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 April 17, 2017

  • 2015 net U.S. greenhouse gases are 11.5 percent below 2005 levels (Environmental Protection Agency)
    U.S. net greenhouse gas emissions (i.e., sources minus sinks) decreased from 2014 to 2015 by 2.5 percent to 5,828 million metric tons. This decrease was largely driven by a decrease in emissions from fossil fuel combustion, which was a result of multiple factors including substitution from coal to natural gas consumption in the electric power sector; warmer winter conditions that reduced demand for heating fuel in the residential and commercial sectors; and a slight decrease in electricity demand. [The United States has now achieved 44 percent of its Paris Agreement NDC.]
    More from C2ES on emissions
  • AWEA: Midwest, Great Plains and Texas lead wind energy investment (Utility Dive)
    In the last five years, wind power delivered 30 percent of all new capacity installed in the United States and is now the leading renewable resource [by capacity], according to the American Wind Energy Association’s annual 2016 report.
    More from C2ES on wind
  • First battery-natural gas power plant unveiled in California (Bloomberg)
    Edison International’s utility unit said it has completed the first-of-its kind battery storage and natural gas power systems in Southern California that will help the region backstop increasing amounts of renewable energy and cope with potential shortages after a historic gas leak.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • FERC chair outlines three paths for power market reforms ahead of technical conference (Utility Dive)
    The acting chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission laid out her vision for an upcoming technical conference on generation subsidies, telling an audience of sector insiders she hopes for a negotiated solution to the issues plaguing wholesale power markets in the U.S.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Saudis target 30 solar, wind projects in $50 billion pledge (Bloomberg)
    Saudi Arabia will develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years as part of the kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption. The world’s biggest exporter of crude oil will produce 10 percent of its power from renewables by 2023, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday at a conference in Riyadh. It also plans to generate an unspecified amount of electricity from nuclear plants.
    More from C2ES on energy

Week of April 10, 2017

  • U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions fell 1.7 percent in 2016 (Energy Information Administration)
    U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 totaled 5,170 million metric tons, 1.7 percent below their 2015 levels, after dropping 2.7 percent between 2014 and 2015. These recent decreases are consistent with a decade-long trend, with energy-related CO2 emissions 14 percent below the 2005 level in 2016.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • U.S. crude oil imports increased in 2016 (Energy Information Administration)
    Gross U.S. crude oil imports in 2016 rose to an average of 7.9 million barrels per day (b/d), 514,000 b/d more than the 2015 average. From a longer-term perspective, gross crude oil imports in 2016 were still 22 percent lower than their 2005 high of 10.1 million b/d. Canada continued to be the largest source of U.S. crude oil imports in 2016, providing a record 3.3 million b/d, or 41 percent of total U.S. imports—more than all Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) combined.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • How carbon capture could become a rare bright spot on climate policy in the Trump era (Vox)
    The idea of capturing carbon dioxide from coal plants, gas plants, and other industrial facilities and burying the pollution deep underground has always been a tantalizing possibility for tackling climate change. It just... never seems to go anywhere.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture, use, and storage
  • Does N.J.'s nuclear power industry need a bailout? (
    The natural gas boom that has hammered coal mines and driven down utility bills is hitting nuclear power plants, sending multi-billion-dollar energy companies in search of a financial rescue in states where competitive electricity markets have compounded the effect.
    More from C2ES on nuclear

