Energy in the News

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

Week of September 28, 2015

Week of September 21, 2015

  • Fading coal industry in China may offer chance to aid climate (New York Times)
    Across China’s grimy coal heartland, mines have fallen silent, reduced production or shut down. Miners, owners and officials here wonder whether boom times will return for the “black gold” that has fed the nation’s craving for cheap but dirty energy.
  • U.S. coal mine starts continue to decline (Energy Information Administration)
    The number of new and reactivated coal mines that began production in 2013 fell to the lowest level in at least the past 10 years.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Pipeline replacement aids in GHG emissions reduction: Study (Platts)
    As energy industry and government officials alike wrestle with the best way to limit the release of methane into the atmosphere, a new study reveals that U.S. cities with programs calling for the replacement of aging natural gas pipeline have 90 percent fewer leaks per mile than cities without such programs.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Seven years later, Obama still mum on Keystone (McClatchyDC)
    More than seven years have passed since TransCanada applied for its permit to build the pipeline from the Canadian oil sands, through the United States’ midsection and on to refineries in Texas. As Obama prepares to leave office in a year, there is still no sign of a decision from him on the pipeline.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL Pipeline
  • China to launch a nationwide cap-and-trade system (New York Times)
    Chinese leader Xi Jinping announced plans for a national greenhouse gas trading program, which would launch in 2017 and initially include large companies in several industries.
    More from C2ES on Clean Power Plan

Week of September 14, 2015

Week of September 7, 2015

  • Drought takes toll on renewable power share (Energywire - subscription)
    The share of renewable energy in the U.S. power sector is expected to decrease around 3.5 percent this year due to the impact of the California drought on regional hydropower, according to federal energy forecasters.
    More from C2ES on renewables
  • U.S. crude oil production continued to decline in August (Energy Information Administration)
    EIA estimates that total U.S. crude oil production declined by 140,000 barrels per day in August compared with July production. Domestic crude oil production is forecast to continue decreasing through mid-2016 before growth resumes late in 2016.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Solar energy is poised for yet another record year (Washington Post)
    The U.S. solar industry is on course for a new growth record in 2015, according to a new report that finds that solar photovoltaic installations now exceed 20 gigawatts in capacity and could surpass an unprecedented 7 gigawatts this year alone across all segments. A gigawatt is equivalent to 1 billion watts and can power some 164,000 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Central New York nuclear plant could close by 2017 (Politico New York)
    Entergy, the owner of the James A. FitzPatrick nuclear facility located in Oswego in Central New York, said its financially struggling plant may shut it down by early 2017. The 838 MW plant is licensed to operate until 2034.
  • Exelon defers decision to close 2 of its Illinois nuclear plants (Chicago Tribune)
    Exelon announced that it will put off a decision, for at least a year, to close its Quad Cities and Byron nuclear plants because of dwindling profits. Over the past few weeks, a series of power auctions, known as "capacity auctions,” (which represent a promise to deliver power to the electric grid in the future) have positioned Exelon to receive an additional $1.2 billion in estimated revenue for its northern Illinois nuclear plants, according to industry experts.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power, Clean Power Plan

Week of August 31, 2015

  • Southern Co. to buy AGL resources for $8 Billion (Wall Street Journal)
    Southern Co. agreed to buy natural-gas utility AGL Resources Inc. for about $8 billion, a move that would give the electricity provider a big chunk of the fast-growing gas market from New Jersey to Florida. The acquisition would double the number of Southern’s customers to nine million, making it the second-largest utility in the U.S., and providing it with new revenue to help offset its rising costs.
  • U.S. coal burn back down to early 1980s levels (SNL Energy)
    U.S. electricity generation from coal fell by over 14 percent in the first half of 2015 from the same time in 2014 on competition from natural gas-fired capacity and unit retirements, causing coal burn to slump to levels not seen since the early 1980s on an annualized basis.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Solar ready to thrive without subsidy, says U.S. Energy Secretary (PV Magazine)
    U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the Obama administration backs Democrats' calls for an extension of the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar energy, but stresses the solar industry will grow even without further subsidy.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Report: Nuclear retirements could scuttle Clean Power Plan climate goals (Utility Dive)
    According to a new report from Third Way, retirements of much of the U.S. nuclear energy fleet could make it much more difficult for the nation to meet its carbon reduction goals outlined in President Obama's Clean Power Plan.
  • Analyst: Cuomo may need to keep NY’s nuclear plants alive (Politico New York)
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have to keep the state’s struggling nuclear power plants open because of the revenue and jobs they generate for local municipalities and the pollution-free energy they provide, an independent analysis has concluded.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power and the Clean Power Plan

