Energy in the News: Friday, April 28

Friday, April 28, 2017
PolitiFact: What happens to oil from Keystone pipeline
Politifact, feat Barry Rabe and Mark Barteau

President Donald Trump’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline brought protests from opponents who say it won’t benefit the United States.
“I’ve opposed the Keystone strategy for a long time because it is an export strategy,” U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told the Press-Republican newspaper in Plattsburgh. “It doesn’t even have any oil for America to make our gas prices cheaper.”
“It’s literally oil from Canada taken through America, so we take all the risks of any kind of spill or any kind of problem, and then it exports it to Mexico and then straight to China or other places,” she said.
Is Gillibrand right? Will the crude oil that flows through the pipeline immediately leave the U.S.?

U-M buildings recognized for energy reduction in statewide competition

U-M University Record

Two buildings on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus beat out competing buildings across the state to earn recognition as the biggest losers in energy consumption in 2016.

The W.K. Kellogg Eye Center and the Medical Sciences Research Building 3 led their respective categories in the Michigan Battle of the Buildings, a program that recognizes buildings in the state with the greatest energy reduction during the calendar year.

The West Michigan Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council has presented the program in partnership with Consumers Energy and DTE Energy since 2014.

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Mich. ballot proposal would stop flow of crude under Great Lakes

E&E EnergyWire

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers approved a ballot proposal Wednesday that would prevent crude oil from flowing through Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5.

The group now has to collect at least 252,523 signatures from valid Michigan voters during a 180-day period beginning May 1.

If the group collects enough signatures, the ballot proposal will go before the Michigan Legislature for consideration.

Under the proposal, the line could still carry propane and natural gas, said Jeffrey Hank, an organizer with Keep Our Lakes Great, one of the groups pushing the measure.

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Today’s energy jobs are in solar, not coal

The New York Times

President Trump has promised to revive the coal industry and double down on fossil fuels, creating “so many energy jobs,” but he has not focused on the increasingly important role of renewable power in America’s energy economy.

Last year, the solar industry employed many more Americans than coal, while wind power topped 100,000 jobs.

Those numbers come from a Department of Energy report published in January by the Obama administration that provides the most complete picture available of American energy employment.

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Britain just had its first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution


On Friday 21 April, the National Grid announced that for the first time since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, it had supplied Britain's energy needs without the need for coal.

While Britain has had coal-free periods before, the longest has been a sustained time of 19 hours, in May 2016. This trend marks the process of a reform in British energy, geared towards drastically reducing the country's reliance on fossil fuels. The last coal power station in the country is scheduled to close in 2025, in an effort to meet climate change commitments stipulated in the Paris Agreement.

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Oil, tech giants tell Trump to stay in Paris deal

The Hill

Oil giants BP and Shell and a group of utilities and tech companies are pushing President Trump to stay in the Paris climate deal.

In a letter sent to Trump on Wednesday, the firms said the deal benefits U.S. companies by putting them on an even playing field with foreign competitors, creates jobs through clean energy work and minimizes the risks climate change poses to them.

“We believe that as other countries invest in advanced technologies and move forward with the Paris agreement, the United States can best exercise global leadership and advance U.S. interests by remaining a full partner in this vital global effort,” the companies wrote.

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Trump's plan to kill Energy Star could benefit his properties


Energy Star is best known for labels that tell you how much you'll pay on your utility bill if you buy a new refrigerator or television. But it also has ratings for hotels, condominiums and office buildings.

Energy Star is best known for labels that tell you how much you'll pay on your utility bill if you buy a new refrigerator or television. But it also has ratings for hotels, condominiums and office buildings.

But none of this could matter if the administration has its way. It has proposed cutting all funding to the Energy Star Program, run by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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House restarts Yucca Mountain debates for storing nuclear waste

Morning Consult

A new bill to revive a permanent nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain, Nev., fails to address the concerns of Nevada lawmakers, suggesting the latest attempt may not resolve a 20-year impasse over the issue.

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and his fellow congressional delegates shared their opposition to the nuclear waste policy amendment during a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing focused on the legislation. The new bill aims to finally use some $31 billion that has accumulated in the Nuclear Waste Fund, set aside in 1982 to collect specifically for a permanent repository.

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Minn. power plant that burns turkey poop faces closure

MPR News

Burning Minnesota turkey litter for power can be traced to a 1994 legislative compromise over nuclear waste.

As Xcel Energy sought permission to store radioactive waste in above-ground dry cask storage at its Prairie Island plant, those who opposed nuclear saw an opportunity to boost renewable energy in the state. The deal struck at the Legislature included a requirement that Xcel generate or buy 125 megawatts of biomass energy.

For the past decade, about 50 megawatts of that mandate has come from a plant in western Minnesota that burns turkey litter and other biomass, such as wood chips. But this week, the plant's 45 employees were told the plant could close, said Reed Anfinson, owner and publisher of the Swift County Monitor-News.

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