Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Federal News

McNamee Hearing Pushed back After Senate Recesses

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee rescheduled the confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee to FERC, Bernard McNamee, for Nov. 15, after the upper house recessed until after Election Day.

McNamee’s hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday, only a week after Trump formally nominated him on Oct. 9. The committee will also consider Rita Baranwal to be the Energy Department’s assistant secretary for nuclear energy and Raymond David Vela to be director of the National Park Service.

The Senate went into early recess Thursday after Democrats agreed to confirm 15 of the president’s judicial nominees on an expedited basis. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had been prepared to slow-walk the nominees in order to keep Democrats in D.C. and off the campaign trail ahead of the mid-term elections.

More: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee; The New York Times

Thousands Still Without Power in Southeast After Michael

The Energy Department on Monday morning reported that 341,937 customers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia are still without power after Hurricane Michael tore through the Southeast last week.

Michael made landfall in Mexico Beach, Fla., as a Category 4 storm and effectively wiped the city out, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Nearly half the outages are in Florida, mostly in the panhandle region.

As of Sunday, 18 U.S. residents have died as a result of the storm, and 30 to 35 are missing, according to FEMA and Mexico Beach officials.

More: Department of Energy; CNN

Wind, Solar Provided 20% of Generation in 10 States

Wind and solar generation, including small-scale photovoltaic generation, was at least 20% of all generation in 10 states last year, the Energy Information Administration said Oct. 11.

Wind accounted for more than 50% of generation in Iowa and Kansas, and solar accounted for more than 20% of generation in California.

Nationwide, wind and solar was 8% of all generation. It was 11% of all generation in April, its highest percentage in any month last year.

More: Energy Information Administration

GAO Report Details DOE Funding for Advanced Fossil R&D

Petra Nova

Nearly half of the $2.66 billion that the Department of Energy spent on 794 advanced fossil energy research and development projects since 2010 went toward nine carbon capture and sequestration projects, only three of which were active by the end of fiscal year 2017, according to a Government Accountability Office report released Oct. 1.

According to the report, prepared for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the department spent about $1.12 billion on the nine CCS projects. Of the three still active, only one is at an actual power plant: Petra Nova, which has captured more than 2 million tons of carbon dioxide emitted by NRG Energy’s W.A. Parish plant in Texas, according to an NRG spokesman. DOE provided about $190 million for the project from 2010 to 2017.

The report also examined the department’s loan guarantees from fiscal year 2006 to August 2018. It issued three solicitations for $2 billion to $8 billion for advanced fossil energy loans; no loans have been guaranteed as of August.


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