Energy

The Keystone XL debate is highly partisan — unless you live near the proposed pipeline route

Our mental snapshot of the politics of the Keystone XL pipeline is pretty straightforward — Republicans and most independents want it built; so do some Democrats, but most Democrats and the environmental left are opposed. A new study in Energy Policy, though, suggests that this assumption about pipeline politics mainly holds on the national level — but not so much locally. Rather, the research finds, as you get closer to living near the proposed pipeline route, liberals and conservatives look less different in their views — and liberals as a whole become more in favor of the pipeline.

GOP chairwoman to sponsor bill to lift oil export ban

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said she will introduce a bill this year to end the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil. Murkowski, chairwoman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told energy executives Monday that the ban is severely holding U.S. producers back, Reuters reported.

White House tightens oil-drilling rules as BP spill anniversary nears

Five years after the country’s worst maritime petroleum spill, the Obama administration took steps Monday to tighten regulations for offshore oil rigs, saying the new measures would help prevent oil-well blowouts and minimize environmental damage from future leaks. The proposals announced by the Interior Department would substantially overhaul the technical guidelines for drilling on the U.S. continental shelf, adding dozens of new requirements aimed mostly at stopping high-pressure undersea wells from blowing their tops.

Obama touts ambitious solar jobs initiative in conservative Utah

Obama made his first visit to Utah as he pushed his argument to increase federal spending levels in next year’s budget in the face of GOP opposition on Capitol Hill. The president visited a field of solar panels here as the Department of Energy announced it will seek to train 75,000 people — including veterans — to enter the solar workforce by 2020, increasing the goal it set in May 2014 by 25,000 workers.

The Department of Energy Invites Nominations for the 2015 Ernest Orlando Lawrence and Enrico Fermi Awards

The Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award is bestowed by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy to mid-career scientists and engineers in recognition of exceptional scientific, technical, and/or engineering achievements related to the broad missions of the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs. The Enrico Fermi Award is one of the longest running and most prestigious science and technology awards given by the US Government. The award recognizes outstanding contributions and achievements that are particularly distinguished and demonstrate scientific, technical, management or policy leadership that are related to all basic and applied research, science, and technology supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and its programs.

Virginia Receives First Offshore Wind Energy Research Lease in Federal Waters

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Commonwealth of Virginia announced on March 24 that they have signed the first lease for offshore wind energy research in federal waters. Under this lease, Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy proposes to design, develop, and demonstrate a grid-connected, 12-megawatt (MW) wind test facility off the coast of Virginia, adjacent to the Virginia Wind Energy Area.

Energy Department Offers Conditional Loan to Alcoa for Automotive Sector

“Alcoa’s innovative, high-strength aluminum solutions are leading the light weighting revolution now happening in the automotive industry,” said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Alcoa is pleased to be part of the government’s program to encourage a greater shift to aluminum intensive vehicles that are safer, lighter and more fuel-efficient.”

California’s Clean Energy Growing Faster Than Ability To Store It.

California's electrical grid has a problem -- a nice problem, but a problem nonetheless: The state often has too much power. Nearly 23 percent of California's energy now comes from renewable sources such as wind and solar, and the state is on track to reach its goal of generating one-third of its energy from renewables by 2020. But feeding all that green energy into the Golden State's grid -- without overloading it -- has become a major challenge.

NASA’s Crazy 18-Engine Electric Concept Plane Could Be the Future of Flying

NASA is testing an experimental 31-foot aircraft wing with 18 electric motors placed along the leading edge. The wing is made of carbon composite, while the electric engines are powered by lithium iron phosphate batteries. NASA says the unusual setup, called Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech), could result in more energy-efficient and greener aircraft.

Solar could meet California energy demand three to five times over

California has about 6.7 million acres (27, 286 square kilometers) of land that is compatible for photovoltaic solar construction and about 1.6 million acres (6,274 square kilometers) compatible for concentrating solar power. There is also an additional 13.8 million acres (55,733 square kilometers) that is potentially compatible for photovoltaic solar energy development with minimal environmental impact and 6.7 million acres (27,215 square kilometers) also potentially compatible for concentrating solar power development.

Energy Department Projects U.S. Could Get To 35 Percent Wind Power By 2050

The amount of wind power in the U.S. is already on the uptick, with wind representing 30 percent of newly installed electricity-generating capacity in the period from 2009 to 2013. In the "Wind Vision" report, the Department of Energy projects that the country could do even more going forward by installing up to 11 gigawatts of new wind-generating capacity each year between now and the middle of the century. That would bring the U.S. to 400 total gigawatts of such capacity installed across the country -- enough power for 100 million homes, according to the Energy Department's estimates.

Senate fails to override Obama's veto of Keystone XL approval

The U.S. Senate failed on Wednesday to override President Obama's veto of legislation approving the Keystone XL oil pipeline, leaving the controversial project to await an administration decision on whether to permit or deny it. Republican Senator John Hoeven said pipeline backers will try again to force Obama's hand, by attaching Keystone approval to another bill this year.

The U.S. Will Spend $5 Billion On Energy Research In 2015 – Where Is It Going?

Approximately 10 percent is designated for fossil fuels. Of that roughly $500 million allocation very little actually goes to oil and gas research – only 5 percent, or $25 million. Instead, more than 70 percent is appropriated to coal and carbon sequestration research. The DOE’s clean coal R&D is focused on increasing overall system efficiencies, developing carbon utilization and storage technologies for existing and new facilities, as well as reducing the capital cost of all of the above.

Some Dems prepared to override Obama's veto

Some Senate Democrats are already saying they will vote to override President Obama's veto of legislation authorizing the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) will vote to override Obama’s veto, according to aides, and it’s possible that several other Democrats will follow suit. Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said the "Senate will soon vote on an override" of the veto, with the action coming "not later than March the 3rd."

Apple Is Forming an Auto Team

Many of Apple’s newer employees have come from companies that specialize in battery and automotive technologies. Apple has hired many engineers from A123 Systems, Tesla and Toyota to work on advanced battery technologies. Apple’s hiring spree of automotive experts more recently accelerated as the company’s plans came into sharper focus, according to a lawsuit filed this month in Massachusetts federal court.

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