Thursday, January 30, 2014

EPA Releases Climate Assessment Update to National Stormwater Calculator

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released phase II of the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package. The updated calculator includes future climate vulnerability scenarios.

The calculator, a part of President Obama’s Climate Change Action Plan, is a desktop application that estimates the annual amount of stormwater runoff from a specific location. The calculator now includes changes in seasonal precipitation levels, the effects of more frequent high-intensity storms, and changes in evaporation rates based on validated climate change scenarios by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The updated calculator includes climate models that can be incorporated into the calculation of stormwater runoff. This adds future climate scenarios to last year’s phase I release, which included local soil conditions, slope, land cover, historical rainfall records.

Users can enter any U.S. location and select different scenarios to learn how specific green infrastructure changes, including inexpensive changes such as rain barrels and rain gardens, can reduce stormwater runoff. This information shows users how adding green infrastructure, which mimics natural processes, can be one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce stormwater runoff.

Every year billions of gallons of raw sewage, trash, household chemicals, and urban runoff flow into our streams, rivers and lakes. Polluted stormwater runoff can adversely affect plants, animals, and people. It also negatively impacts our economy – from closed beaches to decreased fishing in polluted areas. Green infrastructure can reduce the damage caused by climate change by improving water quality in streams and rivers, protecting groundwater sources, and enhancing recreational activities. Using the calculator to choose the best green infrastructure options for an area is an innovative and efficient way to promote healthy waters and support sustainable communities. (EPA)

More information on the National Stormwater Calculator and Climate Assessment Tool package


More information about the virtual climate resilience toolkit

More information on EPA’s Green Infrastructure research

American Energy Partners Purchases Hess Ohio Utica Shale Fields

American Energy Partners LP, led by Aubrey McClendon, continues to bulk up in Ohio's Utica Shale, purchasing natural-gas fields from Hess Corp. for $924 million.

Hess struck an agreement to sell 74,000 acres in the Utica to an undisclosed buyer. The company has sold more than $7.8 billion in assets over the past year to raise cash and narrow its focus on growing oil output in the U.S.

Hess issued fourth-quarter financial results on Wednesday, reporting a profit of $1.93 billion, up from $374 million in the year-ago period. It will use the proceeds from the Utica sale to repurchase stock.

Aubrey McClendon
It was a year ago today that Mr. McClendon, then chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corp., said he was resigning from the company he co-founded. His ouster came after clashes with that company's largest shareholders over Chesapeake's aggressive capital spending. Within months, Mr. McClendon launched closely held American Energy Partners, building it with acquisitions in the gas-rich Utica, including a $284 million acquisition from privately held EnerVest Ltd. and its publicly traded affiliate.

American Energy Partners said in October it had raised $1.7 billion in equity and debt, led by private-equity fund The Energy & Minerals Group. The fund is run by John Raymond, who sits on the board of American Energy's Utica-focused company, as does his father, former Exxon Mobil Corp. CEO Lee Raymond. John Raymond's fund also chipped in to the latest venture to buy interests in wells across the country.

Hess still has roughly 86,000 acres in the Utica that it is drilling in partnership with Consol Energy Inc.  Most of those holdings are in areas where wells yield liquids that can be turned into ethane and propane and are currently more valuable than natural gas. Hess plans to boost Utica spending this year by 71% to $550 million.  By contrast, the acreage Hess sold to American Energy Partners is dry natural gas.  (WSJ, 1/29/2014)

Henry Waxman Retiring

Henry Waxman
Representative Henry A. Waxman (D-CA) is retiring at the end of the year. Mr. Waxman, 74, is retiring after 20 terms in the House.

The bill to combat climate change that he wrote was passed by the House in 2009 but died in the Senate, and President Obama has given up on efforts to push it through. Mr. Waxman has also spent years trying to strengthen the powers of the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, but those efforts are under fire from the Republicans who control the House.

Mr. Waxman — whose 33rd Congressional District hugs the Southern California coast and includes Malibu, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica — has long been a House leader. For five years beginning in 1979, he was chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health and the Environment. He often butted heads on environmental issues with the chairman of the full committee, John D. Dingell of Michigan. In 2008, Mr. Waxman defeated Mr. Dingell in a secret House vote to become chairman of the full committee. After the Republicans regained control of the House two years later, he became the committee’s ranking member. (NYT, 1/30/2014)

EPA & Freddie Mac To Cut CO2 Emissions

EPA and Freddie Mac to Cut Carbon Pollution and Increase Affordability of Multifamily Buildings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Energy Star program and Freddie Mac have signed an agreement that will help to cut carbon pollution while increasing the affordability of multifamily housing properties. The agreement outlines strategies to save water, energy and money for multifamily property owners and residents.

Roughly one-third of Americans live in apartments within multifamily buildings, spending approximately $22 billion on energy every year. Rising energy costs are contributing to the decline in affordability for many of these Americans. Housing industry studies have projected that multifamily properties can become 30 percent more efficient by 2020, unlocking $9 billion in energy savings and preventing more than 35 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

In support of the President’s Climate Action Plan, this memorandum of understanding outlines key strategies to make multifamily housing more affordable by encouraging building owners and tenants to benchmark their energy and water performance and take steps to improve efficiency. Among those strategies:

- Freddie Mac will explore the collection of energy and water performance data from property owners during the loan underwriting and asset management processes.

- By demonstrating the financial value of energy and water efficiency to lenders and borrowers, Freddie Mac hopes to be able to influence lending practices in ways that encourage investments in energy efficiency and make multifamily housing units more affordable.

- EPA will assist Freddie Mac with these, and other, goals, by providing technical and educational support in the use of the Energy Star Portfolio Manager® energy management and tracking tool as well as other Energy Star resources.

