U.S. Energy News

U.S. Senate approves two FERC commissioners, restoring quorum

REGULATION: The Senate approves two Republicans for seats on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, restoring a voting quorum to the commission that oversees the nation’s power grid and natural gas pipelines. (Associated Press)

POLITICS:
• A look at the legitimacy of President Trump’s most prominent climate and environmental claims as president. (New York Times)
• The Senate confirms President Trump’s pick for deputy secretary of the Energy Department. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• The U.S. has 33.4 gigawatts of solar online, and 9.4 gigawatts were interconnected to the grid by utilities in 2016, according to a report by the Smart Electric Power Alliance. (Utility Dive)
• A South Dakota-based utility will move forward with a study of net-metering customers after Montana lawmakers called for a comprehensive analysis earlier this year. (Utility Dive)

WIND:
• An engineering professor at the University of Virginia is designing massive offshore wind turbines that stand 1,650 feet high, because the “larger a turbine, the more powerful and efficient it becomes, and that reduces the cost of energy.” (NBC)
• A new offshore wind farm in Massachusetts could bring jobs to struggling fishermen in New England because developers want workers with experience on the water. (Huffington Post)
• Selecting the right grid interconnection technology can significantly impact the capital costs and production losses of offshore wind farms. (Greentech Media)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• A Michigan-based housing developer is basing future plans on a “new affordability” model that combines affordable rents, clean energy and access to public transportation. (Midwest Energy News)
• The scientific debate over getting to 100 percent renewables often misses the discussion of creating efficiencies across different sectors in the energy system. (Utility Dive)

STORAGE: Utility-scale batteries may not be as economical as digitally assisted, flexible gas plants that can handle both peak power and grid stability. (Greentech Media)

BIOFUELS: Sources say the EPA will reject an overhaul of the U.S. biofuels program, dealing a blow to independent oil refiners. (Reuters)

CLIMATE:
• Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will unveil a “digital environmental legislative handbook” that gives state and local lawmakers a comprehensive set of tools for passing climate change legislation. (Politico)
• Al Gore talks about the sequel to his film, An Inconvenient Truth, and says the best hope for the climate lies in cities and solar power. (Scientific American)

FRACKING:
• Federal government scientists are collecting water and air samples in a Pennsylvania village, where residents say fracking caused methane to leak into their groundwater. (Associated Press)
• Residents of a Pennsylvania town say employees from a seismic testing company that represent an oil and gas company are trying to intimidate people into granting property access. (Tribune-Review)

OIL & GAS: Utility regulators and geologists suspect a series of earthquakes in Oklahoma this week were caused by the injection of wastewater from oil and natural gas production, prompting a new investigation. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES:
• Nebraska regulators begin hearings next week on whether to approve the Keystone XL pipeline through the state, though they will not accept testimony on whether there is a market need for the project. (Reuters)
• Market conditions, the emergence of competing pipelines and opposition in the state of Nebraska are preventing Keystone XL from moving forward. (InsideClimate News)
• The “cozy relationship” between gas and electric companies and the builders of new natural gas pipelines are driving the surge of new projects. (InsideClimate News)

COAL: President Trump told crowds at a rally in West Virginia that he has kept his campaign promise and “ended the war on beautiful, clean coal.” (WMUR)

NUCLEAR:
• Duke Energy customers could wind up paying $500 million for a South Carolina nuclear plant that may never be built. (Charlotte Observer)
• The abandonment of the Summer nuclear plant project has sparked a debate between environmentalists and nuclear power proponents. (E&E News)

UTILITIES: Three power projects in the Southeast – two nuclear expansions and a “clean coal” plant – that became over-budget and significantly delayed may signal the end of utilities’ mega projects. (E&E News)

CONSUMPTION: A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows Louisiana was the nation’s top energy consumer, per person, in 2015. (Daily Advertiser)

COMMENTARY:
• The executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association says there is “a dire need” for increased pipeline infrastructure in Appalachia. (Williamson Daily News)
• The U.S. shouldn’t allow itself to lose its nuclear power capabilities, say researchers at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. (The Hill)
• Researchers say the price trajectory of wind energy should determine how long to continue offering subsidies for the energy source. (The Conversation)

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