Houston Chronicle: BP buries a dagger into the heart of the oil industry

Sept. 15 — The London-based energy company is not the first to plunge a dagger into the back of the oil industry. Royal Dutch Shell predicted in 2018 that oil demand would peak in the late 2020s. Smaller industry forecasters have also made similar predictions.

— Houston Chronicle


Platts: Hydrogen study in Texas aims at showing cost-effectiveness of fuel

Sept. 16 — Frontier Energy, in collaboration with 10 partners including GTI and The University of Texas at Austin, announced Sept. 15 the launch of three-year projects that are meant to show that renewable hydrogen can be a cost-effective fuel for multiple end-use applications.

— Platts


Platts: Xcel’s Southwestern Public Service coal mix rises to 26.9% in July

Sept. 14 — The utility, a subsidiary of Xcel Energy, told the Public Utility Commission of Texas it burned over $14.84 million worth of Powder River Basin coal in July at its 1,018-MW Harrington coal-fired power plant in Amarillo and its 1,067-MW Tolk Station in Muleshoe, up from $7.59 million worth of coal burned in June, which made up 15.5% of the generation mix.

— Platts


Reform Austin (Commentary): Climate Change, the Texas Railroad Commission, and the Election

Sept. 14 — Texas is changing, and there is a growing interest among Texans for elected officials to tackle climate change. According to Climate Nexus, 70 percent of Texans want their state government to do more about climate change. This shift is driven by a growing young and diverse coalition of voters. Youth voting was up 500 percent from 2014-2018. From 2002-12, 800,000 new voters were added to the voter rolls; in the last four years, 2.1 million voters have been added.

— Reform Austin


Clean Technica: 47 US States Could Meet 100% Of Electricity Needs Using In-State Renewables

Sept. 14 — In 2010, ILSR published the first national overview of state renewable electricity potential with the second edition of Energy Self-Reliant States (ESRS). At the time, only 32 states met the “self-reliant” standard and most states were setting ambitious goals to attain 25 percent renewable electricity. Now, several states and over 100 U.S. cities have made truly ambitious commitments to 100 percent renewable power.

— Clean Technica


Houston Chronicle: Job losses mount in renewable, efficient energy

Sept. 15 — The portion of the energy industry that focuses on efficiency and renewables had great expectations last year that its better than usual growth rate would continue to propel the segment forward. But the industry, which includes renewable energy, energy efficiency, grid modernization and electric vehicles, is struggling with many of the same problems as its fossil fuel cousin as the coronavirus pandemic spreads.

— Houston Chronicle


E&E News: Lawsuits, fines dog candidate for Texas oil regulator

Sept. 15 — Jim Wright, the Republican candidate for the Texas Railroad Commission, said he’s not responsible for the environmental problems at the site, which happened after he sold the business six years ago. He said his Democratic opponent is exaggerating the case for political gain, and the episode shows the need to reform the Railroad Commission.

— E&E News


S&P Global: Wholesale power sales in Q2 fall 4.5% on year; wind and solar make up 7.1% of total

Sept. 15 — The brunt of the coronavirus pandemic and attendant stay-at-home policies hit power demand hard in the second quarter of 2020, with sales of wholesale power off 4.5% compared with the same period last year, and totaling 1.27 billion MWh. In Q2 2019, wholesale power sales totaled 1.33 billion MWh. The Q2 2020 sales total was the lowest since Q1 2017.

— S&P Global


GreenTech Media: The Race Is On to Build the Biggest Batteries in Texas

Sept. 15 — Developer-owner-operator Broad Reach Power confirmed Tuesday that it has commenced construction on a pair of 100-megawatt batteries, each of which is bigger than any battery plants currently operating in Texas’ ERCOT power market. They are slated to come online next year in Mason and Williamson counties, alongside 15 smaller systems rated at 10 megawatts/10 megawatt-hours each. 

— GreenTech Media


Utility Dive: FERC reverses 40 years of PURPA precedent in ruling on small solar definition, punts on storage question

Sept. 14 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied qualifying facility (QF) status to a facility in Montana with a net capacity of 80 MW of solar power, the legal threshold a facility must meet to qualify as a small power production facility, asserting that because its gross capacity is 160 MW, it does not meet the legal threshold for a QF. Its order is a departure from precedent set by FERC in its 1981 case Occidental Geothermal, Inc., which determined a facility’s eligibility under PURPA should be based on net capacity.