The President’s Climate Action Plan calls for helping multifamily buildings cut waste and becoming at least 20 percent more energy efficient by 2020. While EPA has already been working with Fannie Mae and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, this latest agreement with Freddie Mac is another critical step forward in meeting the President’s goal. Together, these three organizations influence the largest sources of residential and multifamily lending in the country.

Products, homes and buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR label prevent greenhouse gas emissions by meeting strict energy efficiency requirements set by the U.S. EPA. In 2012 alone, Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved $26 billion on their utility bills and prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the annual electricity use from 35 million homes. From the first ENERGY STAR qualified computer in 1992, the ENERGY STAR label can now be found on products in more than 70 different categories, with more than 4.5 billion sold over the past 20 years. Over 1.4 million new homes and 20,000 office buildings, schools and hospitals have earned the ENERGY STAR label.  (EPA Press Release)

More information on EPA’s ENERGY STAR buildings program

U.S. Economy Grew 3.2 Percent in Fourth Quarter

The economy grew 3.2 percent in the final quarter of 2013. The pace of expansion in October, November and December slowed a bit from the third quarter, when the economy grew at an annual rate of 4.1 percent.
 
For all of 2013, according to the Commerce Department, the economy expanded at an annual rate of 1.9 percent. That was down from 2.8 percent in 2012.
 
Economists noted that inventory additions tend to pull growth forward, which suggests the economy could slow a bit in the first quarter of 2014 as those stockpiles are drawn down. Economists estimate the economy will expand by 2.5 percent in the January, February and March period.
 
The unemployment rate has fallen substantially in the past 12 months, to 6.7 percent in December.  Much of that drop has been caused by workers dropping out of the labor force rather than finding jobs. (NYT, 1/30/2014)
 

"Fast Track" Trade Promotion Authority

"Fast Track" Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 (S 1900) and The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014 (HR 3830) [Bills Comparison], are designed to give the President of the USA authority to negotiate international agreements that the Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster.

The Senate legislation was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and in the House by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI).

The Baucus measure is co-sponsored by Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) opposes the legislation.

The fast track negotiating authority (also called trade promotion authority or TPA, since 2002) for trade agreements is the authority of the President of the United States to negotiate international agreements that the Congress can approve or disapprove but cannot amend or filibuster. Fast-track negotiating authority is granted to the President by Congress. It was in effect pursuant to the Trade Act of 1974 from 1975 to 1994 and was restored in 2002 by the Trade Act of 2002. It expired for new agreements at midnight on July 1, 2007, but continued to apply to agreements already under negotiation until they were eventually passed into law.

The legislation is important to an administration negotiating trade deals with the European Union, and a group of Asian and Latin American countries under the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  President Obama in 2010 also set a goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015.  Trade promotion authority would put timetables on congressional consideration of trade deals, and would prevent Congress from amending them in exchange for the administration meeting specific goals laid out in the authority.
Trading partners are thought to be more likely to sign such pacts if they know the deals will be considered by Congress and will not be changed.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports the legislation.  (The Hill, 1/29/2014, Senate Committee on Finance)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The 2014 State of the Union Address

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

President Obama gave a great State of the Union speech last night.  I support President Obama's 'All of the Above' energy strategy.  I support the efficient use of fossil fuels and believe technology can reduce harmful emissions.

We are promoting an aggressive energy and climate change mitigation strategy that includes implementation of Defense Energy Reservations (DER) and Energy Defense Reservations (EDR).  DER and EDR utilize 'All of the Above' energy in a framework that captures emissions and converts CO2 into diesel fuel.

I support President Obama's statements on energy in his State of the Union Address last night:
"More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years.

Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.

One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas. My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities. And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.

It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

And even as we’ve increased energy production, we’ve partnered with businesses, builders, and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars. In the coming months, I’ll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.

Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did."


President Obama is taking a reasonable pathway forward on American energy and climate change policies. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

American Oil Companies Want To Export Petroleum

Oil producers want to use petroleum from the shale-energy boom to export a product that has a 40-year-old near-total ban on U.S. crude-oil exports.  The law allows limited export licenses, and President Barack Obama could order the Commerce Department to loosen the rules for granting them. Or Congress could vote to overturn the ban altogether.  The ban dates back to the Arab oil embargo of 1973.

Energy security concerns will probably prevent Congress or the president from lifting the ban anytime soon. Some believe that increasing exports could undermine the country's ability to reduce reliance on foreign oil. Another explanation is that in a midterm election year no politician wants to be blamed if gasoline prices go up no matter the reason.
 
 

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil and gas companies supports oil exports. The U.S. is already stepping up exports of refined petroleum products, which aren't restricted, but producers would like the option of exporting crude as well.  (WSJ, 1/22/2014)

Railroad Oil Spills

The amount of oil being transported by rail has soared. The Association of American Railroads (AAR), an industry group, reported that in 2013 the number of carloads of petroleum and petroleum products jumped 31 percent over the previous year.  AAR estimates that railroads shipped 400,000 carloads of crude oil last year. That’s more than 11.5 billion gallons, with one tank car holding roughly 28,800 gallons.

More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows.  Including major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.


By comparison, from 1975 to 2012, U.S. railroads spilled a combined 800,000 gallons of crude oil. The spike underscores new concerns about the safety of such shipments as rail has become the preferred mode for oil producers amid a North American energy boom.

The federal data do not include incidents in Canada in which oil spilled from trains. Canadian authorities estimate that more than 1.5 million gallons of crude oil spilled in Lac-M├ęgantic, Quebec, on July 6, when a runaway train derailed and exploded, killing 47 people. The cargo originated in North Dakota.

Last year’s total spills of 1.15 million gallons means that 99.99 percent of shipments arrived without incident, close to the safety record the industry and its regulators claim about hazardous materials shipments by rail.

Until a few years ago, railroads weren’t carrying crude oil in 80- to 100-car trains. In eight of the years between 1975 and 2009, railroads reported no spills of crude oil. In five of those years, they reported spills of one gallon or less.

