U.S. Energy News

Pollutants from Gulf Coast refineries pose threat to human health

POLLUTION: More than one million pounds of emissions above legal pollution limits have been released following Hurricane Harvey, and it’s posing a threat to human health. (New Republic, Quartz)

ALSO:
• Meanwhile, there are “millions of contaminants” brewing in Houston’s floodwater. (New York Times)
• Knoxville, Tennessee, has met EPA air quality standards for the first time in 20 years, in part due to reductions in coal use. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

OIL & GAS:
• Flood waters force more oil refineries to close along the Texas Gulf Coast, shifting global oil flows. (USA Today, Associated Press)
• A Democratic senator asks President Trump to tap into emergency oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to “help protect consumers from price spikes at the pump” after Hurricane Harvey. (The Hill)
• In order to ensure adequate fuel supplies for gas plants, federal regulators approve a pilot program allowing grid operator MISO to share information on power plants’ gas use with pipeline operators. (RTO Insider)

PIPELINES: Michigan agencies are calling on Enbridge to make immediate repairs to its Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac after sections were discovered to have protective coating missing, a development that has Gov. Rick Snyder “greatly concerned.” (Detroit News)

COAL: Georgia Power says it has finished excavating three coal ash ponds as part of its efforts to close all 29 of its coal ash ponds in the state. (WABE)

REGULATION: To ensure an adequate fuel supply in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the EPA issues emergency waivers to allow a dozen states and the District of Columbia to ignore some clean-air requirements for gasoline. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: A partnership that makes Sunrun the exclusive residential solar energy provider for Comcast Cable will cost customers substantially more than using smaller installers, but analysts say it’s “a step in the right direction.” (Greentech Media)

STORAGE: A study by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) found that storage would cost 2.7 times more than a contested natural gas plant, but it used dated battery cost estimates from 2014. (Greentech Media)

MICROGRID: Ameren and a Chicago-based engineering firm successfully tested the islanding capabilities of an Illinois microgrid for 24 hours using only solar, wind and battery storage. (Midwest Energy News)

HYDRO: The city council of Portland, Oregon, unanimously approves a package of hydropower deals to sell electricity to Portland General Electric. (Portland Business Journal)

NUCLEAR:
• Two nuclear reactors near Houston are operating at full capacity despite flooding from Hurricane Harvey, but watchdog groups want them to be shut down for safety reasons. (Reuters, Common Dreams)
• Southern Co. intends to proceed with Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear project — the only active nuclear project left in the country — and a formal announcement is expected today. (E&E News, GPB)
• An analysis looks at how the Vogtle nuclear project became billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule. (DeSmog Blog)

CLIMATE:
• With the epicenter of the U.S. oil industry damaged by Hurricane Harvey, Congress will have to reconsider its budget priorities and the role climate change played in the disaster. (InsideClimate News)
• A proposed energy standard in New Mexico is calling for electric utilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4 percent a year through 2040. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Two workers are killed by hydrogen sulfide gas at a coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania. (Tribune-Review)

TRANSPORTATION:
• Colorado plans to spend the bulk of a $68.7 million Volkswagen settlement on trucks, school buses and shuttle buses that run on electricity or alternative fuels. (Denver7)
• A federal grant will help increase the number of compressed natural gas fueling stations along the interstate in western Kansas, an area experts say is lacking particularly for the trucking industry. (Midwest Energy News)

COMMENTARY: Hurricane Harvey should be a wake-up call for the Trump administration to stop ignoring climate change, says the Los Angeles Times editorial board.

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