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October 11th, 2012 Archives
Plant workers and anti-nuclear activists cheer and jeer as regulators, ratepayer advocates and nearby residents debate the merits of restarting a reactor.
By Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times October 10, 2012
The troubles at the San Onofre nuclear power plant brought out hundreds of people Tuesday night for a forum held by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Plant workers and anti-nuclear activists formed warring cheering sections in a ballroom at the St. Regis Monarch Beach hotel in Dana Point as a panel of regulators, ratepayer advocates and residents of nearby communities fielded questions and debated the merits of restarting one of the plant's reactors.
San Onofre, which once supplied power to about 1.4 million homes in Southern California, has been out of commission since Jan. 31, when a steam generator tube carrying radioactive water sprang a leak, releasing a minuscule amount of radioactive steam.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1010-san-onofre-20121010,0,1308276.story?track=rssShare This Post
Ken Silverstein | Oct 09, 2012
If common ground exists between the Obama and Romney campaigns, it is in the area of energy efficiency. But even such a non-contentious issue must still get parsed out and removed from the back burner where it has long been sitting.Share This Post
Boom times, not green
Both candidates are revelling in America’s abundant hydrocarbons. The planet, they feel, can wait
Oct 6th 2012 | from the print edition
AMERICA’S energy landscape is dotted with new landmarks. Drilling rigs have sprouted in North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Texas and many other places where oil and gas lurks in shale beds. “Fracking” has made gas dirt-cheap; oil output has climbed by 15% over the past five years. Optimists reckon it is only a matter of time before America produces all the energy it consumes. But the credit goes not to energy policy; technology and the market are responsible for this incredible shift. This thought is not lost on the candidates.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both espouse similar policies, which boil down to keeping out of the way to ensure that the boom continues. But Mr Obama has the trickier electoral calculus: keeping the oil and gas flowing, with all its benefits for jobs and the economy, while trying to maintain the Democrats’ greener image. The environmentally minded are unlikely to vote Republican but may just stay at home, spelling problems for the president in a tight race.
Mr Obama has shifted with the tide. He happily takes the credit for boosting domestic oil output and encouraging natural-gas production, having called the fuels “yesterday’s energy” a couple of years ago while swooning over renewables. Mr Romney says that the president doesn’t “understand energy” and that his policies are “old and outdated”.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.economist.com/node/21563951Share This Post
By Philip Bump
Here’s a game for you.
Without peeking down below, try and guess how many times since January 2011 the U.S. House of Representatives voted against clean energy or in favor of fossil fuels. Keep in mind that there have been about 450 weekdays during which votes could have been cast between then and now.
Have a number in your head? OK.
The correct answer is 223. The House voted 223 times in support of a dirty-energy economy.Share This Post
By Philip Bump
There is no industry less enthusiastic about climate change than the insurance industry. After all, if something bad happens to a house or a business or a person, it’s the one that has to pay out — and its entire business model is predicated on minimizing how often it has to pay out. More and more floods and fires and derechos and who-knows-what means more and more checks flowing out of corporate headquarters. Not a pleasant prospect.
Munich Re is a reinsurance company, a company that insures insurers. Munich Re, then, is on the hook another level up. Today, the company is releasing new data on how much its clients will be affected by climate change. It’s not excited about what it found. From USA Today:Share This Post
The Huffington Post | By Bonnie Kavoussi
Posted: 10/09/2012 9:48 am EDT Updated: 10/09/2012 9:48 am EDT
The Ohio Democratic Party has requested a criminal investigation of the Ohio-based Murray Energy, after the coal company allegedly told employees to donate to Republican politicians including Mitt Romney.
The alleged coercion of political donations from employees may have "involved extortion, money laundering, racketeering, and other violations of Title 18 of the US criminal code," Ohio Democratic Party chairman Chris Redfern wrote in a letter to U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach on Monday.