— Utility Dive


CBS DFW: Texas’ Moratorium On Electricity Shutoffs Comes To An End In October

Sept. 11 — In addition to providing a temporary moratorium on electricity service disconnections, the program also provided bill payment assistance to Texas residents enrolled in the program totaling more than $30 million as of July 31.



KPRC: Insider shares strategy for lowering your electric bill

Sept. 11 — Electricity prices just dropped this week, and they will keep getting lower as we begin to cool down. Prices are always highest in the summer because electricity is in such high demand. Right now, you can find rates for just under 8 cents a kilowatt.



Coppell Gazette: Utility rates to increase in Coppell

Sept. 13 — Tuesday the Coppell City Council OK’d a resolution that approves a negotiated settlement between Atmos Energy Corporation, Mid-Tex Division, and the Atmos Cities Steering Committee, of which Coppell is a part.

— Coppell Gazette


Waco Tribune-Herald: Waco-area news briefs: Atmos plans flaring of gas pipeline

Sept. 12 — Atmos Energy crews and contractors will oversee a controlled flaring of natural gas Sunday through Tuesday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, at 2901 Marlin Highway. This process, which will result in a large, controlled flame and moderate noise, allows the company to work on a section of natural gas pipeline in the area as part of routine maintenance operations.

— Waco Tribune-Herald


Clean Technica: A Red State Goes Green — Why Texas Is Adding So Much Solar

Sept. 13 — California has a lot more solar installed (27.9 GW versus 4.6 GW) and has to worry about the duck curve, while Texas has very little solar, so energy produced at midday on sunny days is still very valuable, because those sunny days also increase air conditioning demand, which means the increased power comes exactly when it is most needed. According to this report published 3 days ago by the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie (sponsor of the Energy Gang Podcast that started me down this rabbit hole), while California added over twice as much solar PV as Texas in 2019, Texas is installing 50% more this year.

— Clean Technica


Murphy Monitor: New model introduced for city power needs

Sept. 10 — Murphy City Council last week approved a professional services agreement with Texas Coalition for Affordable Power that employs a new model for purchasing electricity through a constant process of contracting with wholesale providers.

— Murphy Monitor


Bloomberg: BP, Shell Urge Texas Regulator to End Routine Gas Flaring

Sept. 10 — Last week, investors managing more than $2 trillion asked the commission to end routine gas flaring by 2025. AllianceBernstein, California State Teachers’ Retirement System and Legal & General Investment Management said the actions of leading operators “demonstrate the financial and technical viability” of their proposal.

— Bloomberg


Houston Chronicle: Houston power trader loses pricing fight against ERCOT

Sept. 11 — Aspire Commodities asked the commission to force ERCOT to reprice electricity trades made last year that sent wholesale prices soaring from $37 a megawatt hour to the state maximum of $9,000 per megawatt hour after a Calpine employee mistakenly indicated the company had taken about 4,000 megawatts of generation capacity — enough to power some 800,000 Texas homes — offline when they were in fact still operating.

— Houston Chronicle


Utility Dive: FERC details carbon pricing conference as groups blast renewables, consumer and women exclusions

Sept. 9 — Critics of the lineup say leaving consumer advocates and states out of the discussion is a misstep — for one thing, it won’t help mounting state and federal tensions over wholesale market policy, said Jeff Dennis, managing director and general counsel for Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), one of the stakeholders that requested FERC convene the discussion.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: For nuclear plants operating on thin margins, growing climate risks prompt tough choices

Sept. 10 — As the single-largest carbon-free source of electricity, nuclear power often plays a big part in plans to decarbonize energy. Many policymakers insist that nuclear must be part of any solution to avoid the worst consequences of climate change over the coming decades.

— Utility Dive


S&P Global: Host of energy issues hang in the balance in down-ticket races

Sept. 8 — The 2020 election cycle has the potential to reshape energy and environmental issues across the federal landscape and state lines. Much of the national discussion has focused on the presidential race between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, but voters will face a host of ballot choices that will influence the power, gas and oil markets for years to come.

— S&P Global


Houston Chronicle (Commentary): Americans don’t support fossil fuel industry leaders running climate policy

Sept. 10 — While President Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp in Washington, D.C., our government agencies are run by executives from the industries they are supposed to regulate. The results are clear — attacks on environmental laws, more pollution and a worsening climate crisis. That is exactly why we are demanding that Joe Biden stop this if he is elected.

