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Energy News

Deadly 2013 West Fertilizer plant fire was intentionally set

ABC13 | Posted on May 13, 2016

An intentionally set fire caused the 2013 explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant that killed 15 people, federal officials said Wednesday, saying the fire was "a criminal act."

New York plans to make fighting climate change good business | Posted on May 11, 2016

Under Governor Andrew Cuomo, New York is in setting ambitous climate goals, and may be pulling ahead of California.  Cuomo is trying to apply market forces to transform the way electricity id produced, transmitted and consumed. Depending on the details of the rules to be released from the Public Service Agency, New York's program could be the most ambitious effort in the the country to enlist the profit motive as an ally in the fight against global warming.

Wyoming Legislative Committee Considers Wind Tax Hike

Wyoming Pubmic Media | Posted on May 11, 2016

As Wyoming faces a growing budget shortfall, the state is looking at ways to generate additional revenue, including possibly raising the state's wind tax. The Joint Revenue Committee will consider a proposed tax hike this week.

Wyoming is currently the only state in the nation that taxes wind energy production. Producers pay $1 per megawatt hour of electricity generated. Last year, that brought in $3.8 million to the state and counties.

Tree removal for Minnesota solar project prompts legislative action

Nidwestern Energy News | Posted on May 11, 2016

In addition to a countywide moratorium, a controversy over the removal of trees for a Minnesota solar project has prompted an amendment in the state legislature.

The amendment, offered by state Rep. Marion O’Neill, would prohibit solar projects if more than 75 percent of the trees in an area larger than three acres would have to be cut down. The billto which her amendment was attached cleared the Minnesota House on April 27, though the Senate has yet to take it up.

The proposed legislation only applies to solar projects, and does not restrict other land-intensive uses, such as real estate development or mining.

Kansas will suspend all work on Clean Power Plan

The Wichita Eagle | Posted on May 11, 2016

Gov. Sam Brownback signed SB 318 Friday. The bill suspends “all state agency activities, studies, and investigations that are in furtherance of the preparation” of the plans that states are supposed to submit to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency as part of the Clean Power Plan.

The Clean Power Plan is an Obama administration initiative that sets a national goal of reducing carbon emissions by 32 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. Each state is required to submit a plan to the federal government on how to enact this under the policy.



Energy storage: A market that was always years away is arriving

Journal Sentinel | Posted on May 11, 2016

Combining solar panels with batteries to keep electricity flowing when the sun isn't shining has long been the target for companies dabbling in the emerging technologies of the power grid.

This year is seeing more development in that space than ever before, thanks to falling battery and solar prices, the marketing prowess of super-entrepreneur Elon Musk, and national and international clean-energy and climate-change policies.


Carbon dioxide emissions from US energy sector fall 12% since 2005

The Guardian | Posted on May 10, 2016

Carbon dioxide emissions from the US’s energy sector fell in 2015 and now stand at 12% below 2005 levels, a drop mainly driven by the continuing collapse of the coal industry.

State regulators reopen case on San Onofre nuclear plant

Los Angeles Times | Posted on May 10, 2016

The California Public Utilities Commission said it is reevaluating the settlement agreement that left ratepayers on the hook for $3.3 billion of the cost of closing the plant. The commission is giving parties involved in the case the opportunity to comment on whether the agreement was reasonable given that representatives of the plant's primary owner, Southern California Edison, engaged in secret talks with regulators over the closed nuclear plant.

Economist explains bleak economic realities of oil crash

eenews | Posted on May 10, 2016

As a result of Alaska's full-blown dependence on oil money, the state now faces a grim $4.1 billion budget deficit. Knapp's message is simple, but sobering: "The era when we can rely on oil to pay for most of state government is basically coming to an end."

According to Knapp, the state faces four basic options for reducing the state budget deficit. "We have a problem that can really only be solved by pulling a lot of economic levers," he said. "And the essential issue we face is: How hard do we pull each one?"

First, the Alaska Legislature needs to cut the state's $5.2 billion budget, although which programs should be reduced and how large those cuts should be remains a hotly debated issue. Second, Alaska residents and businesses will have to kick in more money for state programs. This year, the state expects to receive about $1 billion in oil money and $500 million in non-oil revenues. Alaska is currently the only state in the union that doesn't charge a state income or sales tax.

Without energy, West Virginia's economy is flat, and that's a problem

West Virginia Public Broadcasting | Posted on May 10, 2016

It's possible West Virginia's coal mines might never come back. It's something both presumptive presidential nominees have been reckoning with as they campaign in the state ahead of Tuesday's primary.

But a relatively small number of West Virginians are actually in the coal business — energy is more than 17 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, but just 4 or 5 percent of employment — so what about the rest of the economy?

In six counties, between a fourth and a third of people have lost jobs in the past few years. Plus, the decline in natural gas has been a double-whammy. And unlike Wyoming and North Dakota, most of those workers stay in West Virginia, driving up the unemployment rate, or they drop out of the workforce entirely. West Virginia already has the lowest workforce participation rate in the nation, and it leads in disability payments. And those aren't the only factors holding back employment: West Virginian workers also trail the nation in education and overall health.