Cuban Revolucion Energetica?

The image on the back of a Cuban $10 peso bill is a line drawing of a diesel-fired generator, a line worker, overhead high-voltage electric transmission, oil refineries, two windmills and a modern pickup truck (not American, of course). Above that image is the phrase “REVOLUCION ENERGETICA,” or energy revolution. Cuba clearly needs an energy [...]

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Cheap Oil Won’t Kill Shale

The dramatic collapse in the price of oil—currently flirting with sub-$40/barrel levels—has naturally produced an explosion of commentary on its short- and long-term effects. One curious, though predictable, narrative is starting to emerge from the environmental left: The price collapse is the death knell to shale oil, and the U.S. oil boom—which was never a [...]

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Vermont Yankee’s Contribution to Environmental History

There’s a historical backstory to the closure of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant late last year, which got no mention in the general accounts of the venerable reactor’s demise. The plant played a key role in the 1960s in the evolving issue of “thermal pollution” and once-through cooling of large power plants, a topic still [...]

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Is Shale the Answer for Nuke Waste?

The extensive shale deposits in the U.S. have been getting a lot of attention in recent years as technology has unlocked hydrocarbon deposits trapped in their rock strata – natural gas and natural gas liquids in the Mid-Atlantic states, gas in Texas, and crude oil (and lots of it) and gas in North Dakota. But [...]

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Will Winter Disrupt PRB Coal Deliveries Again?

Last winter saw extreme weather – remember the “polar vortex”? – severely disrupt coal supplies to power plants in the upper Midwest (particularly Minnesota) that burn Powder River Basin coal. Plants had to reduce output, coal piles dwindled to the point they were single digit days away from exhaustion, and the BNSF Railway, the major [...]

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FERC to Look at Winter Coal Deliveries to Power Plants

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s regular monthly meeting on December 18 will feature an unusual agenda item: a detailed look at winter coal deliveries to power plants. FERC said in a press release that it will “convene a panel discussion” on coal transportation problems, with witnesses from it staff, the Department of Transportation’s Surface Transportation [...]

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Is Ivanpah Going on the Federal Dole?

Touted as the world’s largest solar power plant, the 392-MW Ivanpah concentrating solar project in California’s Mojave Desert is underperforming and seeking a federal bailout on top of federal subsidies to build the project. Owned by Google and NRG Energy, Ivanpah was built with a $1.6 billion U.S. Department of Energy loan in 2011, out [...]

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EPA’s Greenhouse Plan and Reliability: Train Wreck?

Congress passed the Clean Air Act in 1990. The key to the 1990 amendments, and the previous versions of the air law, was state implementation of federal requirements. State regulators would implement the federal requirements on state-regulated electric companies. In 1992, Congress passed the Energy Policy Act, which started a major transformation in the electricity [...]

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Blankenship Indictment Isn’t a Conviction

It’s too early to be measuring Don Blankenship for a prison-striped suit. He was the odious Massey Energy CEO in April 2010 when the company’s Upper Big Branch (UBB) coal mine in Raleigh County in southern West Virginia exploded and killed 29 miners. Blankenship faces federal charges that could put him in jail for the [...]

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Ozone Rules: Are the Costs Too High?

The on-again, off-again new federal ozone rules are on again, as the Obama administration the day before Thanksgiving announced it will revise the air standard for ground-level ozone to a range of 65 parts per billion to 75 ppb (the current standard, set in 2008), with a request for comments on the possibility of a [...]

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