Last Thursday, The New Republic's Alec MacGillis reported that Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray pressured his employees to donate to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, among others, as well as to Murray Energy's pro-Republican political action committee. Some of the firm's 3,000 employees reportedly feared they might lose their jobs if they did not make these political donations.Share This Post
CP | By Dene Moore, The Canadian Press
Posted: 10/08/2012 1:37 pm EDT Updated: 10/08/2012 2:21 pm EDT
VANCOUVER — Organizations founded by an American oil baron and a Silicon Valley philanthropist are among the foreign charities being targeted by Enbridge in its battle against critics of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
Tens of millions of dollars have been donated to conservation groups and initiatives in B.C., for everything from Earth Day celebrations to aboriginal salmon recovery programs.
It’s a point of contention for the pipeline proponent, which has asked the environmental review panel examining the Northern Gateway project to compel funding information from its critics. The panel returns to B.C. this week for final hearings on the controversial project.
And it’s a point of contention for Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, who earlier this year decried the “foreign special interest groups” that “threaten to hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”
To read the entire article got to: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/08/enbridge-northern-gateway-review-panel_n_1948855.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=GreenShare This Post
By Robert Salonga
Posted: 10/08/2012 08:59:04 AM PDT
Updated: 10/08/2012 01:09:34 PM PDT
A San Mateo legislator is crying foul over a last-minute motion filed by the California Public Utilities Commission to suspend hearings over PG&E's penalties and pipeline upgrade costs in the wake of the infamous 2010 San Bruno explosion.
State regulators and the energy giant, however, say they merely want to put the hearings on hold for a month so they can focus on finishing concurrent settlement negotiations also related to the gas pipeline blast that destroyed a San Bruno neighborhood, killing eight people and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage.
Assemblyman Jerry Hill asserts that the PUC motion, filed with Administrative Law Judge Mark Wetzell just minutes before the close of business Friday, will have the effect of taking pipeline talks behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_21721507/assemblyman-cries-foul-over-regulators-motion-suspend-pg?source=rssShare This Post
October 05, 2012 J.A. Savage
Original source: http://www.cacurrent.com/storyDisplay.php?sid=6428
In place of macro investments, the new thrust of the state’s Electric Program Investment Charge is facilitating funding the grid’s “little helpers.” For many of the non-utility stakeholders, the focus is new investments to promote localized waste-to-energy facilities.
In Oct. 2 filings and discussions late last week, utilities, stakeholders, and the California Energy Commission made public their intent to use funds intended for public goods for small investments in increments to help the grid perform better and increase its efficiency.
The investment charge program replaces the public goods charge that was legislatively authorized. That addendum on ratepayers’ bills expired at the end of 2011. The replacement investment charge is a program that was approved by the California Public Utilities Commission last May at the direction of the governor.Share This Post
Energy companies are racing to export natural gas from the U.S. as they search for more-profitable markets amid a continent-wide gas glut that has depressed prices to the lowest levels in a decade.
A consortium including Exxon Mobil Corp., XOM -0.60% ConocoPhillips Co. COP +0.31% and BP BP.LN -0.75% PLC said late Wednesday it is moving forward with plans to export natural gas from Alaska's North Slope in a project that could cost as much as $65 billion. The long-awaited effort is expected to have a significant impact not just on Alaska and its economy, but also on U.S. construction and manufacturing companies that would supply steel and other materials for an 800-mile pipeline and the plant that would convert the gas into liquid for export on tankers.
To read the entire article go to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444223104578036403362012318.html?mod=WSJ_hp_LEFTWhatsNewsCollectionShare This Post
on September 25, 2012 at 8:20 PM, updated October 04, 2012 at 12:01 PM
AKRON, Ohio -- The steady development of Ohio's shale gas is pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the state's economy and creating a manufacturing renaissance.
That has some questioning why Ohio should continue on its course to mandate electrical energy efficiency and require power companies to embrace renewable energy such as wind and solar - all of which cut into utility sales and drive up rates.
These two themes dominated the seventh annual Northern Ohio Energy Management Conference Tuesday at the John S. Knight Convention Center.
The news about the shale gas was all good - 359 permits issued, 129 wells drilled, 27 producing and 41 drilling rigs now in the state.
