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20Nov/14Off

GOP Congress: 5 energy priorities


Editors' Picks

    Republicans won control of the US Senate in the 2014 midterm elections, and they’re already deciding what to tackle when they take the reins. Perhaps the most prominent and promising area for the next Congress to make headway is energy and climate.

    Approval of the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline is high on the GOP majority’s to-do list, but it’s not the only priority. Many Republicans are itching to expand liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports by speeding up the permitting process, and others hope to expand oil and gas drilling offshore and on public lands. Many hope Congress will pass a bill to boost energy efficiency, a rare energy issue that tends to win the support of both parties.

    Republicans view their Senate majority as a chance to stall the “war on coal” they accuse President Obama of waging. It’s also a chance to boost a US energy boom that’s created jobs, lowered gas prices, and reduced American dependence on foreign oil. The US oil and gas sector has grown so quickly in the last several years that US production now rivals that of Saudi Arabia and Russia.

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2014/1119/GOP-Congress-5-energy-priorities/Keystone-after-all

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    20Nov/14Off

    Anna Eshoo won’t lead Energy & Commerce Dems


    By Josh Richman
    Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 at 10:19 am in Anna Eshoo, Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House.

    Rep. Anna Eshoo has lost her bid to use Silicon Valley’s innovation allure to leapfrog ahead of a more senior peer and become the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s ranking Democrat.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – who had backed Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, for the job in a letter to Democrats this month – announced Wednesday that the Democratic Caucus instead had approved Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., as that panel’s ranking member. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, is a close friend and political ally of Pelosi’s; several news outlets say the vote was 100-90 for Pallone, a blow to Pelosi’s clout within her own caucus.

    “I congratulate Frank Pallone on a hard fought campaign and congratulate Anna Eshoo for raising the issue of innovation to a level that all members appreciate,” said Pelosi, D-San Francisco. “We look forward to working with both of these members as we move forward.”

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.ibabuzz.com/politics/2014/11/19/anna-eshoo-wont-lead-energy-commerce-dems/

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    20Nov/14Off

    Commentary: The shakeout in US shale

    Posted on November 19, 2014 at 9:00 pm by Matt Smith in Crude oil, Eagle Ford, Hydraulic fracturing, Production,Shale

    My favorite quote by H.L. Mencken is ‘a cynic is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks around for a coffin‘. A bit morose, I know, but this appeals to the contrarian in me. My second favorite is überly-applicable to US shale oil break-evens: ‘For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong‘. For there is no lack of estimates flying around as to the price level at which US shale oil production could be curtailed. The problem is, they all appear to be different.pastedGraphic.pdf

    By Jared Gilmour, Staff writer NOVEMBER 19, 2014

    The debate was ignited by OPEC, after comments from Secretary General El-Badri. The Libyan said late last month that tight oil (aka US shale) would be the first to be impacted by the drop in oil prices, stating:“If prices stay at $85, we will see a lot of investment, a lot of projects, a lot of oil going out of the market.” He said half of shale oil would be out of the market at a price of $85.

    This view is at the high end of the range when it comes to estimates, with the IEA seemingly taking the other side of this bet. Executive Director, Maria van der Hoeven, said last month that 98% of U.S. shale plays have a break-even price of below $80.

    The IEA’s Chief Economist, Fatih Birol, tempered this optimistic view in recent days, stating current low oil prices would hurt investment in the industry and likely hurt production growth going forward. That said, slowing production growth is very different from an Opecian view of ‘a lot of oil going out of the market’.

    The below graphic of oil break-evens from the Wall Street Journal highlights the current conundrum faced. Not only are shale break-evens wide-ranging from play to play, but they can also wildly vary within each formation itself:

    To read the entire article go to: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/11/19/the-shakeout-in-us-shale/

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    20Nov/14Off

    Grand jury indicts Monahans man for alleged oil theft

    Posted on November 19, 2014 at 6:18 pm by FuelFix.com in Oil field services

    From Midland Reporter-Telegram staff reports

    A federal grand jury in Midland on Wednesday indicted a Monahans man in connection with a scheme to steal oil with an estimated value of $58,000, according to a press release from Robert Pitman, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Texas.