There have been a number of railroad accidents involving oil shipments in the past few weeks, including the Monday derailment of seven cars from a CSX train that was crossing a rail bridge to the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery, partly owned by the Carlyle Group. No oil was spilled, but the incident frightened local residents and officials.  The accident closed down the Schuylkill Expressway. CSX said that it has removed one oil-tank car and that it needed to transfer oil from five others. An additional car was carrying sand, a safety measure to put some distance between hazardous cargo and the locomotive.


Critics say the oil trains are putting lives at risk in an urban area that includes a hospital and university buildings. Other accidents have happened in recent months involving railroad shipments of oil. In July, an accident in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, killed 47 people. On Dec. 30, an oil train spilled 400,000 gallons and caught fire after hitting a derailed train near Casselton, N.D. And on Jan. 7, a derailment in the Canadian province of New Brunswick near Maine triggered a fire and forced the evacuation of about 150 residents. (Wash Post, 1/21/2014, Wash Post, 1/21/2014))

TransCanada Opens Southern Leg of Keystone XL Pipeline


TransCanada is shipping crude oil through the southern leg of the $5.3 billion Keystone pipeline.  This will ease the bottleneck at the storage-tank farms in Cushing, Oklahoma and will feed petroleum to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.  The southern portion is now called the Gulf Coast Pipeline.  It did not require State Department approval, but received approvals from the Army Corps of Engineers.

TransCanada is still waiting for the State Department to decide whether to issue a permit for the 1,179-mile northern leg that would carry predominantly heavy oil from Canada’s oil sands thrugh Montana.

Meanwhile, the outlook for a State Department decision is still pendign because it is completing its final environmental-impact statement. The State Department is working on its second environmental impact statement after controversy discredited an earlier version and after TransCanada submitted a revised pipeline route to avoid more of the ecologically sensitive parts of Nebraska and more, but not all, of the enormous Ogallala Aquifer.

The current draft environmental-impact statement, among other things, states that the pipeline would have limited climate impact because oil from Canada’s tar sands, which require more energy to tap and therefore emit more greenhouse gases, would reach U.S. refineries anyway via railroads. (Wash Post, 1/21/2014)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Freedom Industries Bankruptcy Over West Virginia Chemical Spill

Freedom Industries Storage Tanks
Freedom Industries Inc. filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday after more than 20 lawsuits had been filed as of Thursday, the day before. The lawsuits are over the chemical poisoning of virtually the entire water supply of Charleston, W.Va., The key document in the filing is here. The question of compensation for the aggrieved residents and businesses of Charleston will now be in the hands of the bankruptcy court.

Freedom Industries gross revenues in 2013 came to $30.7 million, which may not be enough to make a dent in the potential claims. The court will have to sort out who should stand in line, and where. But the filing also places Freedom's assets out of the reach of the people and businesses of Charleston, at least for now.

Freedom Industries changed hands barely one month before the Jan. 9 chemical spill that befouled the Charleston water system. The new owner is identified as Chemstream Holdings, which Barrett identifies as a corporate arm of J. Clifford Forrest, a major figure in the Pennsylvania mining business. Forrest has asked the court to allow him to lend Freedom $5 million to keep operating, money that presumably will be kept out of the clutches of the Charleston claimants.

In the bankruptcy filing, Freedom also previewed its finger-pointing defense strategy, suggesting that the cause of the leak was inadequate upkeep of a water company line that ran under the breached chemical tank. The hunt for the deepest pocket thus begins.

A poisonous but unregulated chemical leaked out of a Freedom tank and into the Elk River, which provides drinking water for 300,000 Charleston residents from an intake downstream of the chemical tanks. Authorities advised residents and businesses to cease using the water for anything but flushing. No drinking, no bathing, no washing dishes. The effect on daily life isn't hard to imagine. The all-clear wasn't sounded for five days, and in some parts of town residents still report a chemical odor.  (Los Angeles Times, 1/20/2014)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Capacitors

Pole top capacitors are connected to circuits to accept and store charges. They are used to help overhead distribution feeder systems operate more efficiently and reliably. Capacitors are found in substations and on poles.

A capacitor momentarily stores electricity to help control and improve voltage regulation. Should the voltage on a circuit fall below a specified level for some reason, the capacitor can momentarily maintain the voltage at line value. Basically, a capacitor serves the same purpose as a storage tank in a water system.

In a way, a capacitor is a little like a battery. Although they work in completely different ways, capacitors and batteries both store electrical energy. A battery has two terminals. Inside the battery, chemical reactions produce electrons on one terminal and absorb electrons on the other terminal. A capacitor is much simpler than a battery, as it can't produce new electrons -- it only stores them.



Pole Mounted Capacitor Banks provide power factor correction and voltage control on medium voltage industrial and utility electrical overhead systems.

Pakistan to Acquire 3 More Nuclear Plants From China

Pakistan is in talks with China to acquire three large nuclear power plants for some $13 billion. The deal is in addition to last year's agreement to build two Chinese reactors in Pakistan's southern port of Karachi.

The three Chinese reactors would likely be located in the center of the country, in Punjab province, at a site now being prepared, officials said. Two advanced 1,100-megawatt reactors from China are already due to be built near the southern port of Karachi, under a $9 billion agreement completed last year.

The China-Pakistan nuclear trade bypasses international rules against nuclear exports to countries—like Pakistan—that have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

An international body called the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of which China is a member, is supposed to bar the export of nuclear technology or fuel to countries that have not signed the NPT. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and isn't a signatory. Moreover, the leading scientist behind the Pakistani nuclear program, A.Q. Khan, has been involved in spreading the country's nuclear know-how to countries such as North Korea and Libya.

