EBMUD, will talk about two projects with multiple stakeholders that have helped the utility to implement its energy management strategy.

View slides here.
See video here.

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