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Energy News

The stunningly lopsided growth of wind power in the US, in 4 maps

Vox | Posted on May 3, 2018

Wind turbines have cropped up like dandelions across large areas of the United States, and thousands more are coming. The US Department of Energy projects that we’ll have 404 gigawatts of wind energy capacity across the country by 2050, up from 89 GW today. Since overall electricity demand is expected to hold steady, that would fulfill more than one-third of the country’s needs. Texas alone, with 22.6 gigawatts installed, would rank sixth in the world today in total wind capacity if it were its own country.But wind power isn’t exploding everywhere across this great land of ours. Vast swaths of the country have been left out of the wind energy revolution, as you can see in this map of installed wind capacity by state:

Trump proposes easing oil, gas leasing restrictions in West

KRQE | Posted on May 3, 2018

The Trump administration wants to ease restrictions on oil and gas leasing and other activities across a huge swath of the American West that were put in place to protect an imperiled bird. The move involves conservation plans for greater sage grouse approved in 2015 under former President Barack Obama. President Donald Trump has vowed to increase U.S. energy production and open more lands to drilling.Conservation groups critical of Trump's energy policies warned the proposal could unravel a years-long effort to shore up the bird's struggling population.Interior Department officials said the revisions to the Obama-era plans were aimed at increasing flexibility on public lands where the birds reside - not undoing protections outright. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was among elected officials in the region who voiced support for the move, saying it allowed for a "Colorado-specific approach."

Coal continues to decline in Wyoming

High Country News | Posted on May 1, 2018

The future of Wyoming coal looks bleak: In late March, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that demand will stay flat for several decades. Last year, companies withdrew applications for 901 million tons of coal in the Powder River Basin. In December, Contura Energy sold two Powder River Basin mines for just $21 million, the amount of taxes it owes the state. And this winter, power-plant owners in Colstrip, facing eventual plant closure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promised the coal-dependent town $13 million to help its economy transition beyond coal.

EPA removes 'international priorities' page from site

The Hill | Posted on May 1, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) removed an "international priorities" page from its website in December, according to a report released this week by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI). The page had listed climate change, clean air, clean water, e-waste, toxic chemicals and strong environmental institutions among its international priorities.EDGI also reports the agency removed its “International Grants and Cooperative Agreements” and “International Cooperation” pages.  The "International Cooperation" page said the EPA sought to "promote sustainable development, protect vulnerable populations, facilitate commerce, and engage diplomatically around the world” with “global and bilateral partners.” An EPA spokesperson told Think Progress that the agency continually updates its website to reflect new initiatives. This is not the first time the agency has removed references from its website, with the EPA under the Trump administration removing various references to climate change from its website in the past.

How Trump can beat China without a trade war: Make America a renewable energy superpower

USA Today | Posted on April 26, 2018

So far we have let China dominate renewable energy industries. Why not catch up and take the lead, like we did in the space race? China is well on its way to becoming the renewable energy superpower of the future. We can still come from behind and take the lead — if you make it a national priority. Since the 2015 Paris Accord, the whole world has been moving as quickly as possible toward a clean energy future. Last year a record capacity of renewable power was added worldwide, far outstripping new fossil fuel generating capacity, according to Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018. China led by investing $126 billion in renewables — a 31% increase over 2016 and an impressive 45% of total global spending on renewable energy. That’s more than triple the total U.S. investment in renewables, which declined 6% from 2016 to 2017. China has a winning strategic plan. “Beijing hopes to make itself an energy exporter to rival the United States” says Amy Myers Jaffe, Director of the Council on Foreign Relations program on Energy Security and Climate Change. The push not only gives other countries the chance to cut their reliance on foreign oil and gas, she says, it also allows China to cut its own carbon emissions and move toward its goal of replacing the U.S. "as the most important player in many regional alliances and trading relationships.”

Despite Support From Trump, EPA Continues to Examine 15% Blend

DTN | Posted on April 25, 2018

Although President Donald Trump made clear on Thursday his support for granting a waiver to allow year-round sales of E15, the EPA told DTN on Friday the agency hasn't yet made a decision on E15. E15 fuel is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% of gasoline. At a White House meeting Thursday focusing on agriculture and trade, Trump said his administration will approve E15. Talking briefly to reporters, the president said regarding ethanol, "We're going to raise it up to 15% and raise it to a 12-month period."Trump's brief comment came after news reports last week surfaced that EPA granted small-refinery hardship waivers at a breakneck pace in 2017.

The renewable fuel standard works for rural America and our economy

The Hill | Posted on April 19, 2018

Political posturing from a small segment of the petroleum industry has the Trump administration considering damaging changes to our most successful American energy policies that we’ve seen in decades: the renewable fuel standard. The RFS was passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush more than a decade ago, provides an avenue for domestic biofuels producers to gain access to the U.S. transportation fuels market, which has been monopolized by the petroleum industry for more than a century. The results of the program have been impressive. Americans now enjoy the benefits of increased jobs, economic growth in rural America, and more clean-burning fuels like biodiesel being used in school buses, emergency vehicles, and trucking fleets across the country. That is success worth celebrating.

Trump to put biofuel reform push on ice, for now

Reuters | Posted on April 19, 2018

The Trump administration will delay any moves to reform the nation’s biofuel policy for about three months, according to three sources briefed on the matter - a decision one of the sources said was meant to shield farmers worried about a potential trade war with China. The decision comes after President Donald Trump failed to broker a deal between Big Oil and Big Corn during meetings over months about the future of the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard - a law broadly supported in the U.S. heartland that requires oil refiners to add biofuels like ethanol to the nation’s gasoline.

Annual wind energy report shows record energy production

North American Wind Power | Posted on April 19, 2018

fter strong growth in 2017, wind power now supplies more than 30% of electricity in four states and more than 10% in 14 states, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s newly released U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017, which shows that the industry now employs a record 105,500 men and women across all 50 states. Notably, New Mexico added wind capacity at a faster rate than any other state in 2017.  According to AWEA, wind power generated a record 6.3% of U.S. electricity in 2017, but the impact is even more pronounced at the state level: Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota generated over 30% of their electricity using wind.

The economic impacts of the regional greenhouse gas intiative on nine Northeast and Mid Atlantic States

Analysis Group | Posted on April 18, 2018

In 2009, ten Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states launched the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”), the country’s first market-based program to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (“CO2”) from existing and new power plants.1 The scope of RGGI is significant: the current set of RGGI states account for more than one-eighth of the population in the U.S. and more than one-seventh of the nation’s gross domestic product. It is thus important to evaluate and understand the program’s performance and outcomes. Through their development and implementation of the RGGI program, these states have gained first-mover policy experience and have collaborated to form a multi-state emission-control policy that has reduced CO2 emissions from the power sector and operated seamlessly with well-functioning and reliable electricity markets. This Report analyzes the economic impacts of RGGI’s most recent three-year compliance period, which spanned 2015 through 2017. This analysis follows our two prior reports on the economic impacts of RGGI: the 2011 Report (hereafter “AG 2011 Report”) which assessed the economic impacts of RGGI’s first three-year compliance period (2009-2011), and the 2015 Report (hereafter “AG 2015 Report”) which assessed the economic impacts of RGGI’s second three-year compliance period (2012-2014).