China says that its nuclear trade with Pakistan predates its membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, and is therefore protected. India is also not a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty but the 2005 U.S.-India civil nuclear deal led to India being given an exemption to import nuclear materials by the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

To China and Pakistan, the India-U.S. nuclear deal was discriminatory and is perceived as an atempt to prop up India against China.

Although the U.S.-India nuclear deal is about nuclear power plants, Pakistan sees it as also having military implications. The agreement allows India to source uranium on the international market, freeing up its indigenous uranium for use in its nuclear weapons program. China's unilateral trade with Pakistan provides Islamabad with similar benefits, analysts say.

Pakistan produces between 12,000 MW and 14,000 MW of electricity, while demand is at least 18,000 MW, according to the ministry of power, causing hours of power outages every day across the country. Demand is set to rise sharply with the ballooning population.

Nuclear energy provides just 750 MW of power currently, through two Chinese-built 330 MW plants at Chashma, in Punjab province, and a tiny, aged, plant outside Karachi. China is currently building two more plants of the same size at Chashma, boosting nuclear output to 1,400 MW by 2016. The plan for the future is to acquire much larger 1,100 MW plants from China, including the two new reactors for Karachi.

China is the only country willing to supply Pakistan with nuclear plants, and Pakistan is China's sole market for nuclear exports, providing an outlet for China's hopes of selling its nuclear technology more widely.

Ansar Parvez, chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, which builds and runs the country's nuclear power plants, said that the country's aim is to generate 8,800 MW of nuclear power by 2030.  That target requires Pakistan to build six to seven large nuclear power plants, including the two already scheduled for Karachi. Each such plant costs $4 billion to $4.5 billion, said Mr. Parvez. (WSJ, 1/20/2014)

Friday, January 17, 2014

California Declares Drought Emergency

Jerry Brown
California Governor Jerry Brown officially declared a drought emergency in the state today, urging residents to cut water use by 20% and directing state agencies to take a range of steps to ease the effects of water shortages on agriculture, communities and fish and wildlife.  Brown's drought proclamation follows California's driest year on record and comes amid dropping reservoir levels and no sign of relief in the near future.

Some Northern California communities dependent on shrinking local supplies have already imposed rationing and others are asking residents to eliminate outdoor watering. Many Central Valley irrigation districts are warning growers to expect severe delivery cuts this spring and summer.



The detailed, 20-point drought declaration calls on California agencies to launch a statewide conservation campaign, expedite voluntary water transfers by rights holders to districts in need of supplies and hire additional seasonal firefighters this year to respond to elevated wildfire risk.

The proclamation allows state agencies to ease requirements for reservoir releases related to downstream water quality and directs them to monitor groundwater levels.
The declaration stops short of statewide mandatory rationing.

The last statewide drought declaration was issued in 2009 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Since 1987, there have been 13 emergency proclamations, most of them for a part of the state, and three executive orders related to drought, according to the water resources department.  (L.A. Times, 1/17/2014)

Glendora California Wildfire

An out-of-control campfire might have started a 1,700-acre brush fire that destroyed numerous homes as it raced down a hillside and cast wind-blown embers into a foothill community south of Southern California's Angeles National Forest.

 
Three men were arrested in connection with the fire, which forced evacuations involving about 1,000 homes as firefighters on the ground and in the air continue the attack in Glendora, a San Gabriel Valley city located about 30 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.

The men were booked on suspicion of recklessly starting a fire. They were identified as Clifford Henry, 20, of Glendora; Jonathan Jarrell, 23, of Irwindale; and Steven Aguirre, 21, whose most recent residence is listed as Los Angeles.
 
At least five homes have been destroyed in the fire and 17 other buildings were damaged, officials said. Two firefighters suffered injuried in the blaze and a civilian was also hurt. Embers blown by 30-mph wind gusts into a neighborhood set palm trees ablaze like matchsticks and sparked several small spot fires. (NBC4 Southern California, 1/17/2014)

Spot Coal Price Trends Vary Across Key Basins During 2013

graph of U.S. weekly spot steam coal prices by basin, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Coal News and Markets, based on SNL Energy physical market survey



Spot steam coal price trends varied across key basins in 2013. Compared with 2012, while total coal demand increased, total coal supply decreased, yet regional differences in market fundamentals resulted in different spot price trends. Central Appalachian (CAPP) coal prices trended downwards, Northern Appalachian (NAPP) and Powder River Basin (PRB) coal prices trended upwards, and Illinois Basin (ILB) and Rocky Mountain coal prices remained largely unchanged.

Coal demand increased in 2013. Higher natural gas prices in 2013 resulted in the greater use of coal for electricity generation and higher domestic consumption of coal. This resulted in total coal consumption in all sectors in the first 11 months of 2013 of 35 million tons, or 4%, more than the same period of 2012. Meanwhile, total coal exports in the first nine months declined by nearly 8 million tons compared to the same period in 2012, following a few years of growth. Continued weakening in the European economy, slower demand growth in Asia, increased output from other coal-exporting countries, and lower international coal prices all contributed to the decrease in U.S. coal exports.

Coal supply decreased in 2013. Total coal production in 2013 was 4 million tons, or 0.4%, lower than in 2012, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) data through the first half of 2013 coupled with EIA estimates for second-half 2013. Coal imports in the first nine months of 2013 were largely on par with the same period of 2012 and are likely to remain unchanged year on year. As a result, overall supply of coal was less than in 2012.
graph of U.S. weekly coal production, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Coal Production, based on MSHA data. 



Coal stockpiles fell in 2013. Coal inventories in the electric power sector dropped by 31 million tons from the end of 2012 to 154 million tons at the end of September 2013. The significant drawdown reduced the stockpile to below the monthly five-year average and met the increased demand for electricity generation. Subbituminous coal, mostly from the Powder River Basin, was burned from stockpiles at a greater rate than bituminous coal (18 million and 14 million tons, respectively).  (DOE-EIA)

graph of weekly coal production by basin, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Weekly Coal Production, based on MSHA data

Canadian President Steven Harper Government Hires Firm for $22 Million International Ad Campaign Promoting Oilsands

Stephen Harper
The Harper government has hired an international public relations firm to oversee a $22 million advertising campaign to promote the oilsands and Canada's natural resources sector around the world.  The Canadian arm of PR firm FleishmanHillard won a bid for the initial $1.695 million contract to conduct the first phase of the ad campaign.