Week of April 3, 2017

  • U.S. energy consumption rose slightly in 2016 despite a significant decline in coal use (Energy Information Administration)
    Primary energy consumption in the United States in 2016 totaled 97.4 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), a slight increase from the 2015 level. Consumption of coal decreased by 9 percent, nearly offsetting increases in the consumption of renewables, petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear fuel.
    More from C2ES on energy
  • Coal production increases during second half of 2016, but still below 2015 levels (Energy Information Administration)
    After falling in six out of seven quarters from mid-2014 to mid-2016, coal production rose in the third and fourth quarters of 2016, driven by an increase in coal-fired electricity generation as natural gas prices increased.
  • Coal plants near retirement age as EPA reviews emissions rules (Morning Consult)
    Many states are retiring coal plants, regardless of the ultimate fate of the Clean Power Plan. In 17 of the 26 states suing, the median-aged coal-fired generator is at least 40 years old, according the Energy Information Administration.
    More from C2ES on coal
  • How can the Northeast expand capacity with so little land? (Energywire - subscription)
    With the Trump Administration rolling back environmental regulations, the task of developing renewable energy projects has fallen to states. While many reports have focused on California, a new paper highlights how states in the Northeast can boost their renewable generation capacity.
    More from C2ES on Canadian Hydropower
  • Ohio lawmakers taking up nuclear plant subsidies for FirstEnergy (Biz Journals)
    Ohio lawmakers will consider a bill to provide subsidies to FirstEnergy Corp. to keep its two nuclear power plants operating in Ohio. Senate Bill 128 would establish zero-emission credits to subsidize the plants in the name of maintaining a mix of power sources in Ohio and supporting generation with cleaner emissions than coal.
  • Nuke firm eyes site near WIPP for temporary waste storage (Santa Fe New Mexican)
    All radioactive waste generated by the nation’s nuclear power plants could be shipped to southeastern New Mexico as soon as 2022 and stored for decades just below ground, on the dry plains near Carlsbad, if a federal agency gives its approval.
    More from C2ES on nuclear


Week of March 27, 2017

Week of March 20, 2017

  • Trump administration grants approval for Keystone XL pipeline (Washington Post)
    The Trump administration has granted a permit for construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to the company behind the project.
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL
  • Electric cars pose little threat to oil demand (Financial Times)
    The popular claim that a surge in electric cars will hasten the arrival of peak oil demand is undermined by the data. The majority of the world’s cars will remain powered by petrol, also commonly known as gasoline, for at least the next two decades and this will drive oil demand, according to data from Facts Global Energy. With the number of passenger vehicles expected to grow to 1.8bn by 2040, the energy consultancy estimates only 10 percent will be accounted for by electric cars and a further 20 percent by hybrids.
  • Despite gloomy headlines, Alberta oil sands output expected to set records in 2017 (The Globe and Mail)
    The sell-off of Alberta oil sands assets by another big international player – along with big reserve writedowns, the introduction of a carbon tax and a stumbling crude price – all suggest a gloomy outlook for production from the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves. But Canada’s oil sands output is still expected to set new records in 2017 and climb even further in the coming years.
  • U.S. gasoline demand poised for steep drop-off (Energywire - subscription)
    U.S. gasoline demand is poised to steadily fall by more than 1.7 million barrels a day by 2030 argues Andrew Shepard, an oil and refining analyst at Wood Mackenzie. He cited stricter fuel economy standards, which the federal government may overturn, and demographic changes driving the demand drop.
  • More from C2ES on oil
  • Is 100% renewable energy the best goal to cut power sector emissions? (Utility Dive)
    A new research review, commissioned by the Energy Innovation Reform Project (EIRP), examines the best route to “deep decarbonization” of the power sector — nearly zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. It argues 100 percent renewables is not the best way to get there. It says keeping some nuclear and CCS on the system could be more cost-effective.
    More from C2ES on renewables
  • Plans for coal-fired power plants drop by almost half in 2016 (BBC)
    The authors of a new study say there was a 48 percent fall in planned coal units, with a 62 percent drop in construction starts. The report, from several green campaign groups, claims changing policies and economic conditions in China and India were behind the decline.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of March 13, 2017

