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Energy Business Review
By William F. Shughart II
The Kemper County, Miss., power plant, once heralded as the future of clean coal, has become the poster child for its struggles.
Over-budget and mired in technical problems, the Southern Company, Kemper’s builder, recently announced that it’s giving up on the plant’s advanced coal-gasification systems. Instead, the plant will be powered solely by natural gas.
Renewable energy advocates and climate hawks had been expecting the announcement for months and reacted with predictable derision and high-fiving. But their gloating is foolish.
KING GEORGE, VA. (COAL AGE) —GE Power (NYSE: GE) today announced plans to convert its 242 MW coal-fired Birchwood Power facility in King George, Virginia, US into a Steam Plant Services Innovation Center.
The center, which provides sufficient electricity to power more than 240,000 homes, is to become a showcase for how the latest GE technologies can greatly increase the efficiency and flexibility of coal-fired steam power plants, while also reducing emissions.
CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming business leaders are recommending investing a $1.5 million grant in a proposed coal research facility.
The Wyoming Business Council made the recommendation for the grant for a research facility on alternative uses for coal in northeast Wyoming on Thursday.
The area has a coal sector that was hit hard in the industry’s recent downturn. Local and state leaders want to find new ways bring relevancy back to Powder River Basin coal.
The State Loan and Investment Board may approve the grant money at its June 15 meeting. The grant would pay for the cost of the land and construction of a 4,000 square-foot (371.6 square-meter) research lab in Fort Union Industrial Park in Gillette.
By JOHN SICILIANO
Washington Examiner (2/21/17)
President Trump is planning to issue executive orders this week to begin rolling back the centerpiece of President Obama‘s climate change agenda with several other regulations.
Trump is expected to soon issue the orders targeting regulations put into place by the Environmental Protection Agency, including the Clean Power Plan, which directs states to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants.
The EPA climate plan was halted a year ago by the Supreme Court until the courts can rule on litigation by 28 state attorneys general, the coal industry and hundreds of individual companies and industry groups.
By SALENA ZITO
WAYNESBURG, Pa. — Two weeks after Derek Cisar’s wife gave birth to their son, the 36-year-old coal miner had to tell her he’d lost his job.
“It wasn’t because there wasn’t any work,” he said, moments after emerging from the underground mine. “Things in the industry in our area had started looking pretty stable for the past few months.
“It all came down to a ruling by a judge … with pressure from two climate-change groups. They effectively upended my life, my family’s life, and the lives of 202 other coal miners who were laid off because of his ruling.”
By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL, NEW YORK — (Feb. 17, 2017)
Republican presidents tend to nominate one of two types of administrator to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. The first is the centrist—think Christie Todd Whitman (2001-03)—who might be equally at home in a Democratic administration. The other is the fierce conservative—think Anne Gorsuch (1981-83)—who views the agency in a hostile light.
Scott Pruitt, whom the Senate confirmed Friday, 52-46, doesn’t fit either mold. His focus is neither expanding nor reducing regulation. “There is no reason why EPA’s role should ebb or flow based on a particular administration, or a particular administrator,” he says. “Agencies exist to administer the law. Congress passes statutes, and those statutes are very clear on the job EPA has to do. We’re going to do that job.” You might call him an EPA originalist.
By JUDY HISLOP
WASHINGTON, DC (February 14, 2017) – The mix of fuels used to generate electricity in the United States has changed in response to differences in the expected cost of fuels and electricity-generating technology costs and their deployment, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
These factors, together with policies affecting emissions from power generation, will determine the generation fuel mix of the future.
Multiple cases in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2017 (AEO2017) show how projected electricity generation is affected by fuel prices, especially natural gas prices, and the Clean Power Plan, a final Environmental Protection Agency rule issued in 2015 whose enforcement was stayed by the US Supreme Court in Feb. 2016 pending the resolution of legal challenges.
By Paul M. Seby & Matthew B. Miller
There is no doubt that coal-based electricity is currently faced with enormous challenges—both at the national level, with the flurry of federal regulations aimed at the coal industry, and at the state level, where local governments are experimenting with dramatic changes in their energy policies. In both instances, federal courts at all levels are being called upon to evaluate the lawfulness and constitutionality of these actions. This short article focuses on that latter evaluation—invoking the most enduring of American documents—our U.S. Constitution. In our national charter lies an important mechanism that may provide important protections against efforts by one or more states to greatly experiment with dramatic changes to their energy-related laws and regulations that have adverse impacts on coal-based electricity or the movement of coal interstate.
According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. coal production for the week ended Nov. 19 picked up 6.6% year over year to 17.2 million tons, from 16.2 million tons during the same period last year.
For the 52 weeks ended Nov. 19, production posted a 19.8% year-over-year cutback to 739.8 million tonnes, while year-to-date coal output plunged 18.8% year over year to about 657.5 million tons through Nov. 19.
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