Week of August 24, 2015

  • DC regulator rejects proposed Pepco-Exelon merger (Washington Post)
    Saying it was not in the best interests of the ratepayers, the three-member District of Columbia Public Service Commission denied Chicago-based electric utility Exelon’s proposed $6.4 billion takeover of Pepco Holdings.
  • Three nuclear plants fail to clear PJM capacity auction (Market Watch)
    Exelon’s Oyster Creek (New Jersey), Three Mile Island (Pennsylvania) and Quad Cities (Illinois) nuclear power plants failed to clear PJM’s annual capacity auction. Therefore, these plants will not receive capacity revenue from this auction. Although capacity revenue in a single year is an important consideration in a plant’s long-term viability, it is just one of several factors Exelon will use to make decisions about its plants’ future operations. Note that many of Exelon’s other plants did clear the auction and will receive considerably higher payments than in previous years due to new market rules. In 2010, Exelon announced it would retire the Oyster Creek plant at the end of 2019.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • New U.S. electric capacity is mostly renewable (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission)
    In the first seven months of 2015, 62 percent of new electric generating capacity was wind (43 percent), solar (14 percent), biomass (4 percent), geothermal or small hydro.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • India coal consumption exceeds 800 million metric tons (Energy Information Administration)
    In 2014, coal consumption in India rose above 800 million metric tons. In the same year, China used 3,877 million metric tons (estimated) and the United States consumed around 830 million metric tons.
  • Thermal coal imports to India soar 24 percent to 33 MT at 12 major ports (The Hindu)
    Imports of thermal coal jumped 24 per cent at India’s top 12 major ports to 32.54 million metric tons (MT) during the April-July period this year even as the government continues to announce its commitment to boost domestic output, mainly by monolith Coal India.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of August 17, 2015

  • EPA proposes cutting methane emissions from oil, natural gas drilling (Wall Street Journal)
    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed rules aimed at cutting methane emissions from oil and gas production by requiring energy companies to install new technologies at future wells. The proposals are part of a broader Obama administration goal to cut methane emissions from oil and gas production by as much as 45 percent from 2012 levels over the next decade.
  • EPA proposes stricter landfill methane regulations (ClimateWire - Subscription)
    U.S. EPA wants to tighten the threshold at which landfills (responsible for about one-fifth of the country's human-related emissions of methane) must begin collecting methane emissions. EPA expects the change to reduce yearly methane emissions by more than 436,000 metric tons beginning in 2025, compared with current requirements. That's the equivalent of 10.9 million metric tons of CO2.
  • Methane leaks from gas supply chain top EPA estimate (New York Times)
    Natural-gas gathering facilities, i.e., pipelines and equipment that bring natural gas from the field into power plants and homes, lose about 100 billion cubic feet of natural gas a year, about eight times as much as estimates used by the EPA, according to a study, which appeared in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. The newly discovered leaks, if counted in the EPA inventory, would increase its entire systemwide estimate by about 25 percent, said the Environmental Defense Fund, which sponsored the research as part of methane emissions studies it organized. In 2013, natural gas systems, which include production, processing, transmission and storage and distribution were responsible for 2.9 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Canadian oil-sands producers struggle (Wall Street Journal)
    Canada’s high-cost oil-sands producers are struggling as oil prices sink to fresh six-year lows, and even the most efficient drillers are losing money on every barrel they produce at current prices, according to a report from Canada’s TD Securities.
    More from C2ES on oil