Week of March 6, 2017

  • Wind power blows through nuclear, coal as costs drop at sea (Bloomberg)
    Water and electric power plants don’t mix well naturally, unless you add some wind. Water tends to corrode and short out circuits. So what’s happening in the renewable energy industry, where developers are putting jumbo-jet sized wind turbines into stormy seas, is at the very least an engineering miracle. What might be even more miraculous to skeptics like those populating Donald Trump’s administration is that these multi-billion-dollar mega projects make increasing economic sense, even compared to new coal and nuclear power.
  • U.S. wind generating capacity surpasses hydro capacity at the end of 2016 (Energy Information Administration)
    Installed wind electric generating capacity in the United States surpassed conventional hydroelectric generating capacity, long the nation’s largest source of renewable electricity, after 8,727 megawatts (MW) of new wind capacity came online in 2016. However, given the hydro fleet’s higher average capacity factors and the above-normal precipitation on the West Coast so far this year, hydro generation will likely once again exceed wind generation in 2017.
  • Midwestern states now get a fifth of their power from wind (Climatewire - subscription)
    Five Midwestern states - Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota - are now producing more than 20 percent of their electricity from wind energy, helping to boost wind's share of U.S. grid-delivered power to 5.5 percent, according to a new industry analysis of government data.
    More from C2ES on wind
  • Analysis: UK carbon emissions fell 6% in 2016 after record drop in coal use (Carbon Brief)
    Carbon Brief analysis shows the UK’s CO2 emissions fell by 5.8 percent in 2016, after a record 52 percent drop in coal use. UK coal demand has fallen precipitously because of cheaper gas, the expansion of renewables, falling demand for energy and the closure of Redcar steelworks in late 2015. Perhaps the most consequential factor, however, is the UK’s top-up carbon tax, which doubled in 2015 to £18 per tonne of CO2. The future of the carbon price floor is uncertain; it has only been fixed out to 2021. 
    More from C2ES on coal
  • GTM Research: U.S. solar market to decline 10% in 2017 (PV Magazine) 
    While 2016 was a banner year for the U.S. solar market, 2017 will see the market’s first year-over-year decline in the 21st century, according to the latest report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Wind and solar power are disrupting electricity systems (Economist)
    Almost 150 years after photovoltaic cells and wind turbines were invented, they still generate only 7 percent of the world’s electricity. Yet something remarkable is happening. From being peripheral to the energy system just over a decade ago, they are now growing faster than any other energy source and their falling costs are making them competitive with fossil fuels. BP, an oil firm, expects renewables to account for half of the growth in global energy supply over the next 20 years. It is no longer far-fetched to think that the world is entering an era of clean, unlimited and cheap power. About time, too.
    More from C2ES on electricity

Week of February 27, 2017

  • China's GHGs still steady as coal consumption drops (Climatewire - subscription)
    China kept its carbon dioxide emissions in check for a third consecutive year, according to data released by the government. Experts who analyzed the National Bureau of Statistics' findings credited China's massive deployment of clean energy combined with a 4.7 percent drop in coal consumption in 2016 with keeping CO2 levels steady.
    More from C2ES on Key Country Policies
  • NRG CEO: Independent power producer model 'obsolete' (Utility Dive)
    NRG Energy lost almost $900 million last year, the result of lower power and gas prices along with a hefty "goodwill impairment charge." But despite the loss, the big news from the power producer's earnings came from a comment made to journalists and financial analysts: Mauricio Gutierrez, NRG President and CEO, said the independent power producer model is "now obsolete and unable to create value over the long term."
  • U.S. electric generating capacity increase in 2016 was largest net change since 2011 (Energy Information Administration)
    Of the 2016 total utility-scale capacity additions, more than 60 percent were wind (8.7 GW) and solar (7.7 GW), compared with 33 percent (9 GW) from natural gas.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Shell shuns new oil-sands projects as low prices force cost control (Bloomberg)
    Oil sands, the reserves of heavy crude found primarily in northern Alberta, lured investors in the past decade as oil’s surge above $100 a barrel made the difficult extraction process economic. But they’ve fallen out of favor following the subsequent market collapse as companies dump expensive projects amid fears that competition from low-cost crude could strand costlier assets.
  • Peak gasoline demand looms with engine efficiency gains (Reuters)
    Demand for gasoline in the United States, which accounts for a tenth of global oil consumption, is expected to peak next year as engines become more efficient, WoodMackenzie analysts said. Global demand for gasoline, which accounts for more than a quarter of the world's oil consumption, is set to peak as early as 2021 even in the face of relentless growth in the vehicle fleet, according to the Edinburgh-based consultancy.
    More from C2ES on oil

