Is The Strategic Petroleum Reserve A Solution To The Crisis in Ukraine?

Posted by Vikram Rao
Executive Director
Research Triangle Energy Consortium
April 9, 2014 at 9:36 AM Filed Under: Critical Policy Issues, Discussions

UkraineGeorge Soros was recently quoted as suggesting that the US use the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) as a deterrent to Russian aggression in Ukraine.  I thought we could examine the validity of that premise.

The SPR, an emergency supply of oil maintained by the United States, is currently near capacity at about 700 million barrels. In our new world driven by shale oil,  a supply disruption would require tapping SPR help for a much shorter period than was envisioned when the SPR’s capacity was designed.

Oil represents more than half of all Russian budget revenues and 30% of Russia’s GDP[read more]

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Can Natural Gas and Renewables Be Synergistic, Not Competitive?

Posted by Dawn Santoianni
Managing Director
Tau Technical Communications, LLC
April 2, 2014 at 7:05 AM Filed Under: Critical Policy Issues, Discussions

nat gas solarThe role of natural gas in a clean energy future has been widely debated due to concerns over life-cycle carbon emissions and perceptions that relying on natural gas as a “bridge fuel” is short-sighted and reduces investment in clean energy. A study published in the journal Science concluded methane leaks from the production and piping of natural gas were underestimated and could be large enough to undermine the carbon reduction benefits compared to coal. Recent utility developments have highlighted the competition between renewables and natural gas:

  • Faced with a capacity shortage as a result of the retirement of the 2,200
  • [read more]

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Changing Times for Electric Utilities

Posted by John Finnigan
Senior Regulatory Attorney
Environmental Defense Fund
March 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM Filed Under: Critical Policy Issues, Discussions

Grid-Operator_Source-EdisonInternational2Two seemingly unrelated announcements drew much attention in the electric utility industry recently. First, the Edison Electric Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council jointly recommended changing how utilities should be regulated. Second, Duke Energy announced it will sell 13 Midwest merchant power plants. These announcements are actually related, and arise because the traditional utility business model is crumbling, due to several factors:

  • Load growth has declined, due to a slowing economy and greater use of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Utilities are no longer able to obtain economies of scale by building ever-larger plants.
  • New regulations have resulted in
  • [read more]

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Legal and Regulatory Issues Related to the Renewable Fuel Standard

Posted by Tracy Terry
Director, Energy Project
Bipartisan Policy Center
March 19, 2014 at 7:00 AM Filed Under: Discussions, Studies and Papers

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Energy Project seeks your input as part of a yearlong effort aimed at fostering constructive dialogue and action on reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Legal and Regulatory Issues Related to the Renewable Fuel StandardBPC commissioned a series of background papers on various RFS topics. The last three papers, summarized below, approach the RFS from the perspectives of policy and law, considering both the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority as well as broader federal regulations.

Inventory of Federal Regulations Affecting Biofuels other than the Renewable Fuel Standard [Read here]
Van Ness Feldman

  • “Although the RFS has been the key driver in the production
  • [read more]

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Vehicle and Supply Chain Issues Related to the Renewable Fuel Standard

Posted by Tracy Terry
Director, Energy Project
Bipartisan Policy Center
March 18, 2014 at 7:00 AM Filed Under: Discussions, Studies and Papers

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Energy Project seeks your input as part of a yearlong effort aimed at fostering constructive dialogue and action on reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

Vehicle and Supply Chain Issues Related to the Renewable Fuel Standard BPC commissioned a series of background papers on various RFS topics. The first two papers, summarized below, approach the RFS from the standpoint of technology and infrastructure, considering both vehicles and the fuels supply chain.

Technical Barriers to the Consumption of Higher Blends of Ethanol [Read here]
The International Council on Clean Transportation

  • “Taking all of these studies together, we conclude that vehicles model year 2001 or later
  • [read more]

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