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FERC’s New Chair Walks Fine Line

14 Sep

Neil Chatterjee, the new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chair, signaled a subtle shift in the commission’s focus to maintaining grid reliability as more renewable energy comes online, during a Sept. 14 House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing. The commission under former President Barack Obama highlighted the role of matching power demand with available energy […]

Panel Witnesses Back Carbon Capture Subsidies

13 Sep

Carbon capture and sequestration, including for coal generating plants, continues to face financial and other challenges, according to witnesses at a Sept. 13 U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee hearing. “There is a gap between project costs and market prices and tariffs that prevent private capital from flowing into projects,” said Julio Freidman, chief […]

House Panel Debates Whether PURPA is Out of Fashion

7 Sep

A House panel this week began considering whether to change a 40-year old federal law enacted to promote small wind and solar energy projects and industrial cogeneration to make the electricity market more competitive and energy supplies more diverse. The House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Energy Sept. 6 held a hearing aimed at assessing […]

Perry Backs Away from Claiming Changing Power Mix Threatens Grid

24 Aug

To counter the rise in electricity powered by natural gas and intermittent renewable energy and fall of coal and nuclear fired power plants, the Department of Energy recommends reforming electricity pricing in centralized markets, including mitigating negative prices. It also calls for reducing the cost of licensing and relicensing nuclear power plants, large hydro and […]

Juice: While We Were Gone

21 Aug

No big breaking energy news occurred during our brief summer hiatus, but there were notable energy-related developments, including the release of cost estimates of using alternative clean energy resources in place of the Puente gas power project, a restart of the controversial Yucca Mountain high-level radioactive waste dump license proceeding, and a push by Southern […]

The Buzz

28 Jul

The California Independent System Operator seeks to widen the route to the state’s wholesale electricity market for demand response. Microgrids promise benefits, but first the California Energy Commission says numerous speed bumps must be removed to make them more commonplace. The grid operator seeks to head off the potential for sudden loss of large amounts […]

U.S. Senate Hearing Focuses on Nukes & Carbon Capture

26 Jul

Advancing new nuclear energy plants and carbon capture and sequestration for coal-fired generation were highlighted during a July 25 Senate Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety hearing on clean energy technology. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass), however, urged an expansion of the panel’s focus, noting the large increase in solar and […]

Undercurrents: Perry “Bullish” on LNG Exports

18 Jul

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told reporters in Washington July 18 that he envisions the U.S., along with Canada and Mexico, becoming a dominant force in international energy markets. Perry voiced support for a continuing Department of Energy and government role in funding research and development of a wide range of technologies—from clean coal and nuclear […]

JUICE: China & CA Build the World We Want

3 Jul

Early in this decade, China was busy pursuing a plan to maximize its coal resources by building giant “coal bases” in its inland areas where the mineral is mined. I detailed the plan in a series of articles for Inside Climate News in 2014. China aimed to use its vast coal deposits, widely viewed as […]

“Baseload Power” Concept Called Antiquated

26 Jun

In advance of a Department of Energy report expected to highlight an ongoing need for baseload power from nuclear and coal plants, an environmental group June 26 released a study claiming the very notion of baseload power has become “outdated. “The reality is that baseload power is not a technical term and is not needed […]

Undercurrents: So Cal Mayors Strive to Advance Port Clean Up

13 Jun

The mayors of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced their commitment to reducing air pollution from their major ports June 12. “Our ports are the engines that power our economy — they must also be the forces that drive our region toward a greener, more sustainable future,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. The Los […]

Climate Roundup: Yanking of Methane Rule Challenged

6 Jun

A coalition of environmental groups brought a lawsuit June 5 to stop the new head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from halting new curbs on methane leaks from the oil and gas sector. Methane is many times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The petition, filed in the Court of Appeals […]

Undercurrents: Nuclear Waste Gains Focus

1 Jun

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reactivated the Yucca Mountain radioactive dump licensing process May 31, angering many. “Restarting the licensing process for Yucca Mountain would reach new heights of scientific irresponsibility,” said U.S. Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). He pointed to the two fault lines at the Nevada site, noting hundreds of nearby earthquakes over the last […]

Utah Coal Plant to Close in 2025

30 May

The Intermountain Power Agency is closing down its 1,800 MW coal-fired power plant in Utah, which has supplied Southern California municipal utilities, including the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, with baseload power since 1986. The plant, known as the Intermountain Power Project, will close in 2025 and be replaced by a 1,200 MW […]

Shorts

30 May

Gov. Jerry Brown announced formation of the U.S. Climate Alliance after President Trump announced that the U.S. was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. Brown also noted he will propose linking California’s carbon market with China’s during his upcoming trip to China. Joining the state climate accord are New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Washington […]

The Buzz

25 May

Pacific Gas & Electric fails to garner an extra $1.5 billion for decommissioning its Diablo Canyon nuclear reactor, as the CPUC stands by an administrative law judge’s decision. FERC moves a bit closer to a quorum as a Senate panel holds a hearing on President Trump’s nominees. In a report that’s, well, quite predictable, CARB […]

Shorts

10 May

California will have plenty of power this summer, the grid operator concluded in a report May 11, although the ongoing closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field in Southern California remains a concern. The California Independent System Operator said that its system should have a 19.5 percent operating reserve margin under normal conditions. […]

Generator Earnings Mixed in First Quarter

9 May

Generators latest earnings report were not as grim as reported in previous quarters but also nothing to write home about. AES: This Virginia-based company continues to suffer losses. The first quarter of 2017 it reported a loss of $24 million, or minus 4 cents per share. That compares with net earnings of $126 million reported […]

Guest Juice: DOE Grid “Study”: Politics Trump Facts

1 May

By John Moore Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has directed his agency to conduct a hurried review of how environmental protection standards and clean energy incentives are apparently threatening to bring our power grid to its knees. That action shows either a lack of understanding as to how grid operators (including the one back in […]

Climate Roundup: U.S. Energy-Related Emissions Fall as Coal Declines

11 Apr

Last year, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from energy use were 1.7 percent below 2015 levels.  Carbon dioxide emissions in 2016 were pegged at 5.17 million metric tons, the Energy Information Administration reported April 10. The decline was even greater in the electric power sector, which saw greenhouse gas emissions fall 4.9 percent. Last year’s decrease […]