U.S. Energy News

‘Worst-case scenario’ spill hardens opposition to Keystone XL

PIPELINES: Tar sands oil spilled from the Keystone Pipeline into North Dakota wetlands was a “worst-case scenario” for cleaning up, researchers say. (Vice) 

ALSO:
• The spill last week has hardened opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline expansion among landowners along the planned route. (Reuters)
• Legislation involving pipeline protesters appears to be more prominent than bills to prevent oil spills. (The New Republic)

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ELECTIONS:
Democrats take control of Virginia’s legislature, paving the way for the state to join a cap-and-trade program and boost renewable energy. (E&E News, subscription)
Knoxville, Tennessee, elects a new mayor, Indya Kincannon, who ran on a platform about clean energy and climate change. (WATE)

CONGRESS: Impeachment rancor is complicating efforts to extend and revise more than two dozen expired or soon-to-lapse energy tax breaks. (E&E News, subscription)

ILLINOIS: A federal investigation into Illinois’ largest power companies’ lobbying activities is widely seen as having torpedoed chances of passing new statewide clean energy legislation. (Energy News Network) 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
A new report finds there is a business opportunity for workplaces that give their staff and customers a place to plug in electric vehicles. (Greentech Media)
Minnesota utilities re-examine demand charges to prevent them from dramatically skewing bills of businesses that offer fast-charging electric vehicle stations. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR: A Massachusetts study finds farms can benefit from placing solar arrays on fields by producing partial shade and generating extra income. (E&E News)

WIND: A Massachusetts energy center outside Boston will test a GE blade for the world’s largest wind turbine to see if it can withstand 25 years at sea. (MassLive.com)

GRID:
The Southwest Power Pool anticipates a large-scale build out of wind and solar largely due to economics rather than a “clean energy ethos.” (E&E News, subscription)
New York’s grid operator is conducting a study of how a system powered by 100% clean energy is impacted by climate change. (Platts)

CLIMATE:
• An international consortium of more than 11,000 scientists backs the latest warning that the Earth is facing a climate emergency. (NBC News)
Georgetown, South Carolina, is struggling to figure out a way forward after a coal plant closed and concerns about climate change rise. (PBS Newshour)

COAL:
• A historian says coal CEO Robert Murray is “one of the last of these eccentric, bombastic characters that the coal fields had produced over the generations.” (E&E News, subscription)
Wyoming lawmakers propose requiring state regulators to “address the socio-economic factors” of coal plant shutdowns, but critics warn that could conflict with a responsibility to ratepayers. (Casper Star-Tribune)

OIL & GAS:
A petroleum CEO calls on Permian Basin shale producers to limit natural gas flaring and monitor for methane leaks. (Reuters)
• A former official worries an explosion similar to the one that destroyed a Philadelphia refinery could recur due to the age of many facilities. (Reuters)
• The North Dakota Supreme Court hears legal arguments from opponents of an oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park. (Bismarck Tribune)

NUCLEAR: MIT scientists say getting the power grid to net-zero carbon emissions will be far less costly if nuclear power can be expanded along with wind and solar energy. (Houston Chronicle)

PUBLIC LANDS: The Trump administration announces nearly 4 million acres of National Petroleum Reserve land on Alaska’s North Slope is to be auctioned off December 11 for oil and gas development. (Reuters)

EFFICIENCY:
• Automation and connected-devices as part of the Internet of Things are playing a bigger role in promoting energy efficiency and renewables. (Forbes)
• Individual energy-saving actions are worth promoting, but widespread change is needed to address climate change, researchers say. (National Catholic Reporter)
Florida regulators reject utilities’ plans to slash energy efficiency programs but will allow them to charge customers for storm preparedness. (Tampa Bay Times) 

DIVESTMENT: A Toronto firm’s analysis concludes that three major state pension funds in California and Colorado lost money over $19 billion in the last decade as a result of fossil fuel investments. (Common Dreams)

ADVOCACY: Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is named president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. (CT Mirror)

COMMENTARY: Walmart’s executive vice president and the World Resources Institute’s CEO explain why American businesses, cities, states and other entities are still committed to the Paris Agreement. (New York Times)

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