The first phase of the ad campaign will reach the United States, Europe, and Asia this year. If the firm's contract is renewed for 2015, it could be worth up to $4 million, with the remaining $18 million reserved for media buys.

The firm will be developing and producing the ads for print, internet and television, and will be responsible for the drafting and coordination of public relations, advertising and social media strategies, according to Natural Resources Canada.

The Obama administration has not yet approved the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, which faces strong environmental opposition in the U.S. Domestic opposition to various proposed pipeline projects including the Northern Gateway, which would transport crude oil from Alberta to British Columbia, also remains strong.

While the ad campaign's estimated budget is $22 million, Natural Resources Canada noted that the final cost will not be made public until the government releases its 2014-2015 annual report on advertising expenses. (The Star, 1/17/2014)

McConnell To Invoke Congressional Review Act To Protect Coal

Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to force a vote to stop new Environmental Protection Agency regulations aimed at cutting carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.  McConnell, along with 40 other Republicans, will file a resolution of disapproval against the proposed EPA rule using the Congressional Review Act.

EPA published its rule on the New Source Performance Standards for power plants — pushing for the facilities to be built with carbon capture technology — last week in the Federal Register. It came out nearly four months after EPA chief Gina McCarthy announced it would be a core element of President Obama's second-term climate change agenda.

Now, as a piece in the GOP's fight against what they call Obama's "war on coal," McConnell will seek to stop the regulations through the Review Act — a rarely used legislative tool that allows Congress to block regulations from the executive branch.

McConnell and the 40 Republican co-sponsors intend to file a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to ensure a vote to stop this  rule.
They believe the EPA regulation in question clearly meets the definition for congressional review under this statute and McConnell is sending a letter the  Comptroller General outlining their position.


Normally a rule must be finalized for a congressional review to be sought. 
In McConnell's letter to the comptroller general,  he say the the EPA's rule limiting greenhouse gases (GHG) from power plants falls under an unusual provision.
EPA issued the proposed GHG rule under a very unusual provision of the Clean Air Act that gives immediate legal effect to the notice of proposed rulemaking.

Despite being a proposed rule, McConnell believes that its publication in the Federal Register has immediate legal impacts on power plants planning to be built.  He believes the proposed GHG rule immediately changes the legal landscape for anyone seeking to develop a fossil fuel power plant.  He believes that any company that commences construction on a new power plant after publication of the proposed GHG rule will have to comply with GHG limits that did not apply before that time.
Using the congressional review, a senator can force a vote to block a rule within 60 days of it being published in the Federal Register.  (The Hill, 1/16/2014)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Congress Approves $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill: President Will Sign

Congress gave final approval today to a $1.1 trillion spending bill that eases the sharp budget cuts known at the sequester and guarantees that the nation will not endure another government shutdown until at least Oct. 1.  The bipartisan agreement to fund federal agencies through the rest of the fiscal year passed the Senate on a vote  of 72 to 26.



The House overwhelmingly approved the spending bill earlier this week, and the White House signaled that President Obama would sign it by Saturday, in time to prevent museums, agency offices and national parks from locking their gates when the current temporary funding measures expires. (Wash Post, 1/16/2014)

National Harbor Capital Ferris Wheel

Artist's rendering/Brown Craig Turner Architects + Designers

National Harbor developer Milt Peterson envisons a $15 million brightly lit 175-foot-tall Ferris wheel offering visitors 12- to 15-minute rides on the Potomac River.


A look at the scale of the planned ferris wheel in D.C.
Scale of the planned ferris wheel

 
Click Here to View Full Graphic Story

Peterson envisions the attraction, easily visible from flights arriving at or departing from Reagan National Airport, becoming as much a part of region’s skyline as the Washington Monument or U.S. Capitol. In mid-2016, it will be joined by a $925 million MGM resort and casino.   The attractions will be part of the $4 billion playground known as National Harbor, seven miles south of the District in Prince George’s County.

The Center supports the Capital Wheel.  The Army Corps of Engineers will have to issue a permit for the ferris wheel.
 

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Statement to Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the President’s Climate Action Plan

Remarks of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy as prepared for delivery:

Chairman Boxer, Ranking Member Vitter, members of the Committee: Thank you for the opportunity to testify today.

In June of last year, the President reaffirmed his commitment to reducing carbon pollution when he directed many federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, to take meaningful steps to mitigate the current and future damage caused by carbon dioxide emissions and to prepare for the anticipated climate changes that have already been set in motion.

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. Based on the evidence, more than 97% of climate scientists are convinced that human-caused climate change is occurring. If our changing climate goes unchecked, it will have devastating impacts on the United States and the planet. Reducing carbon pollution is critically important to the protection of Americans’ health and the environment upon which our economy depends.

Responding to climate change is an urgent public health, safety, national security, and environmental imperative that presents an economic challenge and an economic opportunity. As the President has stated, both the economy and the environment must provide for current and future generations, and we can and must embrace cutting carbon pollution as a spark for business innovation, job creation, clean energy and broad economic growth. The United States’ success over the past 40 years makes clear that environmental protection and economic growth go hand in hand.

The President’s Climate Action Plan directs federal agencies to address climate change using existing executive authorities. The Plan has three key pillars: cutting carbon pollution in America; preparing the country for the impacts of climate change; and leading international efforts to combat global climate change.

