Jun
27
2018

Energy Debates Help Summer Heat Up

Energy Fairness is on the road again, enjoying 110 degree highs in Phoenix. Back in D.C., energy debates are heating up the Beltway atmosphere, but we also found some bright spots to share.

The Senate is working on appropriations bills, but partisan divides mean that many “riders” aimed at rolling back rules and programs set in motion by the Obama Administration aren’t viable this year. For example, language that would halt the unpopular and sweeping “Waters of the U.S.” rule won’t be included.

With Energy Fairness now formally a part of the National Energy & Utility Affordability Coalition (NEUAC) we are encouraged to see appropriators supporting the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) right around the FY18 omnibus amount of $3.64 billion. It’s not full funding, but it’s not the program’s demise some rightly feared when the Administration’s budget zeroed it out.

Last week, the Department of Energy (DOE) shared some good news. The agency’s Office of Nuclear Energy announced $64 million in funding for 89 research projects focused on advanced nuclear technology. Continuing and improving research leads to more knowledge and useful innovations, but also helps sustain the next generation nuclear workforce. Learn more about the projects here.

Thousands are gathered in D.C. for the World Gas Conference. Many events will touch on trends we comment on frequently – growing globalization of the natural gas markets and future price/supply impacts. Case in point, FERC Chairman McIntyre last week described that his agency is receiving so many applications for construction of LNG export terminals, they’ve had to hire outside contractors to handle the workload.

While gas owns the D.C. energy media week, other fuel sources are keeping up the Resilience drumbeat. The Nuclear Energy Institute sent DOE Secretary Rick Perry a strong letter, with an impressive and bipartisan signature list, advocating for policies that keep nuclear in the mix, for the sake of national security and environmental stewardship. As it notes, “nuclear plants have up to two years’ worth of fuel on site, providing valuable fuel diversity and increasing the resilience of our electrical grid by eliminating the supply vulnerabilities that face some other forms of energy supply.”

The Resilience debate will continue to heat up all summer; we’ll come back to this important topic to highlight where common sense ideas (hint – the ones that value keeping a diverse mix of always-on, affordable resources) are prevailing.