Michigan Regulator Endorses Upper Peninsula Power’s 125-Megawatt Solar Contract as Part of Resource Plan

The Michigan Public Service Commission accepted portions of Upper Peninsula Power Company’s integrated resource plan, including a 125-megawatt solar power contract as the lowest-cost energy supply option, according to a Dec. 6 news release. The agency recommended removal of the company’s proposal to build a 20-megawatt natural gas-fired unit, and called for a more robust…

U.S. Natural Gas Flaring Hit Record High in 2018 Amid Glut in Oil Production: EIA

Venting and flaring of U.S. natural gas reached its highest average annual level of 1.28 billion cubic feet per day in 2018, with North Dakota and Texas accounting for 82 percent of the amount, according to a Dec. 6 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. As crude oil production has outpaced the buildout of…

Coal Power Plants With Higher Costs Will Account for 66 Percent of Retirements Over Next Decade: EIA

Coal-fired power plants with higher operating and maintenance costs are more likely to retire, with about 66 percent of units in the highest operating cost group expected to close between 2019 and 2030, compared to 36 percent in the lowest cost group, according to a Dec. 3 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The…

Washington Commission Staff Recommend Slashing Puget Sound Energy’s Rate Hike By $90 Million

The staff of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission recommended rejecting Puget Sound Energy’s requested electric and natural gas rate hikes, proposing smaller increases instead, according to a Nov. 25 press release. In June, the company applied for $139.9 million, or 6.9 percent, in additional electric revenue and an extra $65.5 million, or 7.9 percent, in…

U.S. Energy-Related Emissions Rise After Four Years Amid Higher Natural Gas, Petroleum Use: EIA

U.S. energy sector carbon emissions rose by 2.7 percent last year compared to 2017, reaching 5.27 billion metric tons, according to a Nov. 26 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Emissions in 2018 rose for the first time since 2014, driven by higher natural consumption to meet demand during extreme weather conditions and transportation-related…

National Grid Reaches Deal to End New York Gas Service Moratorium, Pays $36 Million in Penalties

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo on Nov. 25 announced a settlement with National Grid plc to immediately lift the moratorium on gas service in Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn. The move follows Cuomo’s notification earlier this month threatening to revoke National Grid’s operating license over its inability to provide reliable supply. The utility committed to short-term…

NextDecade Receives FERC Approval for Rio Grand LNG Terminal and Pipeline in Texas

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authorized the siting, construction and operation of NextDecade LNG LLC’s proposed Rio Grande liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility in Brownsville, Texas and the associated Rio Bravo Pipeline, according to the Nov. 22 order. The project would have a nominal production capacity of up to 27 million metric tonnes per…

Trump Administration Considers Expanding Oil, Gas Development in Arctic Reserve

The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management on Nov. 21 issued a draft environmental review for a new integrated activity plan for the 23-million acre National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. The proposal includes an alternative that would open as much as 18.3 million acres, or about 80 percent of the reserve, to oil and gas development,…

California Halts Drilling Permits to Intensify Scrutiny of Oil, Gas Operations

The California Department of Conservation halted approval of new permits for wells that use high-pressure steam to extract oil from underground formations and instituted a scientific review of pending applications to conduct hydraulic fracturing and other well stimulation practices, according to a Nov. 19 news release. The new measures stem from legislation enacted last month…

FERC Issues Final Environmental Study for Jordan Cove LNG Terminal and 230-Mile Pipeline Project

The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has prepared a final environmental impact statement for the Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas project and the Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline, set to be the first natural gas export facility on the U.S. West Coast, stating it would result in some adverse long-term and permanent impacts on the environment, according to…

California Approves Purchase of 3.3 Gigawatts of New Resources to Avoid Impending Power Capacity Shortfall

The California Public Utilities Commission voted to authorize the procurement of 3.3 gigawatts of new, non-emitting electricity resources by 2023 to forestall potential resource adequacy shortages starting in 2021, according to a Nov. 7 news release. The order also seeks to keep some natural-gas-fired power plants open past their current 2020 closure dates by recommending…