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Atlantic Sunrise pipeline gets a green light from FERC and a lawsuit from enviros

The Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline project won preliminary approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday, paving the way for the $3 billion expansion of the Transco system to move forward as environmentalists simultaneously filed a federal lawsuit objecting to the pipeline. FERC released its draft environmental impact statement, concluding the environmental impact would not be significant.

Renewables Swamp Natural Gas in First Quarter 2016

Setting a new lopsided quarterly record, renewable sources outpaced — in fact, swamped — natural gas by a factor of more than 70:1 for new electrical generating capacity placed in-service during the first three months of calendar year 2016. According to the latest just-released monthly "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, nine new "units" of wind provided 707 MW, followed by 44 units of solar (522 MW), 9 units of biomass (33 MW), and one unit of hydropower (29 MW).

Coal company claims water rules would kill underground mining

The nation’s largest underground coal mining company claims a proposed update to the federal stream protection rule is the top regulatory threat to its industry.  “What this rule does is put an end to underground mining in the United States,” Gary Broadbent of Murray Energy Corporation said at an Ohio State Bar Association program in Columbus on April 14. The closely-held company is headquartered in St. Clairsville, Ohio.

Regulators warn updated grid needs updated reliability rules

The lumbering coal-fired power stations facing closure because of age and air emissions have been the workhorses of the U.S. high-voltage electric transmission grid. When the grid was stressed and frequency dropped, they ran harder.

Now, as tomorrow's grid is reshaped with more wind farms, solar arrays and gas-fired plants, experts warn that new regulation will be needed to ensure that these new resources provide the frequency support and other essential services that the coal plants delivered.

April winds led to ‘unprecedented’ power production in Upper Midwes

It’s not your imagination. It’s been windier than usual lately across Minnesota.  April is the windiest month of the year on average in Minnesota. And this April our winds have blown harder than average.  It turns out our winds have been producing some unprecedented power production across the Upper Midwest lately.  On one day last November, more than 50 percent of Xcel’s total energy output was produced by wind. That’s a pretty remarkable fact for renewable energy, and one that might have been unthinkable just five or 10 years ago.

Justice says two companies crucial to U.S. energy exploration have abandoned their planned merger

Two companies crucial to the business of U.S. energy exploration have abandoned their planned $34 billion merger, according to the Justice Department.

The department filed suit April 6 to block the merger of Halliburton and Baker Hughes. It claims the transaction would unlawfully eliminate significant competition in almost two dozen markets crucial to the exploration and production of oil and natural gas in the United States.

New renewable energy projects may find opportunity in old transmission lines

A Montana wind energy project plans to make use of existing infrastructure built for coal.

In large part, the existing electrical grid was built around hydropower, nuclear and coal and natural gas power plants. Those existing long-distance power lines are either filled to capacity with conventionally-generated electrons, or they just aren’t there, leaving vast swaths of the West — often the best places to build a wind or solar plant — without a way to get that power to the people who need it.

Fifteen lawsuits seeking eminent domain over pipeline easements

Kinder Morgan Utopia has filed lawsuits seeking eminent domain against 15 Harrison County landowners.

The lawsuits were filed April 4 against landowners who have declined all Kinder Morgan Utopia offers for pipeline easements across their properties.

The Kinder Morgan Utopia pipeline will stretch 240 miles and carry ethane and ethane-propane mixtures from the Utica shale fields in Harrison County, Ohio, to Fulton County, Ohio. From there, it will proceed through Michigan to Ontario.

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