Energy Policy

POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for July 12, 2016

Congress to vote to convene to discuss energy legislation; India to have first electricity surplus since 2008


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • In preparation for the August recess, the Senate is scheduling to vote to convene a conference committee with the House in order to reach an agreement on the first major energy legislation since 2007.  Both the House and the Senate have passed energy bills in the past year, but now need to compromise on a final bill and have it pass both chambers of Congress before it can be sent to the President.
  • In India, forecasters have indicated that the country will have its first electricity surplus since 2008 because of transmission improvements and increased generation. According to the power ministry’s Central Electricity Authority, India could potentially have 1.1 percent extra electricity supplies by March 2017. The Central Electricity Authority also indicates that power demand is expected to grow 9 percent to 1.21 trillion kWh with supplies expected to rise 13 percent to 1.23 trillion kWh. India currently accounts for approximately 6 percent of global energy use.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for June 27, 2016

Brexit and the U.K.'s energy policy; June’s manufacturing activity


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • With Britain voting to exit the European Union, analysts are asking how this will affect the country’s energy policy. Specifically, three of the questions raised include how Brexit will affect the Europe’s commitment to the Paris climate agreement, how will it affect the U.K’s participation in the E.U.’s emissions trading system and what will this vote mean for the country’s own energy and climate laws.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas released June’s manufacturing activity with the data showing that manufacturing activity declined in June. The production index, a measure of the state’s manufacturing conditions, rose from -13.1 in May to -7.0 in June. Also during June, the general business activity index rose slightly, ending at 18.3.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for June 21, 2016

Natural gas prices on the rise; Sweden removes tax on its nuclear industry


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Natural gas prices have risen in response to the upcoming summer season’s temperature forecasts. The Wall Street Journal states that prices have increased by 40 percent since the end of May. Summer officially started on Monday, June 20.
  • To ensure that Sweden continues to receive reliable carbon-free power throughout the year, the country has decided to discontinue a tax on the nuclear industry and will allow existing reactors to continue running for a longer period. The country’s utilities are now also tentatively allowed to build up to 10 new reactors to replace the reactors scheduled to retire. The government is debating if it can power the country with wind, hydro and solar alone in order to meet its 2040 goals and daily needs; nuclear energy currently provides 40 percent of the country’s electricity.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for June 15, 2016

Electricity sales across all sectors projected to increase; DOE announces $82 million for nuclear energy research


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • According to the EIA’s 2016 Annual Energy Outlook, electricity sales across all sectors are expected to increase through 2040. In 2015, a total of 3.7 kWh of electricity was sold with this number expected to grow by 0.7 percent annually. Electricity sales to the residential sector is expected to rise by 0.3 percent per year, sales to commercial customers are projected to increase by 0.8 percent annually and the industrial sector is projected to grow by 1.1 percent per year.
  • Ernest Moniz, U.S. energy secretary, announced $82 million for nuclear energy research as part of the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions. These funds will be directed to 93 research projects across 28 states. Moniz states “Nuclear energy remains very important. It remains by far the biggest source of carbon-free electricity.”
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for June 9, 2016

Using analog technology to safeguard the grid; Smartphone apps to show power availability and prices


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • The Senate Intelligence Committee is proposing installing analog technology into the grid to safeguard the country’s electric system. Senator Angus King of Maine, one of the four lawmakers behind the bill, says that using analog technology would reduce the chances of an attack as the equipment would need to be physically accessed. Lloyds of London estimates that an attack on the nation’s power grid could lead to economic losses ranging from $243 billion up to $1 trillion.
  • In India, smartphone apps are helping to bring power to 1.3 billion people. The apps display power supply and prices with an aim for transparency and a reduction in the country’s blackouts.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 23, 2016

FERC releases the 2016 Summer Seasonal Assessment; The fuel cell and combined heat and power market expected to grow by 11 GW


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • FERC released the 2016 Summer Seasonal Assessment late last week. The report indicates that there is sufficient national electric capacity to meet the projected demand for the summer. For Texas, ERCOT anticipates sufficient generating capacity to meet the peak demands expected this summer.
  • According to a new report by GTM Research, the fuel cell and combined heat and power (CHP) market is expected to grow by 11 GW over the next 10 years. This growth is being driven by new incentives, increased manufacturing and corporate activity for on-site CHP. Research indicates that CHP and fuel cells currently generate 8 percent of the country’s generation capacity.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 19, 2016

New photovoltaics world record set in Australia; EIA says Clean Power Plan to affect power sector CO2 emissions


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Scientists at the University of New South Wales set a new world record for sunlight-to-electricity conversion for PV cells at a 34.5 percent efficiency rate. NREL confirmed that this result is almost 44 percent better than the previous record set at 24 percent efficiency. Dr. Mark Keevers, senior research fellow, says “This encouraging result shows that there are still advances to come in photovoltaics research to make solar cells even more efficient. Extracting more energy from every beam of sunlight is critical to reducing the cost of electricity generated by solar cells as it lowers the investment needed, and delivering payback faster.”
  • The EIA reports that emissions from the power sector would be 25 percent higher in 2030 if the Clean Power Plan is not implemented. The EIA says, “Currently, the power sector accounts for 36% of total energy-related CO2 emissions, but its share falls to 31% by 2030 in the reference case when power sector emissions fall below those of the transportation sector.” Additionally, the EIA says that the CPP’s effect on electricity prices may rise about 3 percent.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 17, 2016

Preparing for a threat to the nation's power grid; DOE summit to preserve the country's nuclear reactors; Report shows a dramatic shift in Texas' energy mix


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • To counter the threat of attacks to the nation’s power grid, the power industry and U.S. government are considering implementing intentional blackouts across the country. Other measures in consideration include stockpiling rare transmission equipment, utilizing the latest cyberdefenses and coordinating responses between sectors. Marcus Sachs, NERC’s senior vice president and chief security officer, says “Industry continues to take the prospect of a cyber or physical attack on the bulk power system seriously.”
  • The DOE is sponsoring a summit on May 19 aimed at preserving the country’s nuclear reactors. Key industry representatives and legislators will meet to discuss the issues facing at-risk nuclear power plants and the potential consequences that could result from early plant retirements. NEI Senior Director of Business Policy, Matt Crozat, says, “Preserving existing nuclear power plants is imperative to any credible plan to reduce carbon emissions and necessary to preserve jobs in their host communities.”
  • According to a report by the Brattle Group, Texans could soon utilize natural gas, wind and solar energy for their power and shift away from power sourced from coal. The study provides an analysis of what the state’s energy mix could be if natural gas prices remain relatively low and the cost of solar energy continues to decline. In this scenario, the 2035 ERCOT grid would consist of 65 percent natural gas (up from 48 percent 2015), 12 percent wind energy (12 percent in 2015), 9 percent nuclear energy (down from 11 percent in 2015), 7 percent solar energy (~1 percent in 2015) and 6 percent coal (down from 28 percent in 2015). “I think we can learn some things from a study like this,” said Michael Nasi, general counsel for the group Balanced Energy For Texas, which includes several coal interests. “Please believe in the market because this study seems to tell you that you should not fear the market.”