    The indictment charges David Wayne Schroeder, 33, with three counts of theft from an interstate shipment. The indictment alleges that on three separate occasions in November and December 2013, Schroeder stole oil from different Permian Basin companies. The final incident allegedly occurred during the evening hours of Nov. 30, 2013, and into the early morning hours of Dec. 1 when Schroeder used a stolen vacuum truck and trailer to steal five tankerloads — about 520 barrels — of oil from a Whiting Petroleum lease in Ward County, according to court records.

    To read the entire article go to: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/11/19/grand-jury-indicts-monahans-man-for-alleged-oil-theft/

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    20Nov/14Off

    Xcel wants rate hike, PUC staff recommends $57M reduction

    By Mark Jaffe

    The Denver Post

    POSTED:   11/19/2014 05:45:2

    Xcel Energy is seeking a $157 million increase in electricity rates, but the company has been making so much money that state regulators and consumer advocates say it's time for a rate cut, not a hike.

    In the past three years, Xcel has earned at least $74 million more than its authorized return, according to a Colorado Public Utilities Commission staff analysis.

    About two-thirds of the money has been refunded by Xcel to its 1.3 million customers, according to a PUC staff filing in the rate case.

    The PUC staff is recommending a $57 million reduction in rates.

    The Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel, which represents residential and small-business customers, also is calling for a rate cut.

    "The company's revenue proposal is excessive," said Cindy Schonhaut, director of the consumer counsel's office. "The numbers don't merit the increase."

    Schonhaut's office is asking for a $69 million rate cut.

    To read the entire article go to: http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_26972502/xcel-wants-rate-hike-puc-staff-recommends-57m


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    20Nov/14Off

    PG&E got $29 million in ‘corrupt deal’ with state, group says

    By Jaxon Van Derbeken Updated 5:33 pm, Wednesday, November 19, 2014

      A ratepayer group demanded Wednesday that the California Public Utilities Commission undo a $29 million profit boost for Pacific Gas and Electric Co. that the commission approved after its president reportedly solicited the utility’s help in defeating a state ballot measure.

      “We have got compelling evidence of a corrupt deal between PG&E and President Michael Peevey,” said Tom Long, attorney for The Utility Reform Network. His group filed a regulatory action asking the commission to refund a total of $68 million from PG&E and other utilities.

      The controversy stems from an internal e-mail that PG&E disclosed last month, in which former company Vice President Brian Cherry told his then-boss, Senior Vice President Tom Bottorff, about a May 2010 dinner he had with Peevey.

      Cherry wrote that Peevey appeared to be leaning on PG&E to contribute at least $1 million to fight a ballot measure that would have put a hold on a California law limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/PG-E-got-29-million-in-corrupt-deal-with-5904723.php

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      20Nov/14Off

      California postpones greenhouse-gas credits auction

      BY DALE KASLERDKASLER@SACBEE.COM

      11/19/2014 3:39 PM 11/19/2014 6:43 PM

      pastedGraphic.pdf

      Hoping to inaugurate a historic link with a Canadian province in the fight against global warming, California officials were forced instead to call off a scheduled auction of carbon-emissions allowances Wednesday due to technical problems.

      The California Air Resources Board said the carbon credits auction was postponed due to “technical difficulties.” It hasn’t yet been rescheduled.

      Wednesday’s auction was supposed to be the first sale extending beyond California’s borders by including the province of Quebec. Carbon credits purchased in California could be used by companies to emit carbon in Quebec, and vice versa.

      Linking to another state is considered crucial in fighting climate change. So far, California is the only North American government entity with a carbon market, and state officials say that bringing more states and provinces into the fold will strengthen the overall fight against global warming.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article4021404.html

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      20Nov/14Off

      Does Texas Need a Carbon Tax to Meet EPA Climate Rules?

      Or maybe just a new take on energy efficiency?

      Katherine Tweed
      November 20, 2014

      The Texas grid has (mostly) kept the lights on despite having minimal reserve margins for years. But if ERCOT, which operates the state’s grid, implements the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions, it will reduce grid reliability in the state even further, according to a new analysis from the council.

