California Examines Rules for Proactive De-energization of Power Lines During Wildfire Threats

The California Public Utilities Commission launched a proceeding to explore how de-energization has affected the state and examine ways to refine the practice to ensure safety and minimize unintended consequences, according to a Dec. 13 press release. The agency aims to study the conditions in which proactive and planned de-energization takes place and also examine whether…

UN Climate Conference Produces Rulebook for Paris Agreement Following Heated Negotiations

The United Nations twenty-fourth annual climate conference concluded on Dec. 15, following a week of intense discussions culminating in the adoption of rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which aims to prevent the worst impacts of climate change by keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. The deal establishes uniform standards that will be used by…

New York Unveils Plan to Incorporate Carbon Price into Wholesale Power Markets

The New York Independent System Operator Inc. on Dec. 7 released a plan outlining a design to internalize the social cost of carbon dioxide emissions in the wholesale electricity markets. The plan would use a carbon price in dollars per ton of emissions, proposing a net cost of $40.74 per ton in 2020. The proposal would require suppliers to include the charges in their energy offers, allowing the price to…

California Utilities Face Investigation Following Massive Wildfires

The California Public Utilities Commission is launching a probe into the corporate governance, structure, and operation of Pacific Gas and Electric Company to determine the best course of action for safe electric and gas service in the wake of wildfires that caused widespread destruction in Northern and Southern California, according to a Nov. 15 statement…

FERC Enforcement Actions in FY 2018 Result in Over $330 Million in Fines, Refunds

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved settlements of over $83 million in civil penalties and disgorgement of over $66 million in unjust profits during fiscal year 2018, according to the Office of Enforcement’s twelfth annual report issued on Nov. 15. The report underscores agency action in the areas of fraud and market manipulation, violations of…

U.S. Energy Department Unveils ‘Coal FIRST’ Initiative to Bolster Ailing Industry

The U.S. Energy Department is planning to fund competitive research and development of innovative coal generation technologies in the 2019 fiscal year, according to a Nov. 14 announcement. The agency envisions coal plants of the future to be “Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small and Transformative” under the new “Coal FIRST” initiative. The move stems from request…

U.S. Energy Department Announces $18 Million for Advanced Nuclear Energy Projects

The U.S. Energy Department selected 11 projects located across six states for cost-shared research and development of advanced nuclear technologies, according to a Nov. 13 press release. The projects, valued at about $25 million, make the third batch of recipients under the department’s advanced nuclear technology funding opportunity. The first round provided $60 million and…

Policy Choices Will Shape Future of Global Energy Sector: IEA’s World Energy Outlook

Under current and planned policies, global energy demand is expected to grow by over 25 percent to 2040, requiring an annual investment of more than $2 trillion in new energy supply, according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook published on Nov. 13. The agency said that over 70 percent of global energy investments…

U.S. Power Sector Emissions Drop to Three-Decade Low as Electricity Demand Slows, Energy Mix Evolves: EIA

U.S. electric power sector emissions totaled 1,744 million metric tons in 2017, the lowest since 1987, according to an Oct. 29 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Energy-related emissions in the power sector fell by 28 percent since 2005 compared to 5 percent in all other energy sectors. The agency attributed the drop in…

Virginia Pollution Control Board Endorses Stricter Power Plant Emissions Rule as State Moves to Join Regional Carbon Market

The Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board on Oct. 30 approved recommendations to revise to regulations governing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric power plants in the state. The Department of Environmental Quality proposed a more stringent base budget of 28 million tons in 2020 resulting in additional emissions reductions of 5 million tons…

Minnesota Regulators Formally Approve Controversial Line 3 Oil Pipeline Project

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on October 26 issued an order approving Enbridge Inc.’s proposed $7-Billion Line 3 replacement project, following a favorable vote in June. The formal ruling, which comes after much deliberation over replacing a 1960s-era line versus limiting environmental risks, opens the door for appealing the decision. Environmental groups like Sierra Club…