Energy Guardian Photo

DOE prepares $4B for second round of energy loan guarantees

The Energy Department moved on Wednesday to round out its plan to put billions of dollars in unused federal loan guarantee authority into the marketplace, as it looks past losses that raised political controversy.

The department released a draft solicitation for $4 billion in loans for cutting-edge renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. New approvals would be the first for green energy projects since the department approved 26 projects worth $24 billion in President Barack Obama's first term.

ND gov. signals possible legal challenge to EPA carbon rules for power plants

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Wednesday signaled a potential legal challenge to proposed federal rules aimed at cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants and oil refineries.

"We cannot jump to a much higher standard for CO2 overnight," the Republican governor told representatives from more than 20 states and companies that own utilities and power plants. "It simply is not possible. It's not attainable, and we will fight that with every tool that we have available."

NC governor proposes new coal ash plan after spill

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's governor says he will propose new legislation aimed at strengthening government oversight of coal ash dumps following the massive spill at a Duke Energy plant that coated 70 miles of the Dan River in toxic sludge.

Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday his plan would result in the "conversion or closure" of the dumps and close legal loopholes that allowed Duke to avoid cleaning up groundwater contamination leaching from its 33 unlined ash pits clustered at 14 coal-fired power plants across the state.

SC seeks ruling in nuclear fuel funding lawsuit

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina has asked a federal judge to rule in the state's favor in a lawsuit seeking to keep viable a nuclear reactor fuel project at the Savannah River Site near Aiken.

In court papers filed earlier this week, Attorney General Alan Wilson and other attorneys for the state asked for a decision without a trial.

Maine Senate sustains veto of solar rebate bill

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Maine Senate failed to muster enough support Wednesday to revive a bill that would have restored a program that provides rebates for residents and businesses who install solar panels.

Despite strong support in the Democratic-led House earlier this week, the effort to overturn Republican Gov. Paul LePage's veto fell two votes short of the two-thirds majority support it needed in the Senate, killing the bill as lawmakers make their way through the final days of the legislative session.

Energy state Dems in Senate races split from Obama

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Scrapping to keep a West Virginia Senate seat Democratic in a state that's sprinted to the right, Natalie Tennant is counting on her allegiance to the coal industry to separate herself from an unpopular President Barack Obama.

Her approach reflects common Democratic strategy and tactics this midterm election year in energy-producing states that lean Republican: Sen. Mary Landrieu is vying for a fourth term representing Louisiana; Alaska Sen. Mark Begich is running for re-election for the first time; and Kentucky Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes wants to replace Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. It's also the proven path for the man Tennant wants to replace — retiring Democrat Jay Rockefeller — and the state's other senator, Joe Manchin.

200 at meeting on Pennsylvania Shell plant plans

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) — A plan to build a huge new petrochemical plant in western Pennsylvania is making progress, Shell Oil Co. officials said Wednesday — but there's still no guarantee the multi-billion dollar project will actually be constructed.

That message of optimism and caution was stressed by company officials to about 200 people who showed up for the first of two public meetings regarding a proposed plant site about 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Oil

Puerto Rico probes oil spill in popular lagoon

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Authorities in Puerto Rico are investigating who caused a diesel spill they say has contaminated a popular lagoon in the U.S. territory's capital.

Officials are advising people not to bathe in the Condado Lagoon in San Juan.

The lagoon was one of the locations used for an Ironman triathlete event over the past weekend. It is also a popular spot for swimmers, kayakers and standup paddle boarders.

Office of Sen. Landrieu

Analysis: With Landrieu holding gavel, Louisiana to get the spotlight

Since taking the chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Mary Landrieu has said she will use the post to address issues in her home state of Louisiana, particularly jobs and revenue from oil and gas development.

On Tuesday, she made that plan abundantly clear in her first re-election ad. The ad proclaims that as chair "she holds the most powerful position in the Senate for the people of Louisiana."

Officials gather in ND to discuss new EPA rules

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Agency and industry representatives from about two dozen states are meeting in Bismarck to discuss new federal clean air rules.

The two-day summit begins Wednesday and is hosted by the state Health Department and Bismarck-based Basin Electric Power Cooperative.

Organizers say the intent is to decide how states should respond to new federal Environmental Protection Agency requirements aimed at cutting pollution from power plants and oil refineries.

Energy Future Holdings misses filing deadline

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Energy Future Holdings is still not ready to file its already delayed annual report, the company said in a filing Tuesday with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.

The decision not to submit the report places the Dallas-based company in breach of agreements with creditors for TXU Energy and Luminant, the largest power generator in Texas, and could be another step towards bankruptcy.

Russian economy slows amid Ukraine crisis

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia's economy minister says growth slowed to 0.8 percent in the first quarter due to uncertainty over the crisis in Ukraine.

Alexei Ulyukayev told parliament Wednesday that the situation had worsened because of "the acute international situation of the past two months," as well as "serious capital flight." More capital left the country in the first three months of 2014 than in all of 2013.

The figure fell far short of the ministry's earlier prediction of 2.5 percent growth.

Oil

Offshore rig taking on water but stable after wave

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — An offshore drilling rig is taking on water but is stable after being hit by a large storm wave off the Texas coast.

The U.S. Coast Guard says the rig was drilling for oil and gas in 3,000-foot depths around 10 a.m. Tuesday when the wave hit.

Congress is giving states the transportation blues

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — On the road in a tour bus this week, the U.S. transportation secretary is spreading some bad news: The government's Highway Trust Fund is nearly broke. If allowed to run dry, that could set back or shut down projects across the country, force widespread layoffs of construction workers and delay needed repairs and improvements.

Anthony Foxx kicked off an eight-state bus trip in Ohio to whip up public support for congressional approval of legislation to keep federal transportation aid flowing to states for another four years, and possibly longer. But Congress will have to act fast. The trust fund — the source of much of the aid — is forecast to essentially run dry sometime before the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30, and possibly as early as late August.

Schumer opens NY's new utility control center

RENSSELAER, N.Y. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has formally opened the state's new high-tech utility control center near Albany that aims to improve the efficiency of the state's electrical grid.

The Democrat attended the official opening of the $38 million center Tuesday. Known as the New York Independent System Operator Utility Control Center, the facility is intended to better coordinate electrical production with demand.

Jamaica grants license for natural gas project

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — A Hong Kong-based company has been granted a license for what would be a major new power project in Jamaica, the Caribbean island's energy minister announced Tuesday.

Phillip Paulwell said Energy World International is to supply 381 megawatts of natural gas-fired generating capacity for Jamaica's power grid. He called the project a "game changer" for the tropical country, which is almost entirely dependent on imported petroleum and diesel fuel.

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