      “The timing and scale of the expected changes needed to reach the CO2 emission goals could have a harmful impact on reliability,” ERCOT wrote in its assessment. “It is unknown based on the information currently available whether compliance with the proposed rule can be achieved within applicable reliability criteria and with the current market design.”

      The EPA has put Texas’s power-sector CO2 emissions at about 223 million metric tons, with an emission rate of 1,298 pounds per megawatt-hour. The EPA has proposed that Texas lower its emission rate to 791 lb./MWh by 2030.

      The modeling examined various scenarios, two of which involved a price on CO2 emissions. A price of $20 per ton of CO2 did not allow ERCOT to meet either the interim or the final goal, but $25/ton would bring Texas below the interim goal and close to the final goal by 2030.

      The EPA has assumed that Texas could reach a cumulative energy efficiency savings of nearly 10 percent by 2029 as part of meeting the goals, but ERCOT assumed a growth in energy efficiency of only 5 percent. “ERCOT did not elect to use the energy efficiency savings level estimated by EPA because this level of energy efficiency is not consistent with current trends in energy efficiency in Texas,” the report states.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/does-texas-need-a-carbon-tax-to-meet-epa-climate-rules

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      20Nov/14Off

      A Shift in Lighting: LED Bulbs Fall Below $8

      Utility rebates, better efficiency and market competition keep prices dropping.

      Katherine Tweed
      November 20, 2014

      Just over a year ago, a 60-watt equivalent light-emitting diode bulb was selling for about $10.

      Now, the price has come down again, with Philips offering its SlimStyle, a dimmable 75-watt equivalent, for slightly less than $8 at Home Depot when paired with a utility instant rebate in certain locales, such as Maine.

      Philips and Home Depot are hardly alone in pushing the envelope on pricing. Wal-Mart rolled back its prices to just below $9 for a 65-watt equivalent BR30 bulb. Other lighting makers, such as GE and Cree, as well as big-box stores such as Ikea and Lowe’s, are also pushing down prices on consumer LEDs.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/A-Shift-in-Lighting-LED-Bulbs-Fall-to-Under-8

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      20Nov/14Off

      Power demand soars during this week’s arctic blast, raising questions about demand if the polar vortex returns


      By John Funk, The Plain Dealer

      Follow on Twitter

      on November 19, 2014 at 3:29 PM, updated November 19, 2014 at 5:30 PM

      pastedGraphic.pdf

      CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Electric customers in 13 states including Ohio on Tuesday set a record for November demand.

      PJM Interconnection, the non-profit company that manages the high-voltage grid in the region said on Wednesday that demand at 7 p.m. Tuesday was 121,987 megawatts, preliminary readings show,  reflecting the colder-than-normal temperatures in the region, and a spike over November 2013 records.

      Last November, PJM recorded the highest monthly demand on Nov. 26 at 114,699 megawatts.

      Soaring demand last winter in January following the invasion of polar vortex temperatures from the Arctic and scores of failing or gas-starved power plants, pushed the region to the brink of rolling blackouts -- and prompted PJM to ask for conservation and major reduction in demand from some large users.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2014/11/power_demand_soars_during_this.html

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      20Nov/14Off

      Hawaii to Test Smart Water Heaters as Grid Resources

      Steffes, Sequentric, Battelle get thumbs-up for Hawaiian Electric pilot

      Jeff St. John
      November 19, 2014

      Hawaiian Electric is trying out all sorts of distributed energy assets to help it manage its solar-impacted island electricity system, including behind-the-meter batteries, plug-in electric vehicles, and smart-meter-enabled energy disaggregation. But one of the cheaper grid tools at its disposal could be the ubiquitous electric water heater.