Cutting Carbon Pollution

EPA plays a critical role in implementing the Plan’s first pillar, cutting carbon pollution. Over the past four years, EPA has begun to address this task under the Clean Air Act.

Our first steps addressed motor vehicles, which annually emit nearly a third of U.S. carbon pollution. EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, along with the auto industry and other stakeholders, worked together to set greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for Model Year 2012 to 2025 light-duty vehicles. Over the life of these vehicles, the standards will save an estimated $1.7 trillion for consumers and businesses and cut America’s oil consumption by 12 billion barrels, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 billion metric tons.

EPA’s and NHTSA’s standards for model year 2014 through 2018 heavy-duty trucks and buses present a similar success story. Under the President’s Plan, we will be developing a second phase of heavy-duty vehicle standards for post 2018 model years.

Building on this success, the President asked EPA to work with states, utilities and other key stakeholders to develop plans to reduce carbon pollution from future and existing power plants.

Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States. In March 2012, the EPA first proposed carbon pollution standards for future power plants. After receiving over 2.5 million comments, we determined to issue a new proposed rule based on this input and updated information.

In September 2013, the EPA announced its new proposal. The proposed standards would establish the first uniform national limits on carbon pollution from future power plants. They will not apply to existing power plants. The proposal sets separate national limits for new natural gas-fired turbines and new coal-fired units. New large natural gas-fired turbines would need to emit less than 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to emit less than 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to emit less than 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. Operators of these units could choose to have additional flexibility by averaging their emissions over multiple years to meet a somewhat tighter limit.

The standards reflect the demonstrated performance of efficient, lower carbon technologies that are currently being used today. They set the stage for continued public and private investment in technologies like efficient natural gas and carbon capture and storage. The proposal was recently published in the Federal Register on January 8, and the formal public comment period is now open. We look forward to robust engagement on the proposal and will carefully consider the comments and input we receive as a final rule is developed.

As noted, the proposed rule would apply only to future power plants. For existing plants, we are engaged in outreach to a broad group of stakeholders who can inform the development of proposed guidelines, which we expect to issue in June of this year. These guidelines will provide guidance to States, which have the primary role in developing and implementing plans to address carbon pollution from the existing plants in their states. We recognize that existing power plants require a distinct approach, and this framework will allow us to capitalize on state leadership and innovation while also accounting for regional diversity and providing flexibility.

The EPA’s stakeholder outreach and public engagement in preparation for this rulemaking is extensive and vigorous. We held eleven public listening sessions around the country at EPA regional offices and our headquarters in Washington, DC. We have participated in numerous meetings with a broad range of stakeholders across the country. And all of this is happening well before we propose any guidelines. When we issue proposed guidelines in June, the more formal public process begins – including a public comment period and an opportunity for a public hearing – which will provide yet further opportunity for stakeholders and the general public to provide input.

Cutting Methane Emissions

The Climate Action Plan calls for the development of a comprehensive, interagency strategy to address emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that also contributes to ozone pollution, but which has substantial economic value. EPA is working with other agencies to assess emissions data, address data gaps, and identify opportunities to reduce methane emissions through incentive-based programs and existing authorities.

Curbing Emissions of HFCs

The Plan also calls on the US to lead through international diplomacy as well as domestic action to reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases whose emissions are otherwise expected to nearly triple by 2030. Moving forward, the EPA will use its authority under the Clean Air Act to encourage the investment, purchase, and use of climate-friendly alternatives.

Preparing for Impacts of Climate Change

Even as we work to avoid dangerous climate change, we must strengthen America’s resilience to climate impacts we’re already experiencing and those that can no longer be avoided. The President’s Plan calls for a broad array of actions on this front. EPA is incorporating research on climate impacts into the implementation of our existing programs and developing information and tools to help decision-makers – including State, local and tribal governments – to better understand and address these impacts. Further, EPA is working closely with our federal agency counterparts on several other aspects of building our national resilience, including developing the National Drought Resilience Partnership, ensuring the security of our freshwater supplies, protecting our water utilities, and protecting and restoring our natural resources in the face of a changing climate.

International Efforts

Our changing climate is also a global challenge, and the President’s Plan recognizes that the United States must couple action at home with leadership abroad. Working closely with the State Department, EPA continues to engage our international partners in reducing carbon pollution through an array of activities. These include public-private partnership efforts to address emissions of methane and other short-lived climate pollutants under the Climate and Clean Air Coalition and the Global Methane Initiative, as well as bilateral cooperation with major economies.

Conclusion

The President’s Plan provides a roadmap for federal action to meet the pressing challenge of a changing climate – promoting clean energy solutions that capitalize on American innovation and drive economic growth. EPA looks forward to working with other federal agencies and all stakeholders on these critical efforts.

Thank you again for the opportunity to testify, and I look forward to answering your questions. (EPA)

West Virginia Toxic Spill

PRESIDENT'S CORNER

By Norris McDonald

I am dismayed by the spilling of toxic chemicals into the Elk River in West Virginia.  The citizens of Charleston deserve better.  There are complaints about a lack of oversight at this facility and that is unacceptable.  However, I know that EPA cannot monitor and police every facility with chemicals in the United States.  A number of laws, including RCRA, CERCLA, TOSCA and others, are already on the books that are designed to inform and protect the public from toxic chemicals.  Unfortunately, accidents such as this one will happen.  It comes with the territory of utilizing chemicals to provide the American way of life.

West Virginia authorities are slowly lifting a five-day ban on tap water that has been in effect since a toxic chemical spill contaminated the state’s water supply last week. More than 300,000 people have not been able to drink, cook or even bathe with tap water.


The crisis began when 7,500 gallons of the chemical 4-methylcyclohexane methanol leaked from a storage tank at Freedom Industries, located on the Elk River just north of the capital Charleston and the region’s water supply treatment facility. Citizens first noticed something was wrong when the water started to smell like licorice.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced Monday that some water tests show chemical components are now below toxic levels, making it safe to use and consume.

