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Blog posts September 2013

Energy Update, Sept. 6

In the States

KS – Governor Sam Brownback signed an agreement with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to allow for almost 30 percent more water storage at the John Redmond Reservoir. The reservoir, which is a water source for the cooling lake for the nearby Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant, is federally owned and will increase in elevation by two feet or an additional 17,000 acre-feet of water storage. The plant is partially owned by Westar Energy, a Topeka-based utility company that uses the plant’s energy to provide electricity to the surrounding areas, including around 225,000 people in Wichita. These modifications mean the reservoir will be able to store approximately 22 billion gallons of water. "While all Kansas reservoirs are important to our state, John Redmond Reservoir is a source of municipal and industrial supply as well as backup supply for the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant cooling lake," Brownback said. "I appreciate the Kansas Water Office's determination to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and see this two-foot pool rise allocation come to fruition,” said Governor Brownback. Agreement increases storage capacity at Redmond ReservoirThe Wichita Eagle

 LA – Governor Bobby Jindal and officials from Juniper GTL, LLC, a natural gas company, announced a $100 million investment by the company to repurpose an obsolete methane gas facility as a gas-to-liquid (GTL) facility that will produce clean waxes, drilling fuels, and diesel. The project is expected to create 29 new direct jobs with average salaries of $85,000 a year, including benefits, and 112 new indirect jobs. Once completed, the Juniper project will be the first commercial GTL facility to begin construction in the United States. The project is supported by SGC Energia SA, a Portuguese company, and Great Northern Project Development, a Houston-based development company. The State offered the project and its backers several incentives, including workforce training programs and certain tax exemptions, for which a dollar figure has yet to be disclosed. "Louisiana has now attracted three major (gas-to-liquids) project wins to the Southeast Region because of our great energy workforce, our world-class infrastructure and our strong business climate that is rapidly rising to the top,” Governor Jindal said. Natural gas company to invest $100M to repurpose Lake Charles facilityThe Times-Picayune and Gov. Jindal, Juniper GTL announce $100 million natural gas-to-liquids plant investment in Southwest La.The Zachary Plainsman-News

ND – Governor Jack Dalrymple and state officials announced North Dakota’s Legacy Fund, which was created to save a portion of its oil and natural gas tax dollars, has surpassed the $1.3 billion mark. The State had initially assumed the Legacy Fund would total $600 million by the end of the summer, and continue steadily growing until June 2017, when lawmakers are allowed by law to begin using the Legacy Fund’s savings. The State now predicts the account, which keeps 30 percent of yearly oil extraction and production taxes, will reach $3 billion by June 2017. Other States have such funds, too, including Alaska, New Mexico, and Texas, and several more are exploring this option such as Utah and West Virginia. Governor Dalrymple noted that the State and its leaders are still unsure of how they are going to use the Legacy Fund’s assets. “If you have a state endowment fund, how do you manage it? We’re not really far along either,” said the Governor. “We’re really just beginning to talk about what we’re going to do with it.” North Dakota’s Oil and Tax Windfall Now $1.3BThe Fiscal Times and North Dakota saves for the future with today’s oil richesStateline 

National and Federal

According to a recently published report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NERL), solar and wind electricity generation installation projects will become cost competitive without the support of federal subsidies by 2025. The study additionally found that geothermal energy will continue to be the more expensive form of renewable energy in terms of electricity generation per megawatt hour. Finally, the report determines that New Mexico and Wyoming will have, by 2025, the greatest untapped wind power potential in addition to Montana. Solar and wind energy to be cost competitive by 2025, report findsThe Christian Science Monitor

 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will award $16 million in grants to support 17 wind and tide power projects. DOE has determined that waves and tides have about 1,400 potential terawatt hours of annual generating capacity, which could potentially power almost 120 million homes since a single terawatt-hour could power about 85,000 homes. U.S. providing $16 million to capture power from tides and wavesBloomberg

 The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is considering issuing rules for certain tank cars, which carry hazardous matter and crude oil transportation, to protect against any potential accidents and crashes. The agency released a proposal calling for more puncture-resistant car shells and stronger fittings protection. US may require stronger tank cars for hazmat and crudeBloomberg FuelFix

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