Sandia Labs Parabolic Trough Collectors

Federal Energy package makes its way into joint committee

At long last, we might have a little movement in terms of an update to Federal energy policy.

A joint conference between the U.S. House and Senate has been established to move a long-awaited package of energy policy updates through Congress.   Members were appointed to the joint conference committee two weeks ago.  Now begins the process of determining compromises on the differences between the two bills.

A major energy bill hasn’t passed since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.   In part, this is because changes and technologies in the energy sector have been divisive, even between members of the same political party.  While it touches on most energy sectors, this package primarily seeks to promote more research, workforce development programs, changes to  energy efficiency standards and some support for electric grid modernization.  There is also currently some language supporting exports of liquified natural gas (click here for a summary of key provisions).

Read more:

House, Senate Look to Reconcile Energy Bills, Schedule Permitting (Morning Consult)

Senate OKs Conference on Energy Bill (RTO Insider)


What we’re reading this week


AEO 2015 Natural Gas Imports & Exports Jan 2016Forbes – Natural Gas Price Increase Inevitable In 2016
Conventional gas supply has fallen 16.75 bcfd since July 2008. Until July 2016, increases in shale gas production more than offset those losses. Conventional gas will continue to decline at about 5% per year because few companies are drilling those plays. Shale gas must, therefore, continue to grow by at least 15 bcfd per year just to offset these declines. So what is behind final projections?

Cleveland Plain Dealer – Renewing our commitment to renewable energy: Impact 2016
The Cleveland Plain Dealer launches a series called “Impact 2016: A path for green energy in Ohio.” The series will examine why Ohio lags behind other states in promoting renewable energy and what the state’s options are to catch up, or get ahead.

RTO Insider – Scalia Death Scrambles Clean Power Plan Odds
Four days before his death Saturday, Scalia was in the majority in the court’s 5-4 vote to stay the EPA rule pending legal challenges. Without a ninth member, what are people projecting will happen this summer?

Greentech Media – US Solar Market Sets New Record, Installing 7.3GW of Solar PV in 2015
For the first time ever, solar beat out natural-gas capacity additions, and it’s not all out in the West.

What we’re reading this week

Supreme Court puts the brakes on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan – Washington Post
As a practical matter, this stay means that the EPA may not continue to take any actions to implement or enforce the CPP pending the resolution of the state and industry challenge to the rule, which will not be heard by the D.C. Circuit until June 2. What does this mean for states’ compliance planning processes already underway?

Transmission project bets on clean Canadian power in Pennsylvania – PG Powersource
Designed to move 1,000 megawatts of Canadian-produced electricity along the floor of the lake into Erie County, ITC’s line would serve as the first link between Canada and the regional power grid spanning Pennsylvania, 12 surrounding states and Washington, D.C.  Transmission lines have been much longer and more ambitious than the proposed 73-mile project. The idea still has to pass the muster of state environmental regulators, and the project also is pending approval from Canada’s National Energy Board.  How would this project affect the mix of generation in our region?

Low gas price cuts impact-fee revenue for Pa. counties and municipalities – StateImpact
mostly because of the sharp fall in gas prices, it would be reducing the amounts paid to municipalities and counties from impact fees charged to operators under Act 13, Pennsylvania’s wide-ranging gas industry law. How will this affect PA’s rural counties, and will this affect the state severance tax proposals?

Refracking The Shale Plays – O&G Financial Journal
Refracturing of shale wells is a popular topic since operators can apply the latest technology to older wells, thereby increasing production without incurring all the costs of a new well. Well results indicate that the resources per well have doubled since 2012 for the main plays, making refracturing of shale wells a logical development. Operators are optimistically discussing the possibility, but how have the results compared to expectations so far?

Pennsylvania lags in solar power market – Tribune Review
Tech companies that use large amounts of energy to run servers increasingly are looking at solar power often want to locate in states with policies that encourage solar use and development. Pennsylvania is not on that list.