Federal authorities are investigating the chemical plant that spilled the toxins. (PBS, 1/14/2014)

EPA Releases Final Bristol Bay Mining Report

EPA Releases Bristol Bay Assessment Describing Potential Impacts to Salmon and Water From Copper

Agency launched study after requests for action to protect Bristol Bay watershed from large-scale mining

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released its final Bristol Bay Assessment describing potential impacts to salmon and ecological resources from proposed large-scale copper and gold mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The report, titled "An Assessment of Potential Mining Impacts on Salmon Ecosystems of Bristol Bay, Alaska," concludes that large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed poses risks to salmon and Alaska Native cultures. Bristol Bay supports the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, producing nearly 50 percent of the world’s wild sockeye salmon with runs averaging 37.5 million fish each year.

Over three years, EPA compiled the best, most current science on the Bristol Bay watershed to understand how large-scale mining could impact salmon and water in this unique area of unparalleled natural resources. The report concludes that large-scale mining poses risks to salmon and the tribal communities that have depended on them for thousands of years. The assessment is a technical resource for governments, tribes and the public as we consider how to address the challenges of large-scale mining and ecological protection in the Bristol Bay watershed.

To assess potential mining impacts to salmon resources, EPA considered realistic mine scenarios based on a preliminary plan that was published by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. and submitted to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. EPA also considered mining industry references and consulted mining experts. Numerous risks associated with large-scale mining are detailed in the assessment:

Risks from Routine Operation

Mine Footprint:
Depending on the size of the mine, EPA estimates 24 to 94 miles of salmon-supporting streams and 1,300 to 5,350 acres of wetlands, ponds, and lakes would be destroyed. EPA estimates an additional 9 to 33 miles of salmon-supporting streams would experience altered streamflows likely to affect ecosystem structure and function.

Waste and Wastewater Management: Extensive quantities of mine waste, leachates, and wastewater would have to be collected, stored, treated and managed during mining and long after mining concludes. Consistent with the recent record of similar mines operating in the United States, polluted water from the mine site could enter streams through uncollected leachate or runoff, in spite of modern mining practices. Under routine operations, EPA estimates adverse direct and indirect effects on fish in 13 to 51 miles of streams.

Risks from Accidents and Failures

Wastewater Treatment Plant:
Short and long-term water collection and treatment failures are possible. Depending on the size of the mine, EPA estimates adverse direct and indirect effects on fish in 48 to 62 miles of streams under a wastewater treatment failure scenario.

Transportation Corridor: A transportation corridor to Cook Inlet would cross wetlands and approximately 64 streams and rivers in the Kvichak River watershed, 55 of which are known or likely to support salmon. Culvert failures, runoff, and spills of chemicals would put salmon spawning areas in and near Iliamna Lake at risk.

Pipeline: Consistent with the recent record of petroleum pipelines and of similar mines operating in North and South America, pipeline failures along the transportation corridor could release toxic copper concentrate or diesel fuel into salmon-supporting streams or wetlands.

Tailings Dam: Failure of a tailings storage facility dam that released only a partial volume of the stored tailings would result in catastrophic effects on fishery resources.

The assessment found that the Bristol Bay ecosystem generated $480 million in economic activity in 2009 and provided employment for over 14,000 full and part-time workers. The region supports all five species of Pacific salmon found in North America: sockeye, coho, Chinook, chum and pink. In addition, it is home to more than 20 other fish species, 190 bird species, and more than 40 terrestrial mammal species, including bears, moose and caribou.

In 2010, several Bristol Bay Alaska Native tribes requested that EPA take action under the Clean Water Act to protect the Bristol Bay watershed and salmon resources from development of the proposed Pebble Mine, a copper, gold and molybdenum mining venture backed by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. Other tribes asked EPA to wait for a mine permitting process to begin before taking action on the potential environmental issues Pebble Mine presents.

Before responding to these requests, EPA identified a need for a scientific assessment to better inform the agency and others. EPA and other scientists with expertise in Alaska fisheries, mining, geochemistry, anthropology, risk assessment, and other disciplines reviewed information compiled by federal resource agencies, tribes, the mining industry, the State of Alaska, and scientific institutions from around the world. EPA focused on the Nushagak and Kvichak River watersheds, which support approximately half of the Bristol Bay sockeye salmon runs.

EPA maintained an open public process, reviewing and considering all comments and scientific data submitted during two separate public comment periods. The agency received approximately 233,000 comments on the first draft of the assessment and 890,000 comments on the second draft. EPA held eight public meetings attended by approximately 2,000 people. EPA consulted with federally recognized tribal governments and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act village and regional corporations.

The study has been independently peer reviewed for its scientific quality by 12 scientists with expertise in mine engineering, salmon fisheries biology, aquatic ecology, aquatic toxicology, hydrology, wildlife ecology, and Alaska Native cultures.

The agency reviewed information about the copper deposit at the Pebble site and used data submitted by Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the document titled "Preliminary Assessment of the Pebble Project, Southwest, Alaska," which provides detailed descriptions of three mine development cases representing 25, 45 and 78 years of open pit mining. The 45-year development scenario was presented as the reference case in the Northern Dynasty report. Over the course of the assessment, EPA met with tribes, Alaska Native corporations, mining company representatives, state and local governments, tribal councils, fishing industry representatives, jewelry companies, seafood processors, restaurant owners, chefs, conservation organizations, members of the faith community, and members of Congress.

EPA produced the report with its authority to perform scientific assessments under Clean Water Act section 104. As a scientific report, this study does not recommend policy or regulatory decisions.  (EPA Press Release)

For more information on the EPA Bristol Bay Assessment

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

China's Military-Style Attacks On Air Pollution


Recently, to control the pollution that's choking Beijing, demolition squads recently swooped down on the city of Tangshan and crippled a number of coal-burning steel plants.