— Houston Chronicle


Houston Chronicle: Texans escape high power prices of last summer

Households are paying an average rate of 8.5 cents per kilowatt hour for a 12-month fixed rate plan, according to the electricity shopping site Texas Power Guide. Consumers were paying about the same a year ago until wholesale prices regularly hit the $9, 000 per megawatt hour maximum during an extended stretch of triple-digit temperatures in August 2019.

— Houston Chronicle


Beaumont Enterprise: BP enters offshore wind market in latest move away from oil and gas

Sept. 10 — The British oil major on Thursday said it has partnered with Norway-based Equinor to develop four offshore wind projects off the coast of New York and Massachusetts that together will generate enough electricity to power more than 2 million homes. The partnership will be BP’s first offshore wind venture, and will help the company toward its goal of developing 50 gigawatts of renewable power by 2030.

— Beaumont Enterprise


Washington Examiner (Commentary): California can take lessons from Texas on how to fix rolling blackouts

Sept. 8 — The self-destructive attitude exhibited in California is puzzling, especially from Texas. Despite the image of the Lone Star State as the center of the fossil fuel industry, it has not ignored renewable energy. Texas, not California, is the biggest generator of wind power. Wind farms dot the plains of northern and western Texas, providing energy to the cities of Dallas and San Antonio to the east. Texas utility companies have started to dabble in solar energy.

— Washington Examiner


Bloomberg: Investment giants urge Texas to end most natural gas flaring

Sept. 4 — Investors managing more than $2 trillion are calling on Texas regulators to ban the routine burning of natural gas from shale fields, arguing that the energy industry hasn’t moved quickly enough to curb the controversial practice.

— Bloomberg


Odessa American: Texas’ largest solar plant comes online

Sept. 6 — Enel Green Power, a part of Enel Group, is based in Andover, Massachusetts and is a leading owner and operator of renewable energy plants with a presence in 18 U.S. states and one Canadian province. The company has more than 70 plants across North America, including hydroelectric, wind, solar and geothermal. Ongoing construction projects in the U.S. and Canada include another solar storage project in Texas and wind projects in Missouri, North Dakota and Kansas.

— Odessa American


Houston Chronicle: Batteries begin storing wind and solar energy for the Texas grid

Sept. 7 — Conventional wisdom maintains that wind and solar power depend on affordable energy storage, and until battery prices drop, the United States will rely on natural gas and coal-fired power plants.

— Houston Chronicle


Utility Dive: US energy storage posts second-largest quarter, with more growth expected as COVID-19 recedes

Sept. 8 — COVID-19 triggered a slowdown in commercial and industrial installations, but residential growth remains strong in California and Hawaii as a result of incentives and resiliency programs.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Biden presidency could decarbonize US power sector by 2035, Trump win would delay past 2050, according to report

Sept. 2 — While Biden’s plan could accelerate decarbonization, other experts say forces outside the control of the president have put the U.S. power sector on a course for dramatic emissions reduction.

— Utility Dive


Midland Reporter-Telegram (Commentary): Diverse resources and stable energy policies will get Texas economy back on track

Sept. 7 — Our oil and gas industry serves us well, and it will for years to come. Texas is also adapting and diversifying, adding emissions reduction technologies to make traditional fuels more sustainable, while growing renewable energy to bring additional economic opportunities to rural communities and zero-emission affordable power to consumers and industry. In this time of economic and societal strain, the energy sector looks to our state government for a stable and reliable business environment, one in which capital investments can be made to drive our economic recovery.

— Midland Reporter-Telegram


ERO Insider: Texas PUC Hires Cybersecurity Monitor

Sept. 8 — The Texas PUC hired SCIS as its cybersecurity monitor to develop an outreach program to promote better cyber and physical security for the state’s electricity industry.

— ERO Insider


Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Natural gas drilling in Fort Worth area cities is back in a big way. Why now?

Sept. 1 — The boom’s legacy looms large in the minds of residents and industry analysts as French energy giant Total plans to expand its fracking operations in Tarrant County. Over the course of the summer, Total’s Fort Worth branch, TEP Barnett, received approval from the Railroad Commission of Texas to drill 26 new wells in Fort Worth, Arlington, White Settlement and North Richland Hills.

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram


KVEQ: Electric Reliability Council of Texas issues Transmission Emergency

Sept. 1 — Reducing energy consumption is critical, especially during the peak hours of 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., said the press release.



KSST Radio: Sulphur Springs City Council Meeting Includes ACSC Settlement 

Sept. 1 — The agenda calls for discussion and potential action on resolution for the annual review of the investment policy as required by the Public Funds Investment Act; authorizing funding for Sulphur River Basin Authority; and approving a negotiated settlement between Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy Corporation, Med Texas Division, regarding the company’s 2020 rate revision mechanism filing.



