News

State regulators don’t back $16B fix

Source: By Edward Klump, E&E News reporter • Posted: Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Texas regulators chose not to revise wholesale prices in the state’s main power region despite a market monitor’s report that a power crisis last month led to $16 billion in excessive charges. Arthur D’Andrea, chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, said parties made decisions about prices in real time based on information available to all market participants.

Wind Power Was Thriving in Texas. Then Came the Freeze.

Source: By Russell Gold, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Sunday, March 7th, 2021

The Texas wind industry suffered a devastating financial blow during last month’s electricity crisis, which hit roughly half of the state’s wind farms and may force some to seek bankruptcy protection or relinquish control to Wall Street. With ample breezes and open spaces, the Lone Star State has become the biggest producer of wind power in the U.S. It now derives roughly 23% of its power on an annual basis from the renewable energy source.

Electric Vehicles Are the U.S. Auto Industry’s Future—If Dealers Can Figure Out How to Sell Them

Source: By Nora Naughton and photographs by Whitney Curtis, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Sunday, March 7th, 2021

Car dealer Brad Sowers is spending money to prepare for the coming wave of new electric models from General Motors Co. But when he considers how many plug-in Chevy Bolts he sold last year—nine, out of the nearly 4,000 Chevrolets sold at his Missouri dealerships—it gives him pause. “The consumer in the middle of America just isn’t there yet,” when it comes to switching to electric vehicles, he said, citing the long distances many of his customers drive daily and a lack of charging infrastructure outside major cities.

How the Oil Lobby Learned to Love Carbon Taxes

Source: By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Few saw the surprise disclosure earlier this week that the American Petroleum Institute is considering endorsing a price on carbon dioxide emissions and thought the fierce fossil fuel lobby was suddenly becoming climate-friendly. Rather, seasoned industry-watchers say it’s the clearest sign yet that fossil fuel companies see Washington’s shift on climate policy as a real and significant threat.

Oil Refiner Valero to Disclose Climate Lobbying After Criticism

Source: By Gerson Freitas Jr, Bloomberg • Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Valero Energy Corp., one of the largest U.S. oil refiners, is planning to publish details of its climate lobbying activities after an investor pressed the company for more disclosure. Valero will release a report later this year, it said in an emailed statement Wednesday. The decision follows discussions with Mercy Investment Services Inc., which had filed a proposed shareholder resolution demanding to know how Valero’s lobbying aligns with global efforts to fight climate change. That resolution has now been withdrawn, Valero said.

Kansas lawmakers look to help cities with huge energy costs

Source: By John Hanna, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Driven by pleas from desperate local officials, Kansas legislators moved unusually quickly yesterday to create a state low-interest loan program to help cities cover spikes in costs associated with providing heat and electricity to their residents during last month’s intense cold snap. The House approved, 124-0, a bill that would allow the state to loan out $100 million of its idle funds immediately to cities that operate their own electric and natural gas utilities, to cover “extraordinary” energy costs last month. Cities would have up to 10 years to pay off the loans.

Carbon County, Wyoming, Knows Which Way the Wind Is Blowing

Source: By Dionne Searcey and photographs by Benjamin Rasmussen, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021

The coal layered underground helped bring settlers to this scrubby, wind-whipped part of southern Wyoming, where generations found a steady paycheck in the mines and took pride in powering the nation. But now, it is energy from the region’s other abundant energy resource — the wind itself — that is creating jobs and much-needed tax revenues in Carbon County. Despite its historic ties to coal, as well as local denialism about climate change, the county is soon to be home to one of the biggest wind farms in the nation.

Ørsted Signs Long-Term Power Purchase Agreements with Target and Hormel Foods Corporation

Source: By Carsten Birkeland Kjær, Ørsted • Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Energy will come from the Haystack Wind project in Nebraska, currently under construction and expected online later this year. In addition to PepsiCo, announced earlier this year, Target, a general merchandise retailer and Hormel Foods, a global branded food company, have signed long-term agreements with Ørsted to purchase energy from the 298 MW Haystack wind project in Nebraska.

‘Where did the money go?’ Grid crisis sparks investigations

Source: By Edward Klump, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Texas regulators announced plans yesterday to launch an audit of the state’s main power market while moving to claw back some payments to generators, as questions linger over which groups profited when a cold blast last month led to price spikes and blackouts. In Washington, a congressional subcommittee also outlined a push to examine the actions of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the state’s primary grid operator.

Granholm vs. GOP on lost fossil fuel jobs. Who’s right?

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm yesterday sought to dispel fears that a push for clean energy would jeopardize jobs as conservatives questioned the administration’s plan to tackle climate change. At both a virtual conference for oil and gas executives and on ABC’s show “The View,” Granholm insisted there will be opportunities for workers as a result of a transition to low-carbon energy.