The Ohio Shale Coalition, represented by Linda Woggon, executive vice president of the Ohio Chmber of Commerce, is still projecting that by the end 2014 nearly 2000 shale gas wells will have been drilled and that billions will have been spent in processing facilities.
Woggon said more than 65,580 jobs will have been created and that the total economic impact will amount to about $9.6 billion per year.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2012/09/shale_gas_dominates_energy_eff.html#Share This Post
Posted by Juliet Eilperin on October 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm
Romney told Obama, “People in the coal industry feel like they’ve been crushed by your policies.
There is no question that the Obama administration has pursued policies that have made it harder to mine and burn coal in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency has blocked some mountaintop mining operations in Appalachia on the grounds that dumping mine waste imperils local waterways and harms wildlife.
EPA has enacted several policies aimed at curbing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change, all of which will make it more expensive to operate aging coal-fired power plants. These include a rule finalized in December that will cut mercury emissions from power plants by more than 90 percent by 2016, and proposals to curb soot and carbon dioxide from utilities.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/wp/2012/10/03/behind-the-war-on-coal/Share This Post
Romney embraces greater reliance on fossil fuels — the greatest contributors to climate change. Obama sees a future increasingly tied to renewable energy.
By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
September 28, 2012, 4:23 p.m.
WASHINGTON — No matter who wins the 2012 election, the next president will take office as the United States faces vast new opportunities in energy production and profound challenges to environmental protection.
After decades of growing dependence on imported oil, the U.S. is moving to energy self-sufficiency, thanks to greater domestic supplies of oil and natural gas and reduced demand. Coal, which once fired most American power plants, is being edged out by natural gas, renewable energy and stricter efforts to cut pollution — a trend that has touched off bitter political fights.
At the same time, climate change has gone from distant threat to palpable reality, as ice caps shrink, winters shorten and drought spreads. Climatologists and policymakers warn that unless the United States and other industrialized nations move to rein in emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases by 2020, most aspects of life — from the food chain to the oceans to communicable disease — could be altered, largely for the worse.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-election-energy-20120929,0,7774789.storyShare This Post
September 28, 2012 Elizabeth McCarthy
Original source: http://www.cacurrent.com/storyDisplay.php?sid=6412
Conferences create conflicts. You get out of the office. You go to appealing places. You get infused with new and different input. But at the same time, there is the steady pull from what lies just outside the conference walls.
During the Independent Energy Producers conference at the beautiful Fallen Leaf Lake my gaze wandered beyond the conference room’s glass doors to the surrounding sunlit peaks while listening to upcoming long-term utility procurement proceeding discussions last week.
Focusing on the distant soaring cliffs with an ear tuned to the buzz also is what the 2013-22 regulatory procurement process is all about.
The California Public Utilities Commission, grid operator, utilities, generators and other stakeholders lack agreement on how to get to the top. But they all should focus on the best and greenest route for climbing the steep energy peak ahead while skies still are blue.
CPUC member Mike Florio, the commissioner heading up future utility procurement docket, is attempting to veer off the beaten path.Share This Post
on September 28, 2012 at 7:45 PM, updated October 01, 2012 at 4:25 PM
AKRON, Ohio -- Plummeting natural gas prices have lowered the price of electricity as utilities with gas-fired power plants push those with coal-fired plants out of the marketplace.
Now, FirstEnergy Corp., which operates more than 20 coal-fired plants, is studying whether to modify one power plant to add natural gas to its three coal-fired boilers. The alteration, costing as much as $20 million per boiler, would enable the plant to meet the competition, reduce emissions and respond to new patterns of power demand that have developed since the recession.
A proposed retrofit at the Hatfields Ferry power plant on the Monongahela River in Masontown, Pa., would also enable operators to more quickly cycle the plant up and down to meet variable demand for electricity.
Unlike coal-fired power plants, boilers heated with natural gas do not have to idle at full power while waiting for demand. The old boilers, in contrast, were designed to run flat out, providing power around the clock to the region's industrial customers.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2012/09/combining_gas_with_coal_could.htmlShare This Post