California has traditionally thought of itself as the leader in US environmental policy; where the state goes, the nation follows. If that’s the case, the next round of clean energy policy promises to be no more decisive or conclusive than the last ten years of lawsuits and countersuits. A 2006 law passed by voters in California’s infamous bottom-up system of interactive democracy requires renewable energy investments by the state’s utilities, but current lawmakers are backpedaling on widely acknowledged goals, according to recent coverage by the Associated Press as featured on the San Francisco Chronicle. Read more about that here, and read some of AOL’s in depth insight on the issue here.
The rise of the energy workforce has been a broader story in the slow economic recovery of the past few years, as demand for qualified workers in oil and gas fields alongside related sectors has proved a unusual bright spot for jobs. The Houston Chronicle notes that the trend has filtered even into internships; while interns in other sectors often go unpaid, energy company interns can early properly grown-up salaries.
Pipeline infrastructure has been a huge bottleneck for getting newly economic oil supplies from the Dakotas and Western Canada to population centers. Oil on rail, the more expensive option, has been increasingly popular, and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline – which continues with recent high-profile protests – has made companies hesitant to announce large new infrastructure projects that include pipe. But Enbridge and Energy Transfer Partners are making a go of it with a new 700 mile project in which each firm will own 50%. Read more about that on the Wall Street Journal here.
And the onshoring trend, driven by low natural gas prices, continues in North America. Vancouver-based Methanex is moving a methanol plant to Louisiana from Chile to take advantage of burgeoning shale supply that is in turn driving interest in manufacturing (and in turn, demand for petrochemicals and products derived from natural gas). Read more about that move on Canada’s Globe and Mail here.