U.S. Gulf of Mexico Oil, Gas Lease Sale Yields $160 Million in Bids

The U.S. Interior Department announced that its Gulf of Mexico oil and gas lease sale held on Aug. 21 generated $159.4 million in high bids for 151 tracts covering about 835,000 acres, down from the previous sale, which drew about $244.3 million. The region-wide lease sale offered 77.8 million acres, including all available unleased areas…

U.S. EPA’s Haze Rule Guidance Gives States More Flexibility

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Aug. 20 released recommendations to help states in developing air-quality plans to address visibility-impairing pollution under the Regional Haze Rule’s second implementation period ending in 2028. The guidance provides more leeway for states, highlighting the discretion and flexibilities available for state implementation plans. The agency said the guidelines aim…

U.S. Achieves Oil and Natural Gas Production World Record in 2018

U.S. petroleum and natural gas production increased by 16% and by 12%, respectively, in 2018, and these totals combined established a new production record, according to the Energy Information Administration. In 2011, the country overtook Russia to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas and just last year surpassed Saudi Arabia in the production…

Heatwave Pushes Texas Grid Operator to the Limit Prompting Emergency Conservation Measures

The Public Utility Commission of Texas issued a news release on August 13 urging Texans to conserve electricity as record demand met temperatures in the triple digits. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. saw its operating reserves dip below their 2.3 gigawatt threshold and push power prices to the market cap of $9,000/MWh. High temperatures…

States Challenge Trump Administration’s Rollback of Power Plant Emission Rules

A coalition of 22 states and 7 cities on Aug. 13 filed a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Affordable Clean Energy” rule that replaced more stringent Obama-era restrictions on power sector emissions. The new plan allows states the flexibility to choose from a list of technologies to set performance standards for individual facilities, making…

Ohio Attorney General Rejects Proposed Referendum to Overturn Nuclear Subsidy Law

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Aug. 12 rejected the summary of a proposed ballot measure submitted by Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts to repeal legislation enacted last month to subsidize nuclear and coal plants. The law requires electric customers to pay new monthly surcharges from 2021 through 2027 to raise $150 million per year to…

Nevada Regulator Joins Climate Change Coalition

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission became the fourth western state to join the Western Public Utility Commissions’ Joint Action Framework on Climate Change, a cooperative effort to promote clean energy and reduce carbon emissions, according to an Aug. 13 press release. The other signatories to the coalition, which was established in 2006, are the California, Oregon,…

New England Fuel Security Plan to Take Effect as FERC Lacks Quorum

The ISO New England Inc.’s short-term program to compensate resources for maintaining inventoried energy during winters 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 became effective by operation of law because the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission lacked a quorum to act on the proposed reforms before the statutory deadline, according to an Aug. 6 notice. A resource is eligible to…

New Jersey Regulator Unveils Method to Determine Progress Toward Milestone for Solar Program Phase-Out

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on Aug. 8 proposed to amend the registration process for the Solar Renewable Energy Certificate, or SREC, program by including a step to determine when electricity sales from distributed solar reaches 5.1 percent, the threshold set by legislation enacted last year to phase out the program. The law…

Virginia Regulator Partly Approves Dominion’s Rate Rider to Fund Environmental Projects

The Virginia State Corporation Commission on Aug. 5 granted Dominion Energy Inc.’s request for a new rate adjustment clause to recover a portion of the costs incurred to comply with state and federal environmental regulations. The agency approved cost recovery for certain environmental projects, including cleaner disposal of coal ash, at Dominion’s coal-fired power plants.…