Thanks to the following newspapers for publishing my new op-ed on the new risk of blackouts this summer!
Thanks to the Fort Myers News-Press and the Naples Daily News for carrying my new op-ed on the real risk of increasing blackouts if we transition to intermittent forms of energy too quickly. We need power markets that value baseload generation (coal, nuclear, natural gas) that can reliably produce energy 24/7 and will be there when we need them.
In the news today…
- North of 60 Mining News reports from reinstating the Roadless Rule in the Tongass Forest to replacing the General Mining Law of 1872, federal regulations being proposed by President Joe Biden threaten to rain on a parade of strong metals prices, growing demand for critical minerals, and robust investments into mineral exploration and mining across Alaska.
- The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports the West Virginia Senate adopted a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to allocate $8 billion to West Virginia to reclaim forfeited mine sites and support struggling coal communities.
- The News Herald reports experts want the Biden administration to get serious about safely mining minerals for use in green technology.
- Mining.com reports a report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources presented before the House of Commons rang the alarm bell on how important it is for Canada to secure a supply of critical minerals, particularly in the face of China’s dominance.
- E&E Greenwire reports in a step that escalates tensions surrounding West Virginia’s coal regulations, conservation groups threatened to sue the Interior Department yesterday over its oversight of mines in the state that contaminate drinking water.
- Argus reports coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, rose in the May to the highest level in more than a year, reflecting some of the recovery in seaborne metallurgical and thermal coal.
- The Wall Street Journal reports coal prices have climbed to their highest level in a decade, making the fuel a hot commodity in a year when governments are pledging reductions in carbon emissions.
- Reuters reports Texas’s grid operator frightened residents last week when it said it had very little reserves to cover demand spiking as temperatures soared. This summer could produce more scary times.
In the news today…
- The Charleston Gazette-Mail carries an op-ed which states West Virginia’s influential U.S. senators both should back legislation to support coal miners and coal-fired power plant workers affected by the clean-energy transition.
- KCEN reports ERCOT forecasts wind and solar generation, but also needs data to forecast thermal power generation. Unfortunately, that data is severely lacking.
- Detroit News reports Consumers Energy plans to retire its remaining coal-fired power plants by 2025 and replace them with clean energy and the purchase of four existing natural gas plants.
- Washington Examiner reports Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm insisted during a Senate Appropriations hearing that nuclear power, carbon capture and storage, and hydrogen are all key pieces of Biden’s climate agenda and his infrastructure plans.
- Politico reports Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said the group of bipartisan senators working with the White House on an infrastructure compromise has “had a breakthrough,” and a source familiar with the matter said a tentative agreement on a framework that lowers topline spending to $559 billion is possible. While White House press secretary Jen Psaki spoke of the meeting in question with less certainty than Collins did, she confirmed that President Joe Biden has invited the lawmakers to meet later today to discuss the potential agreement.
In the news today…
- The Washington Examiner carries an op-ed by William F. Shughart, research director of the Independent Institute and J. Fish Smith professor in public choice at Utah State University’s Huntsman School of Business, in which he argues there is growing concern among commentators and experts that the United States has become “dangerously dependent” on imported minerals and metals and that such dependence is hampering the development of clean energy technologies.
- Inside EPA reports environmentalists are calling for a series of measures to strengthen environmental rules for the mining sector in response to the Biden administration efforts to bolster the domestic supply chain for rare earth minerals and other crucial materials needed for electric vehicle batteries and other low-carbon energy technologies.
- The National Law Review reports the public weighs in on how the SEC should regulate ESG disclosures.
- Energy News Network reports in a surprise announcement last Thursday, NRG said it would close its Waukegan and Romeoville coal plants, but the community impacts are unclear as “just transition” provisions remain held up in state energy bill negotiations.
- Utility Dive carries an op-ed which argues the federal government’s support for carbon capture projects at coal-fired power plants may be politically necessary (see Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.), but it is environmentally and fiscally misguided.
- Argus reports coal-fired power generation in most of the US has topped 2019 and 2020 levels so far this month on record heat in some parts of the country and reduced nuclear and hydro power output.