KSAT: 4 tips on how to conserve energy with electronics

Sept. 2 — Here are four tips from the energy provider on how you can potentially save money on your energy bill by conserving energy with electronics.



The Guardian: Only one in 10 utility firms prioritise renewable electricity

Aug. 31 — Only one in 10 of the world’s electric utility companies are prioritising investment in clean renewable energy over growing their capacity of fossil fuel power plants, according to research from the University of Oxford.

— The Guardian


Vast Grid Damage Will Leave Laura Victims in Dark for Weeks

Aug. 31 — Parts of Louisiana will be without power for weeks after Hurricane Laura caused “catastrophic” damage to the region’s grid, mangling steel transmission towers and snapping utilities poles as if they were twigs.

— Bloomberg



Houston Chronicle: Electric vehicles solve some pollution problems, but not all

Aug 31 — Many people remain skeptical about electric vehicles, questioning their environmental impact. Does the world have enough raw materials? Won’t old batteries generate pollution? Are EVs charged with non-renewable energy just as damaging?

— Houston Chronicle


KETK-TV: Thousands of East Texans still without power and water

Aug. 31 — After Hurricane Laura, thousands of people in East Texas lost water and power.

Southwestern Electric Power Company, Oncor and Deep East Texas Electric Co Op have reported that there are still thousands of homes without power.



Alice Echo News-Journal:  WC man could be first South Texas statewide elected official in almost 20 years

Aug. 31 — An Orange Grove rancher who owns oil and gas related businesses in Robstown, and grew up in Nueces County, could become the first statewide elected official from South Texas in almost 20 years.

— Alice Echo News-Journal


KXXV: State, cities begin phasing out COVID-19 help

Aug. 31 — The Texas Public Utility Commission says with more Texans going back to work, it will end its assistance program.



Utility Dive: As utility collaboration with charging companies rises, emerging differences could impede EV growth

Aug. 31 — To accelerate EV charging infrastructure deployment, former competitors are working together, but new questions threaten to lead to dissension.

— Utility Dive

Forbes: Bill Gates’ Nuclear Startup Unveils Mini-Reactor Design Including Molten Salt Energy Storage

Aug. 31 — Nuclear power is the Immovable Object of generation sources. It can take days just to bring a nuclear plant completely online, rendering it useless as a tool to manage the fluctuations in the supply and demand on a modern energy grid.

— Forbes


RTO Insider: Texas Escapes Disaster, PUC Ends COVID Program

Aug. 30 — The Texas PUC approved a timeline for winding down its COVID-19 pandemic relief program, while the state escaped significant damage from Hurricane Laura.

— RTO Insider


Beaumont Enterprise: Entergy ends rolling blackouts in Texas

Aug. 28 — The company, which provides power to areas north of Houston in The Woodlands and in east Texas including Beaumont and Port Arthur, is no longer asking its Texas customers to reduce their use of electricity.

— Beaumont Enterprise


Texas Tribune: Nearly 600,000 Texans will lose access to a program that prevented electricity shut-offs during the pandemic on Oct. 1

Aug. 27 — The Public Utility Commission, a state utility regulator, enacted the Electricity Relief Program in late March to provide relief to those facing financial insecurity due to the coronavirus, as thousands of Texans lost their jobs due to mandatory shutdowns. The commission’s jurisdiction doesn’t include parts of the state with city-owned utility companies, like Austin, which has a monopoly on electricity services, or regions that use cooperatives.

— Texas Tribune


Corridor News: Texas’ Electricity Resources: Where Power Comes From — And How It Gets To You

Aug. 28 — According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Texas, both produces and consumes more electricity than any other state. Texas’ abundant natural resources, including natural gas, coal, and wind, are readily available to fuel our power plants.

— Corridor News


Nueces County Record-Star: GOP candidate for state oil and gas regulatory agency faces fraud accusations

Aug. 26 — The Republican candidate running to join the Texas oil and gas regulatory agency has run afoul of state environmental rules and is embroiled in a series of lawsuits accusing him of fraud in the oil patch.

— Nueces County Record-Star


Utility Dive: Utilities face growing ransomware threat as hackers improve strategy, execution

Aug. 26 — The energy industry faces an increasing threat from financially-motivated hackers. Experts say more companies are paying, and ransoms are rising.

