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
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
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

Mar
06
2017

Pipeline Benefits Consumers, North Dakota

The Dakota Access Pipeline remains a highly visible, highly controversial energy infrastructure project. As news reports convey, the pipeline project has been hotly contested by environmental groups and Native American tribes who live near the area where it is being built. Meanwhile, the State of North Dakota has supported the pipeline’s construction, believing it to be a safe means of transporting crude oil and a source of massive potential revenue for the state.

Helping to reinforce the state’s position, a new report from the Associated Press has confirmed that the state stands to gain $110 million per year in

Feb
07
2017

Energy Institute of Alabama Names Hardwich Executive Director

Blake Hardwich has been named Executive Director of the Energy Institute of Alabama, Board Chairman Seth Hammett announced yesterday.

“Blake will take the lead in working with elected officials and industry leaders as the Institute advocates for solid, information-based energy policy,” Hammett said. “She has a perfect blend of competence, experience and enthusiasm to do the job. We are lucky to have such a capable and energetic person guiding the day-to-day functions of the Energy Institute of Alabama.”

Hardwich brings extensive experience in business and public policy to the job. Hardwich, who also serves as Special Counsel in the

Feb
01
2017

Bellefonte Nuclear Plant Purchase Welcome News

In past years, PACE has continued to follow developments at Bellefonte Nuclear Plant, a facility originally owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The plant’s construction was never completed, leaving a number of options for the utility’s board to consider.

In November, TVA announced that a Washington, D.C.-based company firm, Nuclear Development, had purchased the incomplete facility in northeast Alabama for $111 million. This was welcome news for northeast Alabama, as the purchase will breathe new life into the plant.

According to TVA, Nuclear Development plans to invest an additional $13 billion to bring the plant’s two partially completed reactors

Jan
26
2017

President Outlines ‘America First’ Energy Policy

Shortly after taking office this past Friday, President Trump updated the White House website to outline his “America First” energy policy. If implemented, the plan would roll back overreaching climate regulations and promote energy development, ultimately leading to lower energy prices and reduced dependence on foreign oil.

As part of his campaign and later during his transition, Trump promised to remove restrictions on domestic energy development such as President Obama’s Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule. His administration now predicts that rolling back these regulations could raise the wages of U.S. workers by as much

Jan
16
2017

Indian Point Closure Threatens New York City

Last week, New York Governor Cuomo announced the completion of one of his long awaited goals: closing down the Indian Point nuclear plant. The plant will shut down completely in just four years, leaving many questions about what will fill the gap to keep the power on in New York City. Today, the city receives an incredible one third of its electricity from the plant.

Perhaps most troubling is that there are no current plans to build a new nuclear plant, a coal-fired plant, or pipelines to transport more natural gas from Pennsylvania. (Note that New York State has

Jan
11
2017

Repealing Coal and Methane Rules Priority for Congress

With a new administration taking office later this month, House Republicans have pledged to make repealing the Obama administration’s regulations on coal mining and methane emissions a top priority.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) says the Republicans will first plan to work on changing the way the executive branch writes rules and then focus on undoing specific rules. EPA rules that address the coal industry and methane will be at the top of the list.

“While we haven’t yet determined what needs to be repealed first, I expect to start with swift action on at least on the