Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
January 29, 2015

Posts in "Technology"

January 26, 2015

Biden and Moniz Push Island Energy Overhaul

US Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Amos J. Hochstein, US State Department international energy coordinator, talk before the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative meeting Monday.      (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

US Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Amos J. Hochstein, State Department international energy coordinator, talk at the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative meeting Monday. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz met Monday with Caribbean leaders and global financial organizations to promote development of alternative energy sources for island communities. Full story

Company Pins Solar Plant Fate on Congress

The potential reality of the Palen solar plant depends on whether lawmakers will extend or alter the investment tax credit. Full story

This Week: Keystone Vote, Oil Prices and EPA Regs

There’s no shortage of energy events this week. The Senate is scheduled to continue Keystone XL pipeline votes Monday and the House is expected to consider legislation to expedite exports of liquefied natural gas.  Full story

January 21, 2015

The Deal With Moniz’ Hair

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz to be on NPR radio show. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz to be on NPR radio show. (BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

Those who have been familiar with him for years, even those who have just heard him address a congressional panel or an audience of scientists, know that there is far more to Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz than his hair. He’s an MIT physicist and is known for charming Republicans and Democrats alike. Full story

January 20, 2015

This Week: Keystone, SOTU & Outlooks

Here are the week’s energy events. Full story

January 9, 2015

ICYMI: Keystone, Oil & Demand Response

The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a state law that was the basis for the Keystone Pipeline XL route through that state. The case was the main factor the State Department had identified in delaying a decision on the pipeline. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 13-9 Thursday to recommend legislation approving the pipeline (subscription). Full story

January 8, 2015

QER Eyes Strategic Reserve and Waterways

(NOAA)

(NOAA)

Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz said that problems with inland waterways and the strategic petroleum reserve are among the top infrastructure issues identified in the Quadrennial Energy Review. Full story

January 7, 2015

Demand Response Part II – Roadblocks

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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff outlined the successes and roadblocks of state and regional demand response programs in a recent annual report. While demand response programs have made progress, there are potential snags and recent efforts to overcome them. Full story

FERC Outlines CO2 Talk

(Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

(Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission laid out the agenda for next month’s technical conference on EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan. Full story

January 6, 2015

FERC Outlines Demand Response Success – Part 1

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff outlined the successes and roadblocks of state and regional demand response programs in a recent report. In this first post we’ll focus on the success. Full story

December 17, 2014

But Wait, Advanced Fast Reactors Are Already Here

(International Atomic Energy Agency)

Construction of the Kalpakkam fast reactor in India.  (International Atomic Energy Agency)

The New York Times had a forward-looking piece on the development of advanced nuclear reactors that gives an interesting overview of the status of technology in the United States, citing ongoing research at places like Argonne National Laboratory as the groundwork for eventual development of advanced reactors:

… if the world decides in the 2030s and 2040s that it is time to deploy a new fleet of reactors, those will be based on work done in the few labs like this over the next decade, experts predict.

That leaves out one salient point: Russia and India have built large advanced fast reactors. Full story

December 15, 2014

Capturing CO2 with Fuel Cells

Using the gas separating properties of fuel cells, a Connecticut company is developing technology to add carbon dioxide capturing capabilities to power plants, which it says could provide an economic way to meet EPA’s proposed power plant regulations. The process, developed by FuelCell Energy using a $2.5 million grant from the Energy Department, would also provide additional power generation to reduce the ratio of a coal plant’s carbon dioxide to kilowatts, the New York Times reported:

In FuelCell’s design, a coal plant adds a fuel cell unit next to its smokestack, and the fuel cell soaks up the carbon dioxide and adds power to overall output. Some energy is used — the demonstration unit here would produce eight kilowatts, enough for a midsize commercial air-conditioner, but in carbon capture mode makes only about six kilowatts — but the loss is more manageable than drawing energy from the coal plant for conventional carbon capture.

The process also unexpectedly breaks down nitrogen oxide emissions, a pollutant that is regulated directly and contributes to ozone pollution. The company’s next step is to build a full-sized demonstration facility at an operating coal power plant.

Moniz, van der Hoeven & Moniz

Following Thursday’s nail-bitter as the omnibus bill squeaked through the House, the Senate cleared the bill late Saturday over the objections of more than 20 Democrats. The Senate is around this week to wrap up nominations and potentially clear a package of tax extensions including a break for wind energy. Here’s what else is going on as the holidays approach: Full story

December 12, 2014

ICYMI: Omnibus, Ozone and Mexico

The Senate will consider the House-passed omnibus spending package as soon as today, but lawmakers would need procedural agreements to expedite the process before Monday. The measure includes $34.2 billion for energy and water programs but it would dole out no additional funds for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. The bill would include $345 million and a requirement to continue construction on the mixed oxide plutonium facility. Appropriators also tucked in a provision to throw a $97 million lifeline to the troubled American Centrifuge Project. Full story

December 10, 2014

FERC to Consult on CO2 Regs

The Appalachian Electric Power coal-fired Big Sandy power plant, seen in June. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

The Appalachian Electric Power coal-fired Big Sandy power plant, seen in June. (Luke Sharrett/Getty Images)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has scheduled a series of technical conferences to confer with those involved in the EPA’s proposed regulations for carbon dioxide, known as the Clean Power Plan. Full story

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