EPA Relaxes Enforcement Measures to Provide Flexibility Amid COVID-19 Crisis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on March 26 announced a temporary policy relaxing its enforcement of environmental legal obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy gives more flexibility to power plants and other regulated entities on pollution control measures in a time of crisis. The measure allows the noncompliance as long as the entity provides…

New Mexico Regulators Approve PNM’s Plan to Exit San Juan Coal Plant

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission on April 1 approved the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s request to abandon the San Juan Generating Station and use securitization bonds through the Energy Transition Act, or ETA, to finance its remaining investment in the plant. The move follows the state Supreme Court’s ruling that the commission must apply the ETA to the closure and replacement…...

U.S. Energy Department Allows Access to Strategic Petroleum Reserve Storage for Surplus Crude Amid Falling Demand

The U.S. Energy Department on April 2 announced a solicitation to make 30 million barrels of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s storage capacity available to oil producers amid an unprecedented drop in demand caused by the COVID-19 economic impacts, as well as the intentional disruption of oil markets by foreign actors. The agency said that a…...

Trump Administration Weakens Auto Fuel Efficiency Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on March 31 finalized fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions standards for cars and light trucks for model years 2021 to 2026. The Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient, or SAFE, Vehicles Rule increases the stringency of these standards by 1.5 percent a year,…...

FERC Conditionally Approves $4.3 Billion Sale of El Paso Electric Company

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on March 30 authorized the acquisition of El Paso Electric Company by an investment vehicle advised by J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc., subject to approval of mitigation measures to address potential adverse effects on competition. This is the final regulatory approval required to consummate the transaction. The proposed sale has…...

EnerKnol’s Visual Primer – Fast-Moving U.S. Offshore Wind Industry Braces for Hurdles as COVID-19 Disrupts Supply Chains

Offshore wind energy, which is key to realize the clean energy transition in several East Coast states, is faced with tough challenges as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts the global supply chain, affecting project timelines. Delays have the potential to threaten power purchase contracts and federal tax credits that are crucial for project economics.

FERC Approves Jordan Cove LNG Project Despite State Permit Denials

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on March 19 conditionally approved the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export project and the associated Pacific Connector pipeline in Oregon. The approval is conditioned on the project qualifying for state permits, but Oregon regulators have declined several key regulatory approvals. The LNG terminal would be located in Coos County,…...

Virginia Commission Denies Dominion’s $750 Million Smart Meter Proposal Over Cost Concerns

The Virginia State Corporation Commission on March 26 rejected portions of Dominion Energy Inc.’s grid transformation plan including a $752 million proposal to deploy smart meters over the next decade. The agency found that Dominion failed to justify its smart meter proposal with a well-crafted plan including rate design that would maximize the potential for…...

Oil Market Volatility Hits Record High Amid COVID-19 Economic Crisis: EIA

Since the beginning of this year, crude oil prices fell significantly in response to the economic contraction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden crude oil glut after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and partner countries suspended agreed production cuts. Daily price changes for the U.S. benchmark crude oil West Texas Intermediate…...

Modest Carbon Fees Can Achieve Short-Term Emissions Reductions: EIA

Even modest carbon fees can facilitate emissions reductions in the short term, especially in the power sector where natural gas and renewables supplant coal, according to a March 17 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. However, once the emissions level linked to coal consumption is reached, the remaining gas- and petroleum-related emissions are harder…...

DTE Electric Revises Long-Term Resource Plan to Include Michigan Commission Recommendations

DTE Electric Company on March 20 filed a revised integrated resource plan with the Michigan Public Service Commission incorporating changes that the agency recommended to the original plan. The new IRP includes a single pathway and eliminates the four possible scenarios in the previous plan, applies higher energy waste reduction targets, and removes unapproved supply-side…...

EnerKnol’s Visual Primer – New Jersey’s Re-Entry into RGGI Strengthens Case for Regional Cooperation on Emissions

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) expanded from nine to ten member states with New Jersey’s re-entry after almost a decade. Virginia’s Clean Economy Act sets the state to link with the compact in 2021, and Pennsylvania is drafting regulations in accordance with a 2019 executive order that commits the state to join the compact.