Week of February 20, 2017

  • Automakers urge new EPA chief to withdraw Obama car fuel-efficiency rules (Reuters)
    A trade association representing General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and nine other automakers asked new Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to withdraw an Obama administration decision to lock in vehicle emission rules through 2025.
    More from C2ES on transportation
  • FirstEnergy seeks subsidies in Ohio, eyes sale of plants (Energywire - subscription)
    FirstEnergy Corp. said legislation will soon be introduced in its home state that would subsidize its two nuclear plants on Lake Erie.
    More from C2ES on nuclear
  • Liquefied natural gas exports expected to drive growth in U.S. natural gas trade (Energy Information Administration)
    The United States is expected to become a net exporter of natural gas on an average annual basis by 2018, according to the recently released Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) Reference case. The transition to net exporter is driven by declining pipeline imports, growing pipeline exports, and increasing exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In most AEO2017 cases, the United States is also projected to become a net exporter of total energy in the 2020s in large part because of increasing natural gas exports.
  • Peak LNG glut is just 2 years away — Moody's (Energywire - subscription)
    An ongoing build-out of world capacity to liquefy natural gas will cost more than $1 trillion and will bring a growing surplus of LNG that will peak in 2019 before fading out in the early 2020s, according to a new analysis by Moody's Investors Service.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • Tesla plugs big batteries into PG&E’s electric grid (San Francisco Chronicle)
    Big battery packs can take the place of peaker plants, small fossil-fuel power plants that may only run for a few hours a day. The Browns Valley project may also help PG&E avoid upgrading that substation to handle rising electricity demand in the area.
    More from C2ES on electric energy storage

Week of February 13, 2017

Week of February 6, 2017

  • Solar keeps up torrid pace as job creator (Energywire – subscription)
    Solar industry job creation grew by 24.5 percent from November 2015 to November 2016, according to the National Solar Jobs Census, an annual report released today by a nonprofit called the Solar Foundation. That follows on almost 20 percent growth in 2015, about 22 percent in 2014 and almost 20 percent in 2013.
    More from C2ES on solar
  • Oklahoma Gov. Fallin proposes wind tax, accelerated phase-out of state tax credit (Utility Dive)
    Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) released a proposed executive budget this week that included a $0.005/kWh tax on wind generation and called for the early phase-out of incentives she says are no longer necessary.
  • Offshore wind moves into energy’s mainstream (New York Times)
    It is precisely the size, both of the projects and the profits they can bring, that has grabbed the attention of financial institutions, money managers and private equity funds, like the investment bank Goldman Sachs, as well as wealthy individuals like the owner of the Danish toymaker Lego. As offshore wind technology has improved and demand for renewable energy has risen, costs have fallen.
    More from C2ES on wind

Week of January 30, 2017

  • Natural gas-fired generating capacity likely to increase over next two years (Energy Information Administration) 
    The U.S. electricity industry is planning to increase natural gas-fired generating capacity by 11.2 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 and 25.4 GW in 2018, based on information reported to EIA. On a combined basis, these 2017–18 additions would increase natural gas capacity by 8 percent from the capacity existing at the end of 2016.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • European coal dependence not as high as assumed, in continual decline, reports EIU (Clean Technica)
    A new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has concluded that Europe’s coal consumption has been in long-term decline, and the region’s reliance on it is not as uniformly high as many assume. The report shows that coal generation across Europe has fallen consistently since 2013, falling more than 10 percent and negating the modest increase in coal generation that was seen at the beginning of this decade. As a result, coal’s share of power generation in Europe has fallen below 25 percent. 
    More from C2ES on coal
  • Duke, Schneider pair up to build two microgrids in Maryland (Utility Dive)
    Schneider Electric and Duke Energy Renewables have signed an agreement to deploy two advanced microgrids to serve the Montgomery County, MD, Public Safety Headquarters and Correctional Facility.
  • D.C. forges ahead with modernization effort (Energywire – subscription)
    The nation's capital, which is home to 650,000 residents, is taking key steps to modernize its electric grid and gas distribution system. The D.C. Public Service Commission has been the driving force behind this push for modernization.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • 5. World's largest energy storage project opening in San Diego (Greenwire - subscription)
    The largest battery storage project in the world will open in days in San Diego County, part of a surge of Southern California energy storage projects coming online.
    More from C2ES on electrical energy storage