Week of August 10, 2015

  • Oil demand growing at fastest pace in five years, says IEA (Wall Street Journal)
    Demand for oil is increasing at its fastest pace in five years, boosted by an oil-price drop below $50 a barrel, according to the International Energy Agency, as it sharply upgraded its consumption-growth forecast for the commodity.
  • Lower oil prices expected to continue through 2016 (Energy Information Administration)
    In its latest Short-Term Energy Forecast, the U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts crude oil prices (U.S. benchmark) will average around $50 per barrel in 2015 and $54 per barrel in 2016, down from around $93 in 2014. Lower prices are expected to increase consumption of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. Total U.S. liquid fuels consumption is forecast to grow by 400,000 barrels per day (b/d) (2.1 percent) in 2015 and by 190,000 b/d (1.0 percent) in 2016. More from C2ES on oil
  • Installed price of distributed solar PV continues to fall (Berkeley Lab)
    Installed prices for residential and small non-residential solar photovoltaic systems completed in 2014 were $0.40-per-watt lower, and prices for large non-residential systems were $0.70-per-watt lower, than in the prior year.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Japan poised for nuclear restart (Financial Times)
    Japan is set to re-enter the ranks of nuclear power-producing nations on Tuesday after a two-year hiatus that has heightened its reliance on imported energy and sent electricity prices soaring.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power
  • Australia sets emissions goal (New York Times)
    Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced a greenhouse gas reduction goal for Australia of reducing carbon emissions at least 26 percent, and possibly 28 percent, from 2005 levels by 2030.
    More from C2ES on international

Week of August 3, 2015

Week of July 27, 2015

  • Climate change: Obama to unveil Clean Power Plan (BBC)
    The revised Clean Power Plan is expected to cut carbon emissions from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels.
    More from C2ES on Clean Power Plan
  • With $1B loss, Peabody searches for ways to weather industry storm (Energywire - subscription)
    Peabody Energy Inc., the world's largest private-sector coal firm, posted a loss of over $1 billion in the second quarter. The company cited "extended low-cycle market conditions," including soft global demand and stubbornly weak international coal prices as driving factors.
  • Coal will remain major power source in 'foreseeable future' -- Moody's (Climatewire - subscription)
    Despite its present headwinds, coal will remain a dominant energy source in the United States for years to come, according to a research note from Moody's Investors Service.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • New methanol and fertilizer plants to increase already-growing industrial natural gas use (Energy Information Administration)
    Reversing a decline that lasted more than a decade, industrial natural gas consumption has grown steadily since 2009 as relatively low natural gas prices have supported use of natural gas as a feedstock for the production of bulk chemicals.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • 'First Steel In The Water' For Wind Farm Off Block Island (Hartford Courant)
    Construction has begun off Rhode Island's coast on the nation's first offshore wind farm, a milestone that federal and state officials say will help the fledgling U.S. industry surge ahead.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • Obama will reject KXL pipeline during recess -- Hoeven (E&E Daily – subscription)
    Not detailing his sources, Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) said, from the Senate floor, that President Obama will reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada during the upcoming congressional recess. In early February 2015, the State Department received “national interest” comments from eight federal agencies (Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency) effectively completing the pipeline permit application process. A decision on the pipeline could come at any time.
  • More from C2ES on Keystone XL Pipeline

Week of July 20, 2015

Week of July 13, 2015

  • Most U.S. LNG projects won’t cross the finish line, new study says (Fuel Fix)
    According to a new report by Brookings, most of the proposed U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects won’t get built due to stiffening foreign competition and weakening demand, among other factors. Only five U.S. LNG export terminals (Sabine Pass, Cameron, Freeport, Cove Point and Corpus Christi), which are already under construction are likely to be completed.
  • Natural gas surpasses coal as biggest U.S. electricity source (ABC News)
    According to U.S. Energy Department data for April 2015, natural gas overtook coal as the top source for U.S. electric power generation for the first time ever – about 31 percent of generation in April came from natural gas, 30 percent from coal, and 20 percent from nuclear power. For the full year, the EIA expects coal to generate 35.6 percent of U.S. electricity in 2015, down from 38.7 percent in 2014, while natural gas is forecast to average 30.9 percent this year, up from 27.4 percent in 2014.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Southeast U.S. getting its first large-scale wind farm (Utility Dive)
    Iberdrola Renewables is breaking ground on the 208 MW (104 turbine) Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East installation in northeast North Carolina, the first large scale wind energy development to go into construction across the nine states of the Southeast. Taller turbines are making wind more viable in the Southeast.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • China's coal imports plunge more than one-third in first half of 2015 (ClimateWire - subscription)
    According to the General Administration of Customs, China's coal imports decreased by 37.5 percent year over year to 99.86 million tons in the first half of the year. In 2014, Chinese coal imports fell by 10 percent, the first decline since 2008. While the slowdown in China's coal consumption is a key driving force behind this slide, some analysts say that recent policy changes on imported coal have also played a role.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of July 6, 2015