- Washington Examiner reports more than half (62%) of the renewable power added in 2020 was cheaper than the lowest-cost fossil fuel option, according to a report released this morning by the International Renewable Energy Agency.
- The Washington Post reports there has been an abrupt and cascading shortage of semiconductors.
- E&E Energywire reports Germany has an opportunity to phase out coal power plants almost a decade ahead of schedule — but it will require a fleet of natural gas plants to do it, a new study by Wärtsilä Oyj shows.
Over at ZeroHedge, Tyler Durden reports that California’s plans to become an environmental and socialist utopia are running face first into reality.
The latest dose of reality came this week when the state, facing triple digit temperatures, began to “fret” about pressure on the state’s power grid as a result of everybody charging their electric vehicles all at once.
The state’s power grid operators have been telling residents to “relieve pressure” from the grid by charging their EVs at off-peak hours, Newsweek wrote.
The entire article is a great read!
In the news today…
- Argus reports the US can support the roughly 90,000 people employed by the coal industry in finding jobs outside the sector at a cost of as much as $83bn, according to a new report.
- Argus reports the future of American Electric Power’s (AEP) Mitchell coal plant in West Virginia could be decided this summer, as state regulators mull two alternatives proposed by the utility.
- E&E Energywire reports coal workers are being transitioned within the coal industry.
- Energy News Network reports that clean energy advocates are celebrating last week’s announcement that two Illinois coal plants will close next year, but remain concerned after state lawmakers failed to advance a proposal to ensure a “just transition” after plants close.
- E&E Energywire reports the company with a $1.5 billion plan to develop the world’s largest carbon-capture retrofit at a coal plant says the New Mexico project is about 18 months behind its previous schedule.
- The Hill reports that a Senate committee led by key swing vote Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has released a 400-page energy infrastructure proposal that it will weigh later this week. The package aims to boost nuclear energy, hydrogen energy and carbon capture, which uses developing technology to capture emissions from activities such as burning fossil fuels. It also aims to increase the resilience of the electric grid from threats related to both natural disasters and cybersecurity.
Over at the Manhattan Contrarian, Francis Menton has a thoughtful post on the full costs of renewables that should be of great interest to electric utility ratepayers.
In the news today and from the weekend…
- Utility Dive reports there’s no shortage of rare earth minerals needed to transition to a clean energy economy, experts say. The problem is getting them out of the ground — and out of China.
- Fastmarkets AMM reports Junior miner Lithium Americas is on track to begin construction of its Thacker Pass project in the United States in early 2022, chief executive officer and president Jonathan Evans told Fastmarkets on Tuesday June 15.
- Politico Pro reports a split federal appellate court ruled on Thursday that the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw a proposed preemptive EPA veto of the Pebble Mine in Alaska can be subjected to a legal challenge.
- Alaska Public Media reports a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has revived a lawsuit aimed at blocking construction of the Pebble Mine in Southwest Alaska.
- E&E News PM reports a federal appeals court ruled that EPA’s 2019 decision to remove restrictions on mining in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region is subject to judicial review.
- The Wall Street Journal reports as the U.S. and its allies chase China in procuring critical minerals essential for modern technologies, they face a major hurdle: a lack of companies and projects with an established record.
In the news today…
- Jefferson City News Tribune reports that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is partnering with the University of Kansas to receive $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to search for critical minerals that are essential to the United States’ security and economy.
- E&E Daily reports a group of 14 House Democrats praised the White House’s push to build out U.S. mineral supply chains in a letter to President Biden on Tuesday.
- E&E Daily reports Granholm pushed back against suggestions that the Biden administration does not support domestic mining to help meet the increasing demand for critical minerals used in electric vehicles and battery storage and also discussed the topic of nuclear waste.
- Washington Examiner reports a group of two dozen Democratic House lawmakers are calling on Biden to take “bold action” that supports domestic mining and the production of critical minerals.
- Argus reports Republican lawmakers in North Carolina’s House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would require about half of Duke Energy’s coal-fired capacity in the state to close by 2030, and make utilities buy more renewable power.
