Energy in the News: Friday, April 14

Friday, April 14, 2017

Is Trump’s war on fuel economy really going to hurt the environment and save jobs?

UPROXX, feat. John DeCicco

Unless something major comes out of the investigations into the Trump campaign’s affiliation with Russia, it’s likely that Donald Trump’s first term will be judged primarily on his wins and losses. But while the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare went up in smoke, Trump has racked up wins on the job creation front, and he clearly has his eyes set on more.

To appeal to job creators, Trump has taken a buckshot approach, lobbying companies in various industries to grow their businesses in America while also promising favorable changes to tax policy (that he may not be able to deliver) and continuing to cut regulations. Specifically, environmental regulations that were put in place by President Obama. And it’s that last method that may align Trump with Detroit and the American automobile manufacturing sector.

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What tips the scales in America's favor

E&E News, feat. EAB member Ted Miller

Company executives interviewed for this story say that, even at this early stage in the industry, the weight and complexity of batteries are exerting a slow but steady gravity on decisions about where to make them and how to move them.

One example is Ford Motor Co., which assembles the batteries for its hybrid cars, like the C-Max and the Fusion, at its Rawsonville plant in Ypsilanti, Mich., and trucks them for installation to two other factories that are 15 and 25 miles away.

"That's because they tend to be large assemblies," said Ted Miller, the automaker's senior director of energy storage strategy. Also, he added, "we can handle some just-in-time demands of manufacturing that way."

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Americans used a lot less coal in 2016

Scientific American

Coal in the U.S. is like landline telephones and fax machines — it was everywhere decades ago, but tastes, technology and the market have moved on.  

So it was little surprise when the federal government reported this week that U.S. coal use fell 9 percent in 2016, even as Americans consumed more energy overall. The U.S. used more natural gas and renewables last year than ever before, while oil use and even nuclear power were on the rise, too.

But coal? Not so much.

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The quest to capture and store carbon – and slow climate change — just reached a new milestone

The Washington Post

A new large-scale technology has launched in Decatur, Illinois that, by combining together corn-based fuels with the burial of carbon dioxide deep underground, could potentially result in the active removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

It’s an objective described as crucial by scientists hoping to control the planet’s warming.

The facility operated by ethanol giant Archer Daniels Midland, dubbed the Illinois Industrial Carbon Capture Project, arrives at a time of uncertainty for the U.S. and global biofuels industry. It faces growing competition from electric vehicles, and continuing struggles to move beyond so-called “first generation” feedstocks like corn, which can create conflicts with food supplies.

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Ozone review could be part of larger energy policy overhaul

Bloomberg BNA

The EPA directive to review regulations that hamper domestic energy production did not specifically target ozone pollution standards, but the agency’s ongoing review of the Obama-era requirements could aim to do away with pollution control and permitting requirements opposed by the energy sector.

The Environmental Protection Agency has not yet said whether it will formally reopen the 70 parts per billion ozone standards, but a federal appellate court agreed April 11 to postpone oral arguments over the regulation to allow for the agency's review.

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Trump eyes climate skeptic for key White House environmental post

Politico

President Donald Trump may tap a vocal critic of climate change science to serve as the highest-ranking environmental official in the White House.

Kathleen Hartnett White, who says carbon emissions are harmless and should not be regulated, is a top contender to run the Council on Environmental Quality, the White House’s in-house environmental policy shop, sources close to the administration told POLITICO.

White House officials brought White in for an interview late last month, according to a person familiar with the hiring process, and Trump met with White at Trump Tower in November when she was under consideration to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

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Tesla to begin taking orders for its solar roof shingles

Computerworld

Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed his company will begin taking orders in April for its latest product: roof shingles that are tougher than standard roof coverings and can enable an energy-independent building.

In October, Tesla unveiled four different solar roof tiles that the company plans to tie tightly into its manufacturing and sales of household and commercial battery systems; the tiles can generate power, the batteries store it and then that electricity is made available for powering a home, as well as charging your electric car.

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California is getting so much power from solar that wholesale electricity prices are turning negative

Quartz

The extraordinary success of solar power in some pockets of the world that combine sunshine with high investment in the technology mean that governments and energy companies are having radically to rethink the way they manage—and charge for—electricity.

California is one such a place.

On March 11, it passed a milestone on the route to powering the whole state sustainably. For the first time, more than half the power needs of the entire state came from solar power for a few hours that day, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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Shipping resumes to only US underground nuclear waste dump

ABC News

The nation's only underground nuclear repository has received its first shipment of waste, more than three years after shipping was halted in response to a radiation release that contaminated part of the facility and sidetracked the federal government's multibillion-dollar cleanup program.

The U.S. Energy Department said Monday that the shipment from a federal facility in Idaho marked a milestone for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and the government sites where tons of waste left over from decades of nuclear weapons research and development have been stacking up.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was forced to close in February 2014 after an improperly packed drum of waste ruptured.

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