There’s a good news/bad news situation developing in the price of oil.
The Obama Administration may have effectively stalled – for now – the Keystone Pipeline, but Toronto-based pipeline and distribution giant Enbridge is moving to demonstrate that Washington cannot entirely block the flow of heavy Canadian Tar Sands crude in the United States.
Oil and gas production in Texas has risen to near-record levels thanks to higher-than-anticipated crude prices and gas production that are, at least partially, a product of increased global instability and geopolitical turmoil.
Despite the mushrooming civil war in Iraq, led largely by the insurgent organization known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Americans are paying scarcely more to fill up their cars today than they were a month ago. This is especially surprising, considering that Iraq is the world’s fifth-largest oil-producing nation.
Supreme Court Says Regulating Emissions from Power Plants is Lawful
In a 7-to-2 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Environmental Protection Agency imposing regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from “large, industrial polluters,” according to the New York Times. However, the court did reject a key argument from the E.P.A.’s reasoning for the regulations, stating that the agency overstepped its reach.
The decision was a compromise ruling that split the Court: the vote was five to four to reject EPA’s broadest view of its power over greenhouse gas emissions, but the Justices voted seven to two to allow EPA to impose air pollution control strategy on many of the power plants and other fixed sources of greenhouse gases.
Solar, Wind Power Capacity at an All-Time High
New statistics shows that renewable energy capacity grew immensely in 2013, with solar capacity growing nearly 55 times higher and wind power growing nearly seven times higher than in 2004. The U.S. added the second-highest amount of wind power capacity in 2013, increasing by 1.1 percent to just over 60 gigawatts. For solar power, the U.S. grew 4.8 percent to about 12 gigawatts.
The growth in renewable energy installations is also prompting an increase in jobs. There are currently more than 6.5 million employees in the clean energy industry.
Exponential growth might not seem like much at first, but after enough time has passed, things start to happen really quickly. Case in point, renewable energy has been around for decades, yet we’ve made more progress increasing capacity in the past few years than in all the preceding decades.
Act On Climate Plan Turns One
Just weeks after the EPA announced its plan to limit carbon emissions, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan celebrated its first anniversary. Implemented with the goal of making American more energy efficient, the Act On Climate plan is serving as the guide for the Administration’s clean energy initiatives.
The President’s Climate Action Plan reiterates the goal of reducing U.S. GHG emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 and of doubling our nation’s energy productivity by the year 2030. It provides a blueprint for mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts nationally and internationally.
Brazil in the Headlines for More Than the World Cup
All eyes were on Brazil this week as the country kicked off the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but it’s not just soccer people were talking about. Out of the 12 stadiums in use for the duration of the tournament, four have a combined solar capacity greater than 11 of the competing countries. Overall, the stadiums have a solar electricity capacity of 5.4 MW.
Buffet Promises Renewable Energy Industry Another $15 Billion
Warren Buffet announced this week that he is doubling his original investment of $15 billion in clean energy to a cool $30 billion. Buffet is already one of the biggest clean tech investors in the country and took further steps to make renewable energy the norm when he published a report telling Congress to restore renewable production tax credits. The investor specifically cited the importance of PTCs for “wind power, biofuels and energy efficiency technologies.”
Here’s what’s happened in the energy industry from the first week of June.
EPA Announces Controversial Carbon Regulation
The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday a much-anticipated power plant rule requiring all plants to reduce their carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030, compared to emissions in 2005. This move is expected to reduce roughly 550 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
Applauded by President Obama, the new rule received quite a bit of commentary from Republicans and Democrats. Many compared this rule to the CAFE standards, which require all new vehicles to have a 54.5 miles per gallon average fuel efficiency by 2025 and is projected to cut six billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions throughout the vehicles’ lifespan. (It’s important to note that the emissions won’t be cut by 2025, but many years down the road.)
After decades of hovering just above the level of irrelevancy – not to mention insolvency – the global commercial rotorcraft industry is entering a new golden era of design, production and sales thanks to the oil and gas industry. More specifically, the explosion in unconventional exploration from deep-water offshore platforms is the catalyst to this shift.
The boost couldn’t be happening at a better time for the helicopter makers, whose survival over the past fifty years owes almost entirely to the sale, maintenance and constant updating of military helicopters. Today, in light of spiraling national debts, skyrocketing social costs, and stagnant economic growth, most governments in the western world are sharply reducing their military budgets and cutting way back on expensive new equipment like tanks, missiles, fighter jets and, you guessed it, helicopters.
Catch up on the latest news in the renewable energy industry from the week of May 26, 2014.
White House to Announce Plan to Combat Climate Change
President Obama is taking significant measures to fight climate change. In a new plan, up to 20 percent of carbon emissions will be cut from the nation’s coal-fired power plants, which are one of the nation’s largest sources of greenhouse gases.