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Energy Update: November 22, 2017

In the States

CO – The state’s largest oil and gas producer, Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum, announced it plans to invest almost $1 billion in the Denver-Julesburg Basin to build and maintain several oil and natural gas wells. The investment, which will support five exploration rigs and three completion crews, is an increase of close to $500 million over this year’s budgeted amount, and will help the company increase sales volume by 30 percent. In comparison to the other investments by the company, the Denver-Julesburg Basin ranks second behind deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico,  but in front of the Delaware Basin exploration in Texas close to the New Mexico border. Anadarko Petroleum says it will up investment in 2018The Denver Post


MN – Governor Mark Dayton ordered state agencies to adopt new sustainability goals, including lowering carbon emissions, water usage, and overall energy consumption. Specifically, the Governor called for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2027, water usage by 25 percent by 2025, a 90 percent recycling rate within the Capitol complex, and a 30 percent reduction in fossil fuel consumption by state-owned vehicles. “This executive order will build on that work — reducing energy use, eliminating waste, and saving money,” Governor Dayton said. “By meeting these targets, we can improve environmental outcomes and make state government work better for Minnesotans.” Governor Dayton issues new targetsThe Star Tribune


NE – The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) voted 3 to 2 to give final approval to an alternate routing of the Keystone XL pipeline through Nebraska. TransCanada, the pipeline’s owner, however stated it does not favor the state-approved 63-mile detour routing, which it says will increase project delays and expenses, most notably the need for new “right of way contracts” with landowners. TransCanada instead prefers a routing parallel to the existing mainline, which it put into operation in 2010. Opponents of the project view the PSC’s decision favorably, noting it will continue to delay the project’s construction thanks to the new legal issues stemming from the alternate route approval. Governor Pete Ricketts said the pipeline would “on balance” be good for the state, mostly because of its tax and job generation. The PSC approval comes days after the existing Keystone mainline ruptured in South Dakota, though Nebraska law prohibits regulators from considering spills in its decision-making. Controversial Keystone XL pipeline route across Nebraska is approved, hurdles remainThe Omaha World-Herald


NV – The Governor’s Office of Energy pledged $1 million this week in an effort “to land a national [federal] geothermal laboratory near Fallon, near the Lahontan Valley. The site near Fallon is competing with one other location in nearby Utah for the Department of Energy’s geothermal research center, which is expected to be chosen early next year. In brief, geothermal energy projects use the heat generated by and trapped beneath the Earth’s surface to generate electricity. The funds distributed by the Governor’s Office come from the state’s Renewable Energy Account, which according to the Governor’s Office Director, Angie Dykema, was financed via property taxes on renewable projects. “It’s an enormous gift to this project,” said Doug Blankenship, a researcher at Sandia National Laboratories, the lead organization for the Fallon project. “[New geothermal technology] is a golden ring that deserves to be looked at and Nevada is the best place to be doing that.” Governor’s office pushes for federal geothermal research labThe Elko Daily Free Press


Regional and National

According to a new joint analysis by the non-partisan Climate Policy Initiative and Energy Innovation Policy & Technology groups, the Trump’s administrations plans to subsidize coal and nuclear energy development “would cost taxpayers about $10.6 billion a year” while supporting some of the oldest power plants in the nation. The new rule, which was issued in late September, calls for paying plants for the electricity they produce as well as the “reliability they provide to the grid,” with Energy Secretary Rick Perry noting the subsides would assist the country in times of power outages or increase demand during natural disasters. Brendan Pierpont, energy finance consultant at Climate Policy Initiative, said the new rule “would serve to keep a lot of uneconomic plants in the market that currently can’t compete with the changing dynamics of cheap gas and the falling cost of renewables.” While the administration’s plan must be approved by the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), two of the three FERC commissioners were appointed by President Donald Trump. Subsidy plan for coal and nuclear plants to cost $10.6 billion a yearThe Guardian

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