— Utility Dive


Utility Dive: Digitization bolsters utility rate cases, boosts drive to future-proof

Aug. 21 — The continuing automation and digitization of the power sector now enables utilities to better justify spending plans and improve reliability as they prepare for new resources and electricity uses.

— Utility Dive


— E&E News


Platts: Black turbine blades reduced bird mortality by 72%

Aug. 25 — Painting one of a wind turbine’s three blades black led to a dramatic decline in bird mortality along the Norwegian coast, new research shows.

— Platts


Platts: Thousands of workers prepare to restore service after Hurricane Laura hits

Aug. 25 — More than 9,000 people are preparing to help restore service from Hurricane Laura during the week, area utilities said Aug. 25, and updated load forecasts indicate expectations of lower power demand if Laura hits the Louisiana-Texas Gulf Coast as a major hurricane as predicted by the National Hurricane Center.

— Platts


KHOU: Centerpoint Energy activates emergency response ahead of Hurricane Laura

Aug. 25 — Centerpoint Energy has activated its emergency response plan and opened up its command center. The company knows well what hurricane winds can do.



KSAT: How you can help make a difference on high-energy demand days

Aug. 24 — According to CPS Energy, high-energy demand days are a few days each summer when demand for electricity is highest, and they typically occur from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on very hot days.



Dallas Morning News (Commentary): Texas oil and gas regulators offer a weak fix to flaring

Aug. 25 — After months of promising talk about curbing the oil and gas industry’s wasteful and polluting flaring habit, the Texas Railroad Commission unveiled a plan that does little to fix the problem. Despite calls from mineral owners, the public and even some in the industry itself to end to routine flaring, the commission instead embraced largely empty measures advanced by an oil and gas trade group.

— Dallas Morning News



Houston Chronicle: Oil and gas companies jump into action ahead of Hurricane Laura

Aug. 24 — Oil and gas companies are bracing for what could be a major hurricane as the storm entered the Gulf of Mexico late Monday, threatening the nation’s largest concentration of refineries, petrochemical plants and offshore platforms.

— Houston Chronicle


Platts: Storms threaten Gulf Coast power system, but load forecasts, prices stay firm

Aug. 24 — As tropical storms Marco and Laura drench the central and western Gulf Coast with high winds and rain this week, tens of thousands of power customers could lose service, which would tend to sap power demand and day-ahead prices, but load forecasts and pricing were not reflecting the storms’ potential impact on Aug. 24.

— Platts


Platts: Pattern Energy to build its first solar project in Texas in ERCOT North Zone

Aug. 24 — Pattern Energy, which owns over 870 MW of wind generation in Texas, has closed on the financing of its first solar project in the state, a 105 MWdc unit to be located in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas market’s North Zone whose output will be sold to a real estate trust company’s data center.

— Platts


CleanTechnica: New Energy Storage “Water Battery” Breakthrough

Aug. 24 — For all the excitement over the next big thing in lithium-ion batteries, the simple fact is that plain old water is the only large scale, long duration energy storage medium available today in the US and in many other parts of the world. The challenge is that water batteries — aka pumped hydropower — require expensive new infrastructure, which limits their application. That could be about to change, and it looks like the US Department of Energy is determined to be the change maker.

— CleanTechnica


RTO Insider: ERCOT Transmission Constraints an Emerging Issue

Aug. 25 — Renewable energy’s proliferation has played a key role in helping ERCOT meet demand, but it is also beginning to cause transmission constraints.

— RTO Insider

WFAA: Documents reveal new details about 2018 gas explosion that killed 12-year-old girl

AUG. 21 — An ongoing federal investigation into natural gas leaks that led to an explosion that killed a 12-year-old Dallas girl has uncovered discrepancies between what an Atmos Energy consultant concluded and federal test results, according to a WFAA review.



KMID: Renewable energy powering rural Texas economies

Aug. 21 — If all projects with interconnection agreements are built, existing and planned utility-scale wind and solar projects will pay between $8.1 billion and $10 billion in total tax revenue over their lifetimes.



S&P Global: How Texas’ energy policies are working to shape ERCOT’s energy transition

Aug. 21 — Amy Gasca, Manan Ahjua and Mark Watson of S&P Global Platts talk with Brett Perlman, CEO of the Center for Houston’s Future and ex-Public Utility Commissioner of Texas, about the state’s energy policies and the energy transition.

— S&P Global


Platts: Permian gas production rebound stalls

Aug. 20 — In August, Permian output is averaging 11.2 Bcf/d, down about 300 MMcf/d compared with its July average, S&P Global Platts Analytics data shows.

— Platts