The United States has received yet another disappointing mark for overall performance, this time in the energy infrastructure sector. The American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) 2013 report card for America’s Infrastructure gave the US a D+ for Energy Infrastructure, stressing the need for a national energy policy that adapts to future energy needs, a… Keep reading →
Cyber security, upgrading aging power infrastructure and integrating more renewables into the US energy portfolio are all high on Washington’s agenda and pressing issues for utilities, but addressing these concerns simultaneously is a major challenge Modernizing and protecting the often archaic US power grid is a massive – and expensive – undertaking, but if legacy… Keep reading →
The nation got a wakeup call recently when the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its Report Card for America’s infrastructure. Listed among the failing grades for roads, bridges and ports, was a grim evaluation of our energy infrastructure.
Giving it a grade of D+, the Report Card detailed the need for investment throughout the nation’s electricity system, but focused primarily on the aging electric grid. The nation’s power grid, which consists of a system of interconnected power plants, transmission and distribution facilities, some of which date back to the 1880s, is in dire need of repair. Keep reading →
One of the biggest ignored threats to the power sector – and to electricity delivery to homes and businesses across much of the country’s most populated regions – is from a lack of natural gas pipeline capacity. A former federal regulator is warning that this issue, arcane at first glance, could prompt market failure and a crisis of reliability for some generators.
The free market is a funny thing; it works only over time and often in socially unpopular ways. The energy market in the US has been regulated, de-regulated and re-regulated over its history, but all market participants are operating in the context of rules set up to balance policy priorities and operating realities. Keep reading →
The world’s swelling population and continued economic growth will require increasing volumes of oil to power the cars, trucks, trains and planes that transport people and goods around the planet. But the Citi commodities research team has questioned the extent of that assumption in a new research report titled “Global Oil Demand Growth – the End is Nigh.”
This rethinking of global oil demand trajectory is driven by the analyst’s view that natural gas will increasingly be substituted for oil in the transportation, power generation and industrial sectors, while considerable gains in fuel economy “raise the possibility that the tipping point for oil demand may come much sooner than the markets are expecting.” Keep reading →
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 →
Municipal bonds are a major source of financing for public power projects, and their tax-exempt status is one of the factors that makes them appealing for investors who might otherwise demand higher returns on their money.
The American Public Power Association has launched an intense campaign to undermine current proposals before Congress that would change the current tax advantages municipal bonds enjoy. As the hunt continues in DC for new revenue that can help plug growing budget deficits that in turn have incurred repeated political crisis, long-held tenets of tax code advantages and exemptions have begun to come under review. Keep reading →
Despite progress, US infrastructure continues to get a near-failing grade from the nation’s engineers, the Keystone debate drags on, climate change policy is back in the headlines and Europeans contending with Cyprus’ financial meltdown are wondering if oil and gas development could help resolve some of the island nation’s issues.
The American Society of Civil Engineers releases its 2013 Report Card for America’s infrastructure today, and the country’s parents wouldn’t exactly be enthusiastic. From deficient bridges to power outages and ever-growing traffic, the country’s score only “inched up” to a D plus, the group says. Find out more here. Keep reading →
An interesting new report from Pike Research puts a spotlight on virtual power plants (VPPs) which, while not a new concept, appear to be ready for prime time. Pike’s research suggests that after a decade of pilot projects testing and validating VPPs as a smart grid platform, we will see significant growth over the next few years.
Pike is forecasting the total worldwide capacity of VPPs will jump from 3,800 megawatts this year to 15,400 MW by 2020 – a five-fold increase. Keep reading →
China recently surpassed the US as the world’s largest net oil importer, as the US produces more and consumes less while Chinese demand steadily increases. US net oil imports have fallen from a peak of 13 million barrels per day in October 2006 to under 6 mmb/d in December 2012, according to a Citi research note issued February 28, titled “Milestones Toward US Energy Independence – Alert: US net Oil Imports Plummet to Second Place Behind China.”
“Meanwhile, since China flipped from a net exporter to a net importer of oil in 1993, its net oil imports have risen steadily to 6.3 mmb/d in January 2013, just under last May’s peak,” the Citi analysts said in the note. Keep reading →