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March 23, 2018

Energy – SciPol Weekly, March 17 – March 23

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Government

Daily Energy Insider – Perry defends nuclear investment and cuts to renewables in $30.6 bln DOE budget proposal

Energy Secretary Rick Perry testified to a Senate panel on Tuesday about the Trump administration’s Department of Energy budget request for fiscal year 2019, a plan that prioritizes nuclear security while making large cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs.

Greentech Media – US Rejects EU Solar Tariff Alternative at the WTO

The Trump administration has refused to accept European Union alternatives to U.S. safeguard tariffs on imported solar products, according to a joint statement issued by the World Trade Organization. Safeguard measures are permitted under WTO rules if a country faces serious injury due to a surge in imports of a particular product. However, the country implementing the safeguards must compensate their trading partners in other areas, or accept that other countries can put up their own barriers.

Houston Chronicle – Trump’s tariffs could squeeze U.S. LNG ambitions in China

New tariffs on Chinese imports could make it harder for U.S. liquefied natural gas exporters to tap into China’s booming market and raise billions for the next generation of Gulf Coast LNG facilities. If the Trump Administration follows through on plans to impose tariffs targeting roughly $60 billion in Chinese goods per year, the new trade policy could further complicate a complex relationship and add another layer of risk that could scare off investors already jittery about doing business with China.

InsideClimate News – EPA Environmental Justice Adviser Slams Pruitt's Plan to Weaken Coal Ash Rules

A newly appointed environmental justice adviser to the Environmental Protection Agency is criticizing an agency proposal to roll back regulations governing coal ash ponds, saying doing so would hurt disadvantaged communities. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced his proposal to weaken federal coal ash rules earlier this month as a cost-cutting measure for businesses. 

The New York Times – Kelp Farms and Mammoth Windmills Are Just Two of the Government’s Long-Shot Energy Bets

There is a project to see if it’s possible to farm vast quantities of seaweed in the open ocean for a new type of carbon-neutral biofuel that might one day power trucks and airplanes. Unlike the corn- and soy-based biofuels used today, kelp-based fuels would not require valuable cropland.

Utility Dive – Multiple concerns drive MISO, utilities to seek rehearing on FERC storage order

Last month, in a move aimed at bringing storage resources into wholesale markets, FERC directed regional grid operators to devise new tariffs for storage market participation that allow the resources to provide multiple electricity market services. On Monday, a handful of market participants, including one regional grid operator, filed for rehearing on the proposal.

Industry

Indy Star – Could this 'clean coal’ plant proposal be answer to Indiana’s 17 billion tons of reserves?

When it comes to coal, the United States is what the Middle East is for oil. That fact is not lost on an industry competing for relevancy at a time when it's undersold by natural gas and renewable energy. It's not lost on the coal-producing towns in the nation that have long relied on the mineral for jobs and economic development.

The Post and Courier – Santee Cooper electric rates will rise sharply because of nuclear project

Santee Cooper's electric rates will rise sharply as the bills for its failed nuclear project come due, more than doubling the monthly payments its customers make into the unfinished reactors. That's the finding of a new study of Santee Cooper’s future rates by a conservative think tank — and the utility's own estimates.

Utility Dive – A complicated calculus keeps the remaining coal fleet alive

It's no secret that the coal fleet in the U.S. is shrinking. The number of coal-fired power plants is roughly half of what it was about 10 years ago. Some of the coal plants that are still running are scheduled to retire, but that still leaves a sizable fleet of operating coal plants. What's keeping them alive? The answer isn't simple — it's a mix of economics, commodity pricing and regulations.

Other

US News – Trans-Alaska Pipeline Fights 22 Million Cyberattacks Per Day

Alyeska Pipeline Service Company's chief information officer said his team fights off about 22 million cyberattacks per day. Bill Rosetti said that at the Anchorage headquarters for the trans-Alaska pipeline, his team is kept busy by mass, automated attacks — often from servers overseas, Alaska's Energy Desk reported Wednesday. "It can be 6 or 7 million some days and 45 million the next," Rosetti said. "I wish I could tell you why it changes that way, but I really don't know."

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