U.S. Energy News

Texas hurricane knocks out a quarter of U.S. Gulf oil production

OIL & GAS: A Category 4 hurricane causes massive flooding in Texas and knocks out a quarter of U.S. oil production from the Gulf of Mexico. (New York Times, Reuters)

ALSO:
• Hurricane Harvey forces Royal Dutch Shell to shut down one of Texas’ largest refineries.(Houston Chronicle)
• Lightning from Hurricane Harvey hits an oil storage tank in Texas and causes about five barrels of crude to spill near a sensitive state wildlife park. (Houston Chronicle)
• Some people in the oil and gas industry are worried that the Trump administration’s rapid deregulation efforts could backfire by setting the stage for an environmental disaster. (Politico)

PIPELINES: In a blow to environmental groups and property rights advocates, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves a $2 billion pipeline that will carry natural gas from Appalachia to Michigan and Canada. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• Murray Energy’s CEO says the company is facing imminent bankruptcy if the federal government doesn’t step in to save the merchant generation arm of FirstEnergy, which is one of its key customers. (SNL)
• Duke Energy seeks to increase electricity rates for Charlotte-area residents by 16.7 percent, in part to pass on to its customers the high costs for cleaning up coal ash sites. (Charlotte Observer)
• A West Virginia coal miner killed on the job last week, who was the second member of his family to die working in a coal mine, has renewed calls for mine safety. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

SOLAR:
• Farmers in New England are earning extra income by allowing utility companies to set up solar panels on their land. (NPR)
• Many experts say North Carolina’s solar and agriculture industries are not at odds and the growth of solar farms represents a huge opportunity for the state’s sheep industry. (Southeast Energy News)
• Models have consistently underestimated the pace of solar deployment, and it could deter policymakers from prioritizing its research and development, according to a new study. (Washington Post)
• A community solar project on a reservation in Minnesota is the first in the nation to be formally linked with an energy assistance program meant to help low-income residents. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

CLEAN TECH: A Chicago-based accelerator will spend the next two years developing an investment model that better suits the needs of clean-energy startups. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: California lawmakers are considering legislation that would increase electric vehicle rebates from $2,500 to $10,000 or more for a compact electric car. (Los Angeles Times)

NUCLEAR:
• Duke Energy Carolinas files a proposal to cancel its planned Lee nuclear plant in North Carolina and wants to raise customers’ electricity rates by 13.6 percent. (Greentech Media)
• The move to cancel the proposed Lee nuclear plant deals another blow to the U.S. nuclear industry. (Dow Jones Newswires)
• Duke Energy says it won’t help restart construction on the abandoned Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina, dimming one of the best hopes for reviving the project. (Post and Courier)
• The CEO of South Carolina’s state-owned electric utility, Santee Cooper, announces his resignation following the abandonment of the Summer nuclear project. (Reuters)
• A partner in Georgia Power’s Vogtle nuclear project asks the Department of Energy for up to $1.6 billion to help finish the reactors. (E&E News)

POLITICS:
• President Trump has yet to appoint a single member to the White House Council on Environmental Quality. (ThinkProgress)
• President Trump’s former campaign manager advocated for measures promoted by FirstEnergy and Murray Coal to support struggling coal plants, raising concerns within the administration over his role as a lobbyist for the companies. (Politico)

CLIMATE:
• The EPA says it will stop sponsoring the Climate Leadership Awards program and conference, which recognizes companies that reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. (Reuters)
• The Department of Energy asks researchers to remove words such as “global warming” and “climate change” from a grant proposal. (InsideClimate News)

EFFICIENCY: The Energy Department’s new electric grid study found that energy efficiency is playing a key role in maintaining a reliable power system, which contradicts the Trump administration’s push to cut funding for efficiency programs. (ThinkProgress)

COMMENTARY:
• The director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University recounts what it was like to do climate research for ExxonMobil. (GreenBiz)
• A South Dakota-based columnist says wind development is “subtly changing our landscape and way of life.” (Watertown Public Opinion)

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