As China's air pollution indexes spike to record highs, it's easy to conclude that the country's central government lacks resolve in dealing with the problem.  But the military-style operation in Tangshan suggests the opposite is true.

Air pollution is now the fourth-biggest health threat to Chinese people, according to a study published last year in the Lancet, a British medical journal. About 1.2 million people died prematurely in China in 2010 as a result of air pollution, the study showed. Chinese government data show that lung cancer is now the leading cause of death from malignant tumors. Many of those dying are nonsmokers.

Tangshan is ground zero in this escalating health crisis. On average last year, the air breathed by its 7.6 million people was considered hazardous to health for five days out of seven, according to China's own official standards. That makes Tangshan one of the filthiest cities in China—and thus the world.

Its noxious emissions, combined with those from other gritty cities surrounding Beijing, helped produced the "airpocalypse" a year ago when the Chinese capital experienced air pollution more than 70 times above the level considered safe in the U.S.

Last year, a National Action Plan targeted massive spending of $275 billion on antipollution measures over the next five years until 2017. Over that period, the government has targeted a 25% reduction in PM 2.5 levels in the region around Beijing.  (WSJ, 1/14/2014)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Southern Company: Plant Vogtle

U.S. Energy-Related CO2 Emissions in 2013 Expected to be 2% Higher Than in 2012

Once all data are in, energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2013 are expected to be roughly 2% above the 2012 level, largely because of a small increase in coal consumption in the electric power sector. Coal has regained some market share from natural gas since a low in April 2012; however the impact on overall emissions trends remains fairly small.

Emissions in 2013 are slightly more than 10% below 2005 levels, a significant contribution towards the goal of a 17% reduction in emissions from the 2005 level by 2020 that was adopted by the current Administration. This level of reduction is expected to continue through 2015, according to EIA's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook.

graph of energy-related carbon dioxide emission, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Short-Term Energy Outlook, January 2014



CO2 emissions from energy activities declined four out of six years since their 2007 peak, and were historically low (12% below the 2005 level) in 2012. From 2005 to 2013, the key energy-economic drivers of a changing U.S. energy landscape included:

  • Weak economic growth in recent years, dampening growth in energy demand compared to pre-recession expectations
  • Continuously improving energy efficiency across the economy, including buildings and transportation
  • High energy prices over the past four years, with the exception of natural gas, since about 2010
  • An abundant and inexpensive supply of natural gas, resulting from the widespread use of new production technologies for shale gas
  • Power sector decarbonization since 2010, as natural gas and renewables displaced coal
(DOE-EIA)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Former EPA Headquarters In Southwest Converted To Apartments

Converted Building
Sky House, where the former Environmental Protection Agency headquarters was located in Southwest Washington, has been transformed into two apartment buildings.

The towers at Sky House, one of the first LEED-certified re-use projects in the city, will be the tallest residential structures in Southwest. Residents will have unobstructed views of the Potomac, the monuments and the Capitol.

Sky House East, which opened for leasing last week, will have 266 homes, including studio and one- and two-bedroom units.

Original Building
Community amenities include a rooftop swimming pool, an observation deck with panoramic skyline and river views, an outdoor patio with seating, water features, a grill and a gas fireplace. The indoor amenities include a game room, a fitness center with a personal trainer, a conference room, a party room, a club room, an Internet lounge and concierge services. The pet-friendly building has an on-site grooming space.

Garage parking is available and residents are steps from the Southwest Waterfront Metro, shops and restaurants.

Rents at Sky House will range from the $1,600s to the $3,200s. (Wash Post, 1/6/2014)

Friday, January 10, 2014

EDF Renewable Energy Spinning Spur 3 Wind Project

EDF Renewable Energy today announced the acquisition of the 194 megawatt (MW) Spinning Spur 3 Wind Project from Cielo Wind Power LP (Cielo).  Spinning Spur 3 is located on approximately 18,000 acres in Oldham County, Texas, roughly 50 miles west of Amarillo.

The project expects commercial operation by the end of 2015 utilizing ERCOT’s (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas) new CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone) transmission lines. The clean electricity generated from the Spinning Spur 3 Wind Project will be provided to two municipal utilities, Georgetown Utility Systems and Garland Power & Light, under long-term Power Purchase Agreements.
  
About EDF Renewable Energy: EDF Renewable Energy is a leading U.S. independent power producer with more than 25 years of expertise in the renewable industry, covering all range of services from project development, management to operations and maintenance. EDF Renewable Energy specializes in wind and solar photovoltaic with presence in other segments of the renewable energy market: biogas, biomass, hydro, marine energy and storage solutions. The company develops, constructs, operates and manages renewable energy projects throughout the United States for its own accord as well as for third parties. EDF Renewable Energy’s portfolio consists of over 3.5 gigawatts of developed projects with 1.8 gigawatts of installed capacity. EDF Renewable Energy is the U.S. subsidiary of EDF Energies Nouvelles. EDF Energies Nouvelles is the renewable energy arm of the EDF group, the leading electricity company in the world. For more information visit: www.edf-re.com

About Cielo Wind Services, Inc.: Cielo Wind Services, Inc. (Cielo), a Texas corporation which is wholly owned by Cielo Wind Power, LP. Cielo Wind Power, LP is a private closely-held company based in Austin, Texas, whose sole business is the development and operation of wind power facilities. Cielo is the largest independently-owned wind company in the U.S. Cielo has developed 1,751MW of projects in New Mexico and Texas over the past 11 years. “Wind Ranch” is a registered trademark of Cielo Wind Power, LLC. For more information, visit us at cielowind.com or contact Virginia Rogan at vrogan@cielowind.com or (512) 440-0305.  (Business Wire, 1/8/2014)

Contacts:

EDF Renewable Energy
Sandi Briner, 858-521-3525
Sandi.Briner@edf-re.com