  • Oil prices tumble nearly 8 percent (Wall Street Journal)
    Worries over weak oil demand in China, Greek drama strengthening the U.S. dollar (because oil is a dollar-denominated commodity, a stronger dollar often drags prices lower) and potential new Iranian supply put downward pressure on crude prices.
  • Despite the slowdown, U.S. on track to produce its greatest quantity of oil since 1970 (Energy Information Administration)
    In its latest Short Term Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that domestic crude oil production will average 9.5 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2015 (the highest level in 45 years) and 9.3 million b/d in 2016.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Utility-scale solar at record low prices (Utility Dive)
    NV Energy, a Nevada public utility, agreed to a power purchase agreement at a $0.0387 per kWh rate for the 100 MW output of First Solar’s Playa Solar 2 installation. It is likely the lowest rate for solar energy-generated electricity made public to date, and is likely the cheapest electricity available in the U.S. today.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Carbon tax repeal sparks jump in Australia's electricity emissions (The Guardian)
    According to the Climate Council, Australia’s electricity emissions have increased 4.3 percent since the repeal of the carbon tax, which has undone part of an 11 percent fall in emissions during the two years the carbon tax was in place.
    More from C2ES on pricing carbon

Week of June 29, 2015

  • China pledges to halt growth of carbon emissions in climate plan (New York Times)
    China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, offered the following goals as part of its commitment to an international climate agreement expected later this year: achieve the peaking of carbon dioxide emissions around 2030 or sooner; lower carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 60 to 65 percent from the 2005 level; increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent; and increase the forest stock volume by around 4.5 billion cubic meters on the 2005 level.
    More from C2ES on international
  • U.S., Brazil ramp up renewable goals (Greenwire - subscription)
    President Obama joined with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who visited Washington, D.C., to pledge that both countries would draw 20 percent of their power from non-hydropower renewable sources by 2030.
    More from C2ES on renewables
  • New York seeks deep emissions reductions (Utility Dive)
    The New York State Energy Plan seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050, to obtain 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources and to cut building energy consumption 23 percent below the 2012 level by 2030.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Why the French are losing enthusiasm for nuclear (ClimateWire - subscription)
    France, which currently derives about 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, is aiming to pass legislation this month that will bring nuclear's share of generation to 50 percent by 2025.
  • Germany shuts down nuclear power plant (ABC News)
  • Germany shut down its oldest nuclear reactor, part of a move initiated four years ago to switch off all its nuclear plants by the end of 2022. Germany until March 2011 obtained one-quarter of its electricity from nuclear energy; as of the end of June, it is now about 17 percent.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 22, 2015

  • U.S. coal production expected to decline by 7 percent in 2015 (Energy Information Administration)
    The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that lower coal demand for domestic consumption and exports will contribute to a 70 million short ton or 7 percent decline in production for 2015 (from 2014 levels). Production is expected to decline in all coal-producing regions with the largest decrease in Appalachia.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Bloomberg New Energy Outlook sees global power emissions peaking in 2029 (ClimateWire - subscription)
    A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects a significant build of renewable power generating capacity (around 5,900 GW) over the next 25 years; however, it still sees power sector carbon dioxide emissions increasing by 13 percent from 2014 to 2040. Emissions are projected to peak in 2029, then only slowly declining out to 2040.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Planning for Maryland offshore wind project gets underway (Baltimore Sun)
    U.S. Wind, the Italian company that won federal leases to develop a wind project off Maryland’s coast, recently began surveying the ocean floor to work out where it will place steel foundations for turbines. If it can successfully clear financial and regulatory hurdles, it plans to construct a 500 MW project. U.S. Wind is currently developing Deepwater Wind Block Island in Rhode Island, which will be the nation's first offshore wind project.
    More from C2ES on wind
  • Solar developers rush to install capacity ahead of tax credit expiration (Utility Dive)
    32 GW of utility-scale solar PV projects were currently under development in the U.S. ahead of the Federal energy investment tax credit (ITC) deadline. Analysts believe just 16 GW will be completed by the end of 2016.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • World nuclear performance gained in 2014 for first time since Fukushima (Platts)
    World nuclear generation tracked by Platts in 2014 rose 1 percent compared to 2013, the first annual gain since the 2011 accident at Fukushima in Japan curbed global nuclear output sharply, an analysis shows.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 15, 2015