- E&E Energywire reports a group of North Carolina Republican lawmakers, including the House majority leader, rolled out highly anticipated energy legislation this week, while a state environmental panel advanced a proposal to join a regional cap-and-trade system.
Over at the Manhattan Contrarian, Francis Menton penned a great article entitled, “The Future Of Energy: One Of These Things Is Not Real.” Mr. Menton points out the difference between fantasy and reality when it comes to the future of energy. One of the follies is that the use of coal will end soon. An excerpt:
What then is happening in the reality on the ground? In a post just a couple of days ago, I took note of a gigantic new Arctic oil project just getting underway from the Russians. So that’s one thing. How about coal. Yes, plenty of that is also getting developed right now, and by private money and outside the U.S., so there is little or nothing that the Biden Administration or environmental litigants can do to stop it. The Times of India has a piece from June 5 with the headline “India, Australia, China, Russia pushing ‘massive’ coal expansion.” Excerpt:
Coal producers are actively pursuing 2.2 billion tonnes per annum of new mine projects around the world, a growth of 30 per cent from current production levels, a new report from Global Energy Monitor said on Thursday. The first-of-its-kind analysis surveyed 432 proposed coal projects globally and found a handful of provinces and states in China, Russia, India, and Australia are responsible for 77 per cent (1.7 billion tonnes per annum) of new mine activity.
He also discusses the folly of offshore wind for the U.S. The entire article is well worth the read.
In the news today…
- National Journal reports the Biden administration is laying the groundwork for more domestic production of lithium and other metals that are pivotal to the emerging clean-energy economy.
- Charleston Gazette-Mail reports moments after West Virginia lawmakers received copies of an audit report warning that state mine cleanup funds are nearing insolvency, the Senate president sought to put the problem on someone else’s table.
- Metro News reports West Virginia lawmakers are aiming to draw down millions of federal dollars to help assuage the increasing possibility that mine reclamation costs could spiral out of control and swamp the state budget.
- E&E Greenwire reports coal plant operators are moving to take advantage of a Trump administration rule that critics say allows continued dumping of toxic wastewater into local lakes and rivers.
- Utility Dive reports Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., offered a spirited defense of the nation’s coal-fired power plants Thursday at Edison Electric Institute’s 2021 conference.
- E&E Greenwire reports the Fish and Wildlife Service today announced Endangered Species Act protections for the beardless chinchweed, an Arizona plant potentially put at risk by the proposed Rosemont Copper mine.
- Politico Pro reports executives from a group of U.S. renewable energy companies urged Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Congress on Monday to help shore up the domestic lithium battery manufacturing supply chain so the U.S. does not lose out to China in the push to build a clean energy industry.
- Politico reports days of negotiations at the G7 leaders summit in Cornwall failed to set an end-date for coal after the U.S. and Japan blocked a deal.
In the news today…
- Nevada Appeal reports Las Vegas is hosting its first big trade show since the start of the pandemic this week.
- E&E Greenwire reports EPA determined Friday that a proposed copper-nickel mine in Minnesota may pollute waters in Wisconsin and on a Native American reservation, a finding that could jeopardize a key permit for the long-planned PolyMet project.
- The Wall Street Journal reports mining companies are trying to tap into the flood of cash targeting green investments by touting their production of materials that go into wind turbines, power lines and batteries.
- Axios reports the White House is pledging a multi-agency push to spur more U.S. battery manufacturing and sustainable mining — both domestically and abroad — of raw materials used in battery tech.
- Quartz reports the global computer chips shortage that began worsening late last year has disrupted supply chains around the world, snarling production of everything from cars to phones to household appliances. And the rare earth industry is watching closely.
- The State Journal Register reports a coalition of unions, utility officials and Democratic and Republican lawmakers from central and southern Illinois called on Gov. JB Pritzker and legislative leaders Friday to exempt nonprofit coal-fired plants from mandated 2035 closures in an upcoming clean-energy bill.
- Washington Examiner reports Manchin and Granholm toured an underground coal mine Friday as the duo sought to recognize West Virginia miners while pitching new opportunities in clean energy.
- Argus reports Kentucky is supporting 19 US states in their Supreme Court challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) CO2 rules for power plants.