Morning Consult Energy: U.S. Set to Stop Granting Sanctions Waivers for Iranian Oil

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  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to announce this morning that as of May 2, his department will stop giving 180-day waivers to eight countries importing Iranian crude or condensate oil, leaving those nations subject to U.S. sanctions if they continue to buy the oil, according to two State Department sources. The sources said that the decision’s disruption on oil markets will be minimal now that oil supply has overtaken demand and that Pompeo is also effecting offsets through agreements with other oil-producing countries, including Saudi Arabia. (The Washington Post)
  • Judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court of the District of Montana late on Friday said that the Interior Department under President Donald Trump did not adequately consider the environmental impacts of coal mining on public lands when it moved in 2017 to end an Obama-era moratorium on new coal mining in those areas. The legal decision does not reimpose the freeze on new leases but does require Interior to consider the environmental effects of new leases to mine coal on public land, and the judge said he will rule in the coming months on whether the ban should be reinstated. (The New York Times)
  • France-based Engie SA, which has been shedding oil and coal holdings for wind, solar and efficiency assets, is considering acquiring U.S. construction and facilities services company Emcor Group Inc., according to people familiar with the discussions, who said no final decision has been made and that the deal could still fall through. In 2018, Emcor, based in Norwalk, Conn., brought in about $8.1 billion in revenue. (Bloomberg)  

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States and cities seeking to maintain clean car standards
International Council on Clean Transportation

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Institute of World Politics Event on the New Dynamics of Energy Security 4:00 pm
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Strategic Programmatic Overview of the Fuel Facilities and the Nuclear Materials Users Business Lines 10:00 am
Columbia University Event: Women in Energy and Development: A Practitioner’s View 6:00 pm
Electric Power Conference and Exhibition
North American Carbon World
Utility Energy Forum
The National Capital Area Chapter of the United States Association for Energy Economics Annual Spring Conference 8:00 am
POLITICO Event on Disaster Relief in an Era of Extreme Weather 8:00 am
SEIA Codes & Standards Symposium 8:30 am
U.S. Energy Association and SPE International joint briefing on energy sustainability: the pride of the oil and gas industry 11:30 am
Environmental and Energy Study Institute Event on Hydropower: A New Look at Opportunities for America’s First Renewable Energy Resource 2:00 pm
University of Chicago Panel on Lower Emissions, Competitive Prices: Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver? 5:30 pm
North American Carbon World
California Solar Power Expo
Utility Energy Forum
Wilson Center Event on Ambitions Beyond Growth: Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the UN 10:00 am
Information Technology & Innovation Foundation Event on the End of the Road for Gas Taxes: The Case for Switching to Road User Charges 10:00 am
Nuclear Regulatory Commission open house on the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant Performance and Construction Inspection of New Units 6:00 pm
North American Carbon World
California Solar Power Expo
Utility Energy Forum
Global CCS Institute, Carbon Capture Coalition and Carbon Utilization Research Council Carbon Capture 101 Briefing 11:30 am
American Gas Association Natural Gas Roundtable Panel Discussion on the Resilience and Reliability of Natural Gas 12:00 pm
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Annual Member Meeting
Milken Institute Global Policy Conference
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Annual Member Meeting
Milken Institute Global Policy Conference
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Annual Member Meeting
Environmental and Energy Study Institute Event: What Can Congress Do to Build Better Buildings 2:00 pm
View full calendar

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Interior’s Bernhardt worked closely on matters he promised to avoid
Annie Snider, Politico

Bernhardt’s efforts, beginning in at least October 2017, included shaping the department’s response to a key portion of a water infrastructure law he had helped pass as a lobbyist for California farmers, recently released calendars show

Americans’ energy use surges despite climate change concern
Ellen Knickmeyer and Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press

Americans burned a record amount of energy in 2018, with a 10% jump in consumption from booming natural gas helping to lead the way, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says. Overall consumption of all kinds of fuels rose 4% year on year, the largest such increase in eight years, a report this week from the agency said. Fossil fuels in all accounted for 80% of Americans’ energy use.

Trump energy advisers key to Mueller investigation
Scott Waldman, E&E News

Those ties included one adviser who had worked with Russian intelligence officials and another whose interactions with foreign governments and claims about Hillary Clinton’s emails eventually kick-started an FBI investigation, according to special counsel Robert Mueller’s report looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Warren sets climate litmus test with call to ban drilling on public lands
Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner

While the Democratic field has embraced the ambition of the left-wing Green New Deal platform, candidates had provided few specifics on policies they’d support to combat climate change until Warren released her public land agenda.

Emails: Interior officials considered delaying report
Jennifer Yachnin, E&E News

Newly disclosed internal emails show senior Interior Department aides contemplated whether they could delay the release of a Fish and Wildlife Service study on “Americans’ relationship to nature” in 2017 over concerns the report could undermine President Trump’s order to review the boundaries of dozens of national monuments.

Oil hits 2019 high on U.S. plan to tighten squeeze on Iran
Alex Lawler, Reuters

Oil topped $74 a barrel on Monday, the highest since November, with the United States set to announce a further clampdown on Iranian oil exports, tightening global supplies.

Oil and Natural Gas

U.S. will fail to cut Iran oil exports to zero – ministry source to Tasnim agency
Staff, Reuters

The United States will fail to cut Iