May
22
2017

Sullivan: Best Energy Policy Is Forged By States

The following commentary comes from Jim Sullivan, a Senior Policy Advisor for the Energy Institute of Alabama. Sullivan served as President of the Alabama Public Service Commission for 25 years and regularly provides regulatory and strategic counseling to utilities and other industries.

The United States is, indeed, the world’s leader in delivery of electricity and natural gas to residential, commercial and industrial users. Our electric providers provide the highest level of national electrification at the overall lowest cost and the highest reliability of any country. For over a century our utility companies have grown and evolved into the premier

May
17
2017

Homegrown Biomass: A Great Alternative Energy

The following guest commentary comes from Tim Echols, Vice-Chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission. Echols was re-elected to another six-year term in November, 2016. In July of last year, PACE expressed its support of the wood energy industry as an opportunity for energy export.

This summer Georgia will see the State’s largest renewable energy plant begin full-scale operation in Albany. Perhaps surprisingly to many, it is not solar or wind, but another important Georgia natural resource—homegrown Georgia biomass. Here is why it matters.

Using bio-mass is part of a plan by our Georgia Public Service Commission and Georgia

May
15
2017

OPEC Asks United States to Curtail Oil Production

According to multiple reports from sources such as CNN and Andrew Follett of the Daily Caller News Foundation, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has asked the U.S. to curtail its oil production. The request came last week as part of OPEC’s monthly report.

According to OPEC, the use of hydraulic fracturing technology, known as fracking, has enhanced American oil production, leading to a sustained period of low oil prices. Current oil prices are hovering just below $50 a barrel, buoyed by talks by Russia and Saudi Arabia that those nations might extend production cuts by an additional

May
11
2017

Will U.S. Stay or Go in Paris Climate Deal?

According to a report from Reuters, the Trump administration will likely decide later this month whether the U.S. will remain party to the Paris climate deal.

“The president has been meeting with his team for quite a while on this matter, and he will not be making an announcement regarding that agreement until after he returns from the G-7,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer explained recently, referring to the Group of Seven meeting scheduled for May 26th and 27th in Italy.

Canceling the Paris agreement was initially a key part of President Donald Trump’s 100-day plan for energy

May
09
2017

Wind Turbines and Military Bases Not At Odds

There is little doubt that Oklahoma is a state with strong and proud ties to the U.S. military, with major installations across the state. In addition to Fort Sill, a primary training center for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, and McAlester Army Munitions Plant, the state is home to Altus, Tinker, and Vance Air Force bases. Oklahoma is also one of the nation’s most productive states for wind power. There is no reason that these two significant resources for Oklahoma can’t exist side by side, enriching the state.

Earlier this legislative session, the Oklahoma Legislature helped to resolve

May
01
2017

EPA Postpones Costly ELG Rule

Earlier this month, the EPA requested that ongoing litigation for its Steam Electric Power Generating Effluent Guidelines (ELG rule) published by the Obama administration in November of 2015 be suspended for six months. Just this past week, the United States Court of Appeals granted this motion and agreed to hold the lawsuit in abeyance until August 2017.

The ELG rule aimed to place more stringent standards on effluent or wastewater limitations from power plants. How costly was the rule? The EPA estimated the measure to cost $480 million per year and have a reported average cost of $1.2 billion

Apr
24
2017

Georgia Voices Reiterate Value of U.S. Nuclear Leadership

After years of interacting with members of the public and policymakers about American energy policy, there aren’t many questions I haven’t heard. Many casual observers of energy inquire about the future of traditional energy sources, which prompts some discussion on my part about the importance of reliability and balance. Others ask with puzzlement why the U.S. is dragging its feet on renewable power sources, an area of significant misinformation I am glad to correct and clarify.

Almost invariably, however, there is a question about nuclear energy. Even on Saturday, after I made a presentation at my alma mater, the

Apr
20
2017

Grid Reliability and Resilience Come Into Focus

Late last week, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry ordered his department to determine whether fundamental changes to the U.S. power grid, including the reduced use of coal-fired power, could affect the reliability of electricity. PACE has written often in recent years about threats to the availability of power posed by the closure of baseload power plants nationwide.

In an April 14th memo obtained by Bloomberg News, Perry underscores a number of the same concerns, asking department officials to determine whether federal policies toward renewable resources are accelerating the closure of coal and nuclear power plants and whether the “erosion”

Apr
17
2017

Coal's Steady Comeback

While good news for coal country has been hard to come by in recent years, new developments could be changing the outlook for the industry. Buoyed by the election of a new administration and the prospect of regulatory changes, there is a degree of optimism about the direction of American coal.

The optimism about coal’s future has also been lifted by the emergence from bankruptcy of Peabody Energy, the largest U.S. mining company. Peabody Chief Executive Officer Glenn Kellow credits President Trump for taking action to declare the importance of coal to the U.S. energy mix. Kellow says the

Apr
04
2017

Bipartisan Nuclear Power Bill Advances in U.S. Senate

PACE has written consistently about the need for nuclear power to remain part of the U.S. energy mix, not just for the low cost, reliable electricity it provides, but also for its role in a carbon-constrained future. And while closures to nuclear units in recent months have dimmed the outlook for American nuclear power to some degree, recent bipartisan legislative action in the Senate gives reason for hope.

Recently, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 18-3 to advance legislation designed to simplify the federal permitting process for new nuclear reactor designs. The legislation, Senate Bill 512, called