  •  Record year for renewable power; heat, transport stay fossil (New York Times)
    In its new Global Status Report on renewables, REN21 reports that the growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector in 2014, with a record 135 gigawatts of capacity added worldwide from wind, solar, hydropower and other natural sources.
  • EU on track to meet its 2020 renewable target (The Guardian)
    A status report from the European Commission finds that the EU-28 is on track to source 20 percent of its energy from renewables such as wind, solar and biomass by 2020. Most countries are on track to meet their individual targets. Notably, the UK, France and the Netherlands are currently off track.
    More from C2ES on renewables
  • Report offers strategy to peak global energy emissions (International Energy Agency)
    A peak in global energy-related emissions could be achieved as early as 2020 and at no net economic cost by implementing five key policy measures, according to the International Energy Agency in its new World Energy Outlook Special Report on Energy and Climate Change.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Dozens of U.S. companies bet on nuclear power revolution (Reuters)
    A new report from Third Way finds that dozens of companies are collectively betting more than $1.3 billion that a new wave of advanced nuclear power can be a force to fight climate change.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of June 8, 2015

  • U.S. oil production expected to decline through 2016 (Energy Information Administration)
    The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that U.S. crude oil production averaged almost 9.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in May 2015 – the highest level in 44 years. However, in its latest Short-Term Energy Forecast (STEO), EIA expects U.S. crude oil production will begin to decline in June, with continuing declines through early 2016, when total production is forecast to average 9.2 million b/d in the first quarter.
  • Pace of Canadian oil production projected to slow (Wall Street Journal)
    In its latest forecast, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects Canadian crude output—mostly from Alberta’s oil sands—to reach 4.96 million b/d by 2025. That forecast is less than the previous estimate of 5.6 million b/d and the 6.0 million b/d it had forecast back in 2013. The lower forecast is the latest sign of a global retrenchment in oil and gas investment that has hit the most expensive forms of extraction the hardest, including oil sands and shale oil production in North America.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Fueled by Growth in Residential Solar, US Installs 1.3GW of PV in Q1 2015 (Greentech Media)
    According to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA), the U.S. installed 1.3 gigawatts of solar PV across all market segments in Q1 2015. The United States residential segment of the market grew 76 percent over the first quarter of 2014, installing a record-breaking 437 megawatts of photovoltaics (PV) in the first three months of 2015.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • World needs to ramp up battery use, energy storage to meet climate targets (ClimateWire - subscription)
    A new report from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) finds that energy storage will be a vital element for utilities and grid operators in order to double the amount of clean energy produced by 2030. The "Renewables and Electricity Storage" technology road map estimates construction of 150 gigawatts of battery storage and 325 GW of pumped hydro storage will be needed.
    More from C2ES on electric energy storage
  • Chinese greenhouse gases projected to peak earlier than pledged (Bloomberg)
    A new report from former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern suggests that Chinese greenhouse gas emissions could peak around 2025.

    More from C2ES on international climate agreement

Week of June 1, 2015

  • Big oil’s plan to become big gas (Bloomberg)
    Oil companies that have pumped trillions of barrels of crude from the ground are now saying the future is in their other main product: natural gas, a fuel they’re promoting as the logical successor to coal.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Global growth in natural gas lower than previous forecasts (International Energy Agency)
    In its latest update of the Natural Gas Medium-Term Market Report, the International Energy Agency finds that weaker than expected demand growth in Asia leads global demand to rise by only 2 percent per year by the end of the five-year forecast period, compared with the 2.3 percent projected in last year’s outlook. The report also notes that capital-intensive, liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects are likely to be adversely impacted (delayed or cancelled) in the medium-term by lower oil prices.
  • PJM gas capacity exceeds coal for the first time (Argus)
    Natural gas has edged out coal as the fuel with the most installed generating capacity in the PJM Interconnection, the largest U.S. wholesale power market, for the first time.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Exelon to decide fate of Illinois nuclear plant in September (Platts)
    As the Illinois General Assembly fails to pass legislation creating a low-carbon portfolio standard this session, Exelon CEO Christopher Crane said the nation's largest nuclear generator will decide in September whether to close its money-losing, 1,824-MW Quad Cities merchant nuclear plant in Illinois.
    More from C2ES on nuclear
  • Japanese PM to pledge 26 percent greenhouse gas cut (Australian Financial Review)
    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that he would pledge (by the end of July) a 26 percent reduction in greenhouse gases from 2013 levels by 2030 as his country’s contribution to an international climate agreement expected later this year.
    More from C2ES on international climate agreement

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