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 January 19, 2015

  • Crude exports would raise production, lower prices – study (Fuel Fix)
    A study from Columbia’s Center on Global Energy Policy and the Rhodium Group finds that lifting the ban on crude exports could raise U.S. production an additional 1.2 million barrels per day by 2025, which would lower the price of gasoline and other petroleum products by up to 0.12 cents per gallon.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Tennessee reactor on track for 2015 startup (Nuclear Energy Institute)
    The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 nuclear reactor is scheduled to commence commercial operations later this year, becoming the first new nuclear plant in the United States to start up in nearly 20 years.  There are currently 4 other reactors under construction in Georgia and South Carolina.
    More from C2ES on nuclear
  • Texas wind power’s share of generation exceeds 10 percent (Houston Chronicle)
    According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), wind power was responsible for 10.6 percent of power generation in the state in 2014 – a record share of the electricity mix.
    More from C2ES on wind power
  • State Department gives federal agencies deadline to weigh in on KXL (Washington Post)
    The State Department is giving eight federal agencies (Departments of Defense, Justice, Interior, Commerce, Transportation, Energy, Homeland Security, and the Environmental Protection Agency) until February 2 “to provide their views on the national interest with regard to the Keystone XL Pipeline permit application.” There is no explicit timeline for the permit process beyond the February 2 date.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • Algeria backtracks on plans for shale gas (AP)
    Algeria has put on hold its plans to exploit its shale gas resource. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Algeria has the world’s third largest technically recoverable shale gas resource.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • India to reveal climate goal in June (The Economic Times)
    India, the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the United States, is expected to reveal its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in June. INDCs provide information about a country’s particular climate targets. These targets will form the basis of a global climate deal expected to be signed in Paris in December.
    More from C2ES on International

Week of January 12, 2015

  • South Korea launches cap and trade system (The Hill)
    Last week, South Korea launched the world’s second largest cap-and-trade system, behind Europe, covering 525 companies. The country pledged in the 2010 Cancún Agreements to reduce emissions 30 percent below business-as-usual levels by 2020; the carbon market is a key piece of its strategy.
    More from C2ES on International
  • Suncor cuts jobs and spending amid oil price collapse (Bloomberg)
    Suncor, Canada’s largest oil company, will cut 1,000 jobs and reduce its 2015 capital budget by 13 percent due to the recent slide in oil prices. Specifically, the company plans to defer the second phase of its MacKay River oil sands project and the White Rose Extension project offshore Newfoundland and Labrador.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • Wholesale electricity prices were higher in 2014 (Energy Information Administration)
    According to data from SNL and the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wholesale electricity prices increased at major trading locations across the United States last year, primarily due to increases in natural gas prices and high energy demand caused by cold weather in the beginning of 2014.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • EIA issues U.S. coal production forecast (Energy Information Administration)
    In its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects that 2014 U.S. coal production will rise around 1 percent above 2013 levels to 994 million short tons. However, this is around 15 percent lower than the U.S. peak production level in 2008. The EIA projects that production will fall to 977 million short tons in 2016.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • New turbine technology will open Southeast to wind development (Utility Dive)
    New maps from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which incorporate taller wind turbine heights, show that the Southeast United States could produce wind energy at much higher capacity factors.
    More from C2ES on wind power

Week of January 5, 2015

  • Nebraska court clears hurdle for KXL (Wall Street Journal)
    The Nebraska Supreme Court threw out a lower-court ruling, and found that the law passed by the state legislature, granting the governor the power to review and approve certain major pipelines, including Keystone XL was constitutional. The Obama administration put the State Department led Keystone XL approval process on hold in April 2014, pending the outcome of this court challenge.
    More from C2ES on Keystone

  • Illinois identifies options to support existing nuclear power (Energywire - Subscription)
    Four Illinois agencies produced a report outlining a range of policy actions that could be taken to help support three in-state nuclear plants that are struggling economically. The options range from relying solely on changes in federal regulation and regional wholesale markets to drive change to a cap-and-trade policy, carbon tax and making nuclear energy part of a low-carbon portfolio standard.
    More from C2ES on nuclear power

  • PJM seeks permission to postpone plant closures (Greenwire - Subscription)
    PJM, the operator of the nation’s largest wholesale power market, has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to pay plant owners to keep generating beyond their scheduled retirement dates. PJM is concerned about system reliability, particularly in the event of severe weather such as the polar vortex.
    More from C2ES on electricity

  • IEA releases medium-term coal report (International Energy Agency)
    According to the IEA’s latest report, coal is the fastest growing fossil fuel in the world. However, the annual rate of coal consumption growth is slowing, especially compared to the 10-year average. Coal is expected to grow at a rate of 2.1 percent per year over the next 5 years, down from 2.3 percent per year in last year’s forecast.
    More from C2ES on coal

  • 5. Russian oil production hits a post-Soviet high (Reuters)
    According to the Energy Ministry, Russian oil output averaged 10.58 million barrels per day in 2014, an increase of 0.7 percent over the previous year. The International Energy Agency expects production to fall by 1 percent in 2015.
    More from C2ES on oil

  • India launches energy conservation program (Times of India)
    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a plan to distribute two subsidized, energy efficient LED light bulbs to all registered electricity consumers.
    More from C2ES on energy efficiency – on-bill financing

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

Older Stories