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Energy Update, August 15

In the States

ND – The North Dakota Industrial Commission, which regulates the State’s energy resources, including the drilling and production of oil and gas in the State, will hold public hearings to gather input on how to “reduce volatility at a well site before oil is stored or transported.” Governor Jack Dalrymple, who sits on the Commission, said state officials are considering treating the crude oil that is pumped from the Bakken Shale prior to transport. Federal officials are also considering whether to require the crude, which has proven to be more combustible, to be stabilized before it is shipped. The stabilization process involves boiling and removing certain hydrocarbon molecules from the crude oil. Amid federal safety push, North Dakota considers new energy regulationsTIME and North Dakota considers requiring treatment of Bakken crudeThe Wall Street Journal

WY – The State’s Industrial Siting Council voted unanimously to approve Power Company of Wyoming’s plan to build a 1,000-turbine wind farm in the State’s Carbon County. The proposal, which is called Chokecherry and Sierra Madre, still requires several federal approvals and environmental assessments. If built, the $5 billion-project would be the largest onshore wind installation in the United States and is expected to produce up to 3,000 megawatts of electricity, or 10 million megawatt hours annually. Chokecherry and Sierra Madre is also projected to create almost 1,000 construction jobs and to employ more than 100 workers after completion. Wyoming board gives key OK for Carbon county wind farmThe Casper Star Tribune


Governors Jerry Brown of California, John Kitzhaber of Oregon, and Jay Inslee of Washington recently wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell requesting a ban on any new oil and gas drilling off their coasts. In their letter, the Governors also discussed their efforts to promote and expand clean energy projects and technologies and their interest in working with the Obama Administration to “invest in energy efficiency, alternative renewable energy sources, and pricing carbon.” The Governors’ letter was offered as formal comment on the Interior Department’s proposal for oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf from 2017 through 2022. “We must meet the environmental and economic imperative of climate change, and in so doing,” said the Governors, “seize the opportunity for our region and our nation to build a low-carbon economy that can be the envy of the world.” A copy of the letter can be found here.

According to a new report by Environment America, 10 States, including Arizona, California, and Colorado, are responsible for about 89% of solar energy capacity in the United States. The same States, however, according to the report, account for only 26% of the total U.S. population and 20% of electricity consumption nationally. In addition to the aforementioned States, the report finds Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, and North Carolina also possess strong solar energy markets and/or policies. The report also found that the amount of photovoltaic capacity increased from 97 megawatts in 2003 to 12,000 megawatts in 2013. A copy of the report can be found here.


The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy awarded more than $18 million in grants to 32 projects to research, expand, and advance geothermal energy development. For example, $10 million will be granted to research and development projects to study geothermal energy reservoirs and extraction processes. The remaining $8 million will be evenly split between projects that will help to map subsurface geothermal energy resources and explore power generation and mineral extraction “as a path to developing commercially viable, low- to moderate- temperature geothermal resources. More information can be found here.

Kansas Republican Representative Mike Pompeo and 53 other House members wrote to Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to ask them to let certain federal energy subsidies, namely the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), expire. The House Members said “Ensuring that our nation’s patchwork tax code undergoes significant reform is a noble goal and, as part of this process, we believe Congress should stop picking winners and losers and finally end the wind PTC.” In their letter, they also asserted the PTC costs too much, inflates energy costs, and distorts the overall energy market’s prices. House Republicans: End ‘harmful’ wind tax credit The Hill

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