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September 29, 2017

Energy – SciPol Weekly, September 23 – September 29

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Government

Forbes – Trump's Actions To Allow Drilling In The Arctic Trigger A Seismic Fight

The Trump administration is now setting its sights on new exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that has long been the political epicenter for where environmentalists and industrialists have squared off. But the latest move will undoubtedly spawn legal and political tactics to prevent development there.

Oil & Gas Journal – DOE announces funding for carbon capture projects, requests NPC study

The US Department of Energy took a pair of steps to advance carbon capture technologies over several days. DOE Sec. Rick Perry announced $36 million in funding on Sept. 22 to support cost-shared projects research and development to continue development to either the engineering scale or a commercial design. He then reportedly asked the National Petroleum Council 3 days later to help find more ways to use captured carbon in enhanced oil recovery.

The Hill – Maryland sues EPA over upwind air pollution

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) sued the Trump administration Wednesday to try to force it to take action against out-of-state power plants for their air pollution. Frosh contends in his lawsuit that the Clean Air Act obligates Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt to require plants in five states to use air pollution controls.

Utility Dive – Arizona utility will use 'reverse demand response' to avoid renewables curtailment

Arizona Public Service recently proposed a slate of efficiency and demand-side measures that include many of the usual suspects, along with new takes on traditional resources. The utility's plan includes incentives for smart thermostats, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, energy storage and water heater timers — along with a new "reverse demand response" product that aims to balance system load with excess renewable generation.

Industry

Oil & Gas Journal – Oil, gas groups back BLM’s plan to rescind 2015 fracking rule

The American Petroleum Institute, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and Western Energy Alliance expressed their support on Sept. 25 for the US Bureau of Land Management to rescind its 2015 hydraulic fracturing rule.

WIRED – After Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico's Grid Needs a Complete Overhaul

Once the more immediate crisis has been alleviated, Puerto Rico will stare down the daunting task of rebuilding, and reimagining what cities’ defenses should look like. And that should be an opportunity for a complete reimagining of Puerto Rico’s energy system, which uses some of the least unsustainable fuels at some of the highest costs in the US, says Otis Rolley, the 100 Resilient Cities regional director for North America. 

Science

Greenwire – Evaporation could power most of the U.S. — study

Imagine evaporation from lakes and reservoirs providing the majority of U.S. electricity at little cost and without heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions or intermittency problems. That might sound too good to be true, but a Columbia University research team says it just might work. In the first analysis of evaporation as renewable energy, the scientists found that evaporation-to-power devices on lakes and reservoirs could generate 325 gigawatts of electricity, or about 70 percent of current U.S. production.

Other

The Washington Post – Severe power failures in Puerto Rico and across the Caribbean spur new push for renewable energy

The ongoing electricity disaster in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria — and on several other Caribbean islands slammed at full force by strong storms — is driving new interest in ways of shifting island power grids toward greater reliance on wind, solar and even, someday, large batteries. “For the most part, these island grids were completely devastated, and it will be four to six months before most of them can power their islands completely again,” said Chris Burgess, director of projects for the Islands Energy Program at the Rocky Mountain Institute.

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