Energy Solutions Forum

Posts by Energy Solutions Forum

With a bipartisan majority vote of 62-37, the Senate demonstrated its support for Keystone XL pipeline construction for the first time.

On March 22, the US Senate voted in favor of an amendment that supports construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL project, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport crude oil from Canada to Texas refineries. The amendment, introduced by Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) and Max Baucus (D-Montana), passed the Senate by a 62-37 margin, with 17 Democrats joining all Republicans in the vote of support. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) abstained from the vote due to illness. Sens. Hoeven and Baucus also have proposed a separate bill that would facilitate Congressional approval of the project under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, bypassing the decision-making authority of President Obama. Keep reading →

The NY State Assembly voted to enact legislation that would extend the moratorium on high volume hydraulic fracturing until 2015, aiming to facilitate additional health and environmental impact assessments.

On March 6, 2013, the New York State Assembly passed a bill to further suspend issuance of permits for high volume hydraulic fracturing until May 15, 2015. The bill passed with a vote of 95-40 and marks the Assembly’s third moratorium, following similar measures in 2010 and 2011. The industry currently awaits the release of DEC’s Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (SGEIS) and a subsequent ruling for permit issuance. Keep reading →

House Democrats have released draft carbon-pricing legislation, soliciting feedback on a potential per-ton fee for emissions, annual rate of fee increase, and revenue spending.

On March 12, 2013, House Democrats released a draft plan for carbon-pricing legislation that would impose a fee on greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s largest polluters, such as power plants, oil refineries, and factories. The measure, which has the potential to address both climate change and budget deficit, aims to establish a system that would minimize compliance burden for polluting entities and reduce administrative costs. It would build on EPA’s existing program that requires major sources to report emissions. The Treasury Department would have the responsibility to collect carbon fees based on EPA emissions data. Keep reading →

At the first of two 2013 MIT Energy Conference kick-off panels, industry experts discussed the future of the utility as we know it. Moderator Dr. Richard Schmalensee, an MIT Economics Professor, opened the discussion in front of the packed audience by stating the utility business is no longer viewed as boring as once it was. The ensuing debate may not have supported this notion, but it didn’t undermine it either.

Terry Boston, President and CEO of the mid Atlantic regional transmission organization PJM, was first to address the audience. He made a point of commenting on the integration of renewable energy into the grid, highlighting the good work Renewable Portfolio Standards have done and noting that, for the first time ever, natural gas beat out coal in their fuel auction, belying the impending fuel shift. Keep reading →

In the last 20 years, energy innovation has become a global process in terms of education, finance, technology, and markets. At the 2013 MIT Energy Conference a panel of experts discussed pros and cons of innovative energy solutions in emerging markets.

Emerging markets provide attractive opportunities for innovative energy systems. The competitive advantage of renewable over traditional energy sources is greater than in developed countries. However, socio-economic, cultural, and policy issues might interfere with the innovation process in these countries. Keep reading →

On Friday, March 1st, 2013, NRG Energy President & CEO David Crane took the stage at the MIT Energy Conference to offer the Friday Keynote Address to a packed theater.

MIT Energy Initiative Executive Director Melanie Kenderdine moderated the Friday Keynote in a one-on-one Davos-style conversational interview. In it, she asked Crane to offer his advice to the yet-to-be-named incoming Department of Energy nominee. The question timed nicely with the White House announcement on the following Monday, which put forward MIT Professor and MIT Energy Initiative Director Dr. Ernest J. Moniz as the nominee for Secretary of the DOE. Keep reading →

At a well-attended 2013 MIT Energy Conference, an expert panel explored the “big picture” questions surrounding climate change providing updated insights on pros and cons of available actions.

While Sandy has made clear the critical state of the environment – more so than 4 years worth of IPCC reports, notes Dr. Kerry Emanuel (Professor of Atmospheric Science, MIT) – international and domestic efforts to enact policies against climate change continue to stall. Keep reading →