      That’s the prospect being tested under Hawaiian Electric’s Grid-Interactive Water Heater (GIWH) initiative. Launched in September, the project will seek to deploy networked, utility-responsive water heaters in small and medium-sized businesses on the island of Oahu, in order to test their ability to help with everything from multi-hour load-shifting to second-by-second grid regulation.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/hawaii-to-test-smart-water-heaters-as-grid-resources

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      20Nov/14Off

      Video: Celebrity Solar Installation of the Week Starring NBA Legend Bill Walton

      First in a one-part series on celebrity solar installations

      Staff
      November 19, 2014

      He's a big man living in a big house. It's fitting that he gets a big solar system on his roof.

      NBA legend (and NRG Home Solar spokesperson) Bill Walton just went solar on his residence in Southern California.

      Here's what we know about the system: It's a 12-kilowatt rooftop power plant using Enphase microinverters, Unirac racking systems and 43 solar panels from LG. Walton had told the installers that he wanted panels “everywhere."

      To read the entire article go to:http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Video-Celebrity-Solar-Installation-of-the-Week-Starring-NBA-Legend-Bill-Wa

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      20Nov/14Off

      Feinstein freezes out north state in water bill talks

      She needs to include Delta interests

      BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD

      11/19/2014 5:15 PM 11/19/2014 5:59 PM

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Republicans have been secretly negotiating drought relief legislation that could severely alter California water policy. She should know better.

      Any legislation on the topic of water would have far-reaching implications, and ought to receive a full public airing before a congressional vote.

      California’s senior senator is negotiating with Central Valley representatives and agencies that rely on water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and is shutting out House members who represent the Delta and Northern California.

      The fear among environmentalists and Northern California congressional members, including Feinstein’s fellow Democrats, is that the legislation would override environmental protections so more water could be pumped south to Central Valley farmers and Southern California residents.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/editorials/article4023580.html

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      20Nov/14Off

      Let water flow in bathroom faucets

      BY BARBARA C. HIGGENSSPECIAL TO THE BEE

      11/19/2014 4:00 PM 11/20/2014 12:00 AM

      Barbara C. Higgens is a founder of the Plumbing Industry Leadership Coalition and CEO and executive director of Plumbing Manufacturers International.

      The California Energy Commission will make a crucial mistake if it ignores a potential threat to the health and safety of Californians in favor of a proposal from investor-owned utilities.

      With good intentions to conserve water and energy, the commission is considering a new, unprecedented regulation that would lower the flow rate for residential bathroom faucets to a maximum of 1 gallon per minute at a pressure of 80 pounds per square inch, and a minimum of one-half gallon per minute at 20 psi.

      This proposed regulation reads like plumbing gobbledygook, but it’s not. It’s potentially dangerous to public health and would undermine sanitation and water conservation.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.sacbee.com/opinion/op-ed/soapbox/article4020588.html

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      20Nov/14Off

      Oil prices and cars


      Fuelling problems

      Plunging petrol prices are creating headaches for America's carmakers

      Nov 19th 2014 | DETROIT | Business and finance

      CAN the price of oil fall below $80? With a barrel of Brent crude dropping below this level last week for the first time since 2010, it is no longer a rhetorical question. Although this trend has already harmed the profitablility of some oil firms, nowhere has the impact of cheaper oil been more apparent than in the American car market. While petrol in America cost at least $4 per US gallon at the start of 2014, drivers in much of the country are now paying less than $3, and in some states less than $2.60.

      This has resulted in a shift in buying patterns among American motorists over the past year. Since the financial crisis, smaller and greener cars, such as the Toyota Prius, a hybrid, had been rising in popularity. But in recent months, industry statistics show that the sales of larger pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) have been starting to rise again. Carmakers have been busying themselves re-launching classic cars, such as the Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang, to meet renewed demand for gas-guzzling vehicles.

      Most industry experts credit the plunge in fuel prices for this change. American car buyers have “short memories,” and base purchases on today’s fuel prices rather than future trends, says Stephanie Brinley at IHS, a research firm. American motorists also remain sceptical of hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electric vehicles, despite ever-larger numbers of these types of car going on sale. Although more than 100,000 plug-in vehicles are likely to be sold in America this year, sales in that sector are not growing as fast as the car market as a whole.

      To read the entire article go to: http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21633580-plunging-fuel-prices-are-creating-profits-and-problems-american-carmakers-adding-fuel

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