Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 1, 2014

August 25, 2014

Understanding Enbridge’s Oil Sands Pipeline Tactic From Canada

enbridge2 445x488 Understanding Enbridges Oil Sands Pipeline Tactic From Canada

A pipeline company intends to connect two pipelines in order to add more than 300,000 barrels per day of capacity to cross into the United States from Canada without waiting for the kind of permit that has hampered the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Citing a delay for a presidential permit and demand for getting tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to refiners, Enbridge Inc. indicated that it intends to increase capacity on its Alberta Clipper-Line 67 pipeline by swapping oil with a parallel Line 3, which carries light crude oil and runs at reduced capacity because of pressure restrictions on the decades-old line. The interconnections will allow Enbridge to add 75,000 barrels per day of capacity this year and a total of 800,000 barrels per day by mid-2015.

An increase in capacity generally requires State Department approval, but the department indicated that Enbridge’s interconnection changes did not require further approval because the oil would cross the border under existing presidential permits.

The portion of Line 3 that crosses the border has been upgraded and, according to a State Department official, there is no limit on the permitted capacity of Line 3, which was approved decades ago.

Enbridge told the State Department that it plans to put 800,000 barrels per day across the border through Line 3 and back on to Line 67 once it gets needed approvals for pumping upgrades, which it calls Phase II, from state regulators and the Army Corps of Engineers:

The interconnections will also provide Enbridge with the operational flexibility to transport crude oil in the range of 800,000 bpd of oil on Line 67 south of the Line 3 interconnection through the construction and operation of the Phase II Pump Upgrades.

As Reuters and other outlets reported, the strategy has riled environmental groups, which say the increased capacity should be reviewed by the presidential permitting process. The State Department said it will conduct an environmental review of the entire Line 67 project, but that is not slowing Enbridge’s plans for expanding capacity.



By Randy Leonard Posted at 10:14 a.m.
Oil, Transportation

August 19, 2014

EPA Aims to Get Half the Waxman-Markey Carbon Cuts

carboncut1 445x424 EPA Aims to Get Half the Waxman Markey Carbon Cuts
Regulations could obtain half the carbon reductions that were envisioned under a congressional measure that fell apart in 2009, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis. Full story

August 15, 2014

USEC Maintains Involvement in Centrifuge Project

Test Stand Photo 2 445x557 USEC Maintains Involvement in Centrifuge Project

Workers test a centrifuge (USEC)

The financially troubled company that had been bumped from managing the American Centrifuge Project, USEC Inc., expects to remain involved in the facility until March and possibly into September of 2015. Full story

August 13, 2014

Capacitative Cannabis Gets High Wattage

73245308 445x296 Capacitative Cannabis Gets High Wattage

A cannabis plant grows in the Amsterdam Cannabis College.
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Researchers have developed nano-thin sheets of carbon from hemp fibers, which could be a very cheap replacement for graphene, which is used to make supercapacitors for energy storage applications.    Full story

August 12, 2014

Moniz Visits Troubled Nuclear Waste Site

WIPP Aerial View 0 445x333 Moniz Visits Troubled Nuclear Waste Site

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico (Energy Department)

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz is in New Mexico to visit the waste isolation pilot plant, known as WIPP, where radiation was released following an accident in February. Full story

August 8, 2014

China Doubles Solar Addition

146190046 445x296 China Doubles Solar Addition

Workers install solar panels near Tianjin. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)

In the first six months of this year, China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar power capacity, which is more capacity than Australia has, Bloomberg News reported. The addition, twice as much as  in the first half of last year, brings China’s total solar capacity to 23 gigawatts.

The news comes after China announced it had added 13 gigawatts of hydropower this year and plans to cut coal generation in Beijing to reduce air pollution.

The country’s energy administration hopes to install a total of 13 gigawatts of solar power this year, much of it in the form of distributed solar on consumers’ rooftops, Bloomberg reported.

By Randy Leonard Posted at 1:41 p.m.
Coal, Renewables

Getting Electric Vehicles to Talk with the Grid

Electric vehicles could provide smart grid services that have been handled by conventional power plants. Automakers and utility groups took a step forward last week in an effort to systematize the communication between a charging plug-in electric vehicle, or PEV, and grid operators. Full story

August 7, 2014

FERC Grants Expedited Process for Kentucky Hydro Project

ld11 2 445x333 FERC Grants Expedited Process for Kentucky Hydro Project

Kentucky River Lock and Dam 11 (Commonwealth of Kentucky)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week approved the use of a two-year licensing process for a hydropower project at a century-old dam on the Kentucky River. Full story

More Money for Geothermal Fracking

EGS Capture 445x299 More Money for Geothermal Fracking

(Capture from Energy Department animation)

The Energy Department will provide $18 million for 32 advanced geothermal research projects, it announced Wednesday. Full story

August 6, 2014

China Chills to Coal

474805443 445x296 China Chills to Coal

Tourist wearing masks at Tiananmen Square during severe pollution in February.
(Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Beijing will ban the use of coal in its six main districts by the end of 2020, state media said Monday, in effort to curb air pollution, according to Reuters: Full story

By Randy Leonard Posted at 1:49 p.m.

Moniz to Visit Waste Isolation Plant

5 30 Image 5 445x250 Moniz to Visit Waste Isolation Plant

A worker takes a sample in May in Room 7 of the Waste Isolation Pilot Project
(Energy Department)

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz will visit a nuclear waste dump in New Mexico next week and take part in a town hall meeting, the department announced.

Full story

August 5, 2014

Analyst: Solar to Lose Tax Credit Training Wheels

solar 445x282 Analyst: Solar to Lose Tax Credit Training Wheels

U.S. President Barack Obama (L) tours a solar power site with Col. Howard Belote (C) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, at Nellis Air Force Base in May 2009.
(Photo by John Locher-Pool/Getty Images)

The utility-scale solar power market in the United States is expected to falter in the next couple of years, contracting when the investment tax credit is no longer renewed, before expanding as a viable market, according to Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Full story

Fuel Cells (Still) on the Rise

Though often scorned because they haven’t materialized as the energy-cure-all they were supposed to be, fuel cells have been getting a lot of recent attention, both as a power source for vehicles and for use in stationary backup power generation. Full story

August 4, 2014

Skirting Keystone XL Pipeline

81436105 445x288 Skirting Keystone XL Pipeline

An oil tanker passes up the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish June 2008.
(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

As the Keystone XL pipeline lingers in legal limbo, companies are finding new ways beyond rail to move tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada to refiners in the Gulf Coast and elsewhere. Full story

By Randy Leonard Posted at 3:39 p.m.
Oil, Transportation

Producing Pee Power

Ioannis Ieropoulos and his team at Bristol Robotics Laboratory are studying how to produce electricity from urine, The Economist reports. Full story

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