Week of January 23, 2017

  • Trump revives Keystone Pipeline rejected by Obama (New York Times)
    President Trump moved assertively on Tuesday to further dismantle his predecessor’s policies as he revived the Keystone XL pipeline that stirred years of debate over the balance between the nation’s energy needs and efforts to stem climate change.  
    More from C2ES on Keystone XL Pipeline
  • Canadian drillers brave deep freeze as oil patch revives (Bloomberg)
    From the tight-oil plays of Saskatchewan to the oil sands of northern Alberta, Canada’s energy producers are returning to growth mode after more than two years enduring the worst market rout in decades. They are leaner and more efficient after cutting staff, shelving projects and reducing costs since the downturn. Cheaper crude doesn’t feel so painful any longer.
  • Global crude oil balances expected to tighten through 2018 (Energy Information Administration)
    Global production and consumption (of crude oil and other liquids) are both projected to increase through 2018, but consumption is expected to increase at a faster rate than production. As a result, global balances are expected to tighten.
  • Efficiency, not EVs, will make biggest dent in oil use — BP (Climatewire – subscription)
    Though more electric vehicles will hit roadways over the coming decades, the global oil industry will see a bigger impact from cars and trucks that go farther with less fuel, cutting oil demand growth by 16 million barrels per day over the next 20 years, according to a forecast by oil major BP PLC.
    More from C2ES on oil
  • N.Y. utility gives green light to largest project in U.S. (Energywire - subscription)
    A New York utility approved the largest-ever offshore wind project in America, and officials said it shouldn't add much more than a dollar to customers' monthly bills. The Long Island Power Authority, a public utility that reports to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), gave the green light to a 90-megawatt project off the South Fork of Long Island. The target operation date is Dec. 1, 2022.
    More from C2ES on wind

Week of January 16, 2017

Week of January 9, 2017

  • Renewable generation capacity expected to account for most 2016 capacity additions (Energy Information Administration)
    Once final data are in, EIA expects 24 gigawatts of new generating capacity to be added to the power grid during 2016. For the third consecutive year, more than half of these additions are renewable technologies, especially wind and solar.
    More from C2ES on electricity
  • Industry milestone: NuScale asks NRC to approve small reactor (Greenwire - Subscription)
    NuScale Power LLC has become the first U.S. company to apply for federal approval of a small modular reactor design, a technology embraced by boosters of nuclear power as a way forward for their industry and a carbon-free replacement for coal-fired plants.
    More from C2ES on nuclear
  • Natural gas prices in 2016 were the lowest in nearly 20 years (Energy Information Administration)
    Natural gas spot prices in 2016 averaged $2.49 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) at the national benchmark Henry Hub, the lowest annual average price since 1999. The monthly average price fell below $2.00/MMBtu from February through May, but later increased, ending the year at an average of $3.58/MMBtu in December. Warmer-than-normal temperatures for most of the year and changing natural gas demand were the main drivers of natural gas prices in 2016.
  • Shell ethane-cracker plant moves forward with local approval (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
    Potter Township, Pennsylvania moved a step closer to approving Shell Chemical Co.’s multibillion-dollar petrochemical complex along the Ohio River in Beaver County after an impassioned and disruptive hearing.
    More from C2ES on natural gas
  • World’s biggest carbon capture project in service on schedule (Financial Times)
    The world’s largest project capturing carbon dioxide emissions from power generation has come into service in the U.S. on time and on budget, pointing the way towards a potentially viable future for the technology as a way to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
    More from C2ES on carbon capture
  • Coal production declines in 2016, with average coal prices below their 2015 level (Energy Information Administration)
    U.S. coal production in 2016 is expected to total 743 million short tons, 17 percent lower than in 2015, and the lowest level since 1978. Falling production in 2016 continues an eight-year decline from peak production in 2008.
    More from C2ES on coal

Week of January 2, 2017