A new law signed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf will make it more feasible for companies to use mine water during hydraulic fracturing. The bill keeps coal companies from assuming responsibility for any damages related to the offsite use of mine water. Oil and natural gas companies also won't be held responsible for whether mine water was treated before they obtained it.
Chinese companies are creating Tesla-style electric vehicles, and that could prove to be the US pioneer's biggest challenge in coming years. Still, some experts are skeptical that Chinese companies will be able to pitch their products as effectively as Tesla. "Engineers and marketing people don't understand what it takes to build a car company from scratch and make it last," said John Voelcker of Green Car Reports.
Apex Clean Energy has asked the Federal Aviation Administration for approval of a proposed 25-turbine wind farm in Botetourt County, Va. Apex said the agency must confirm that the project's turbines will not interfere with air traffic. Apex will also have to file an application with the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors for a special exception permit, and seek approval from the Department of Environmental Quality. If approved, the project is poised to become Virginia's first wind farm.
Many states are in early discussions about using carbon trading to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. "Regardless of where states are publicly in their posturing and political maneuvering," many are looking into carbon trading as a strategy for compliance, said Center for Climate and Energy Solutions President Bob Perciasepe. States that use trading will need to opt for a mass-based standard, where annual carbon emissions are capped, or a rate-based standard that requires power plants to achieve an average rate of emissions. Meanwhile, some states plan to sue the EPA rather than draft compliance plans.
If the global wind industry continues to grow at the current rate, wind installations around the world could double in the next five years, according to Vestas CEO and Group President Anders Runevad. Global wind installations jumped 46% between 2013 and 2014, and wind accounted for 20% of the world's total new energy installations last year, he said. Runevad attributed the trend to the declining cost of wind energy, which makes it more competitive with traditional energy sources.
Spencer Dale, group chief economist at BP, says production and financing of the US shale industry "are likely to have a lasting impact on global oil-market dynamics."
Exploration spending by oil and natural gas companies is expected to decline to $25 billion next year, a 50% decrease from $50 billion a few years ago, according to analysts at investment banking firm Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. "Many (exploration and production) companies are virtually abandoning exploration altogether, especially in the US," wrote the analysts. Although low oil prices have discouraged exploration, lower service costs have also reduced the spending necessary for exploration work, the analysts said.
The route of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline has been revised to avoid the Lyndhurst Source Water Protection Area in Augusta County, Va., according to Dominion Resources. The company's $5 billion pipeline will run from West Virginia to North Carolina and have involvement from Duke Energy and two other partners.
ConocoPhillips' Kuparuk drill site has already begun producing oil, according to a Monday news release. The drill site, located on the Alaska North Slope, was not expected to produce oil for another two months. The site is in the southwest part of the Kuparuk oil field and will eventually be expected to produce 8,000 barrels of oil per day, according to company projections.
Whether Philadelphia becomes an "energy hub" for oil and natural gas producers will be largely up to the city's next mayor. Republican candidate Melissa Murray Bailey has shown interest in courting the energy industry, calling the hub a "great opportunity to bring back a thriving blue-collar economy to Philadelphia." Meanwhile, Democratic nominee Jim Kenney believes a "middle ground" will be ideal in building the city's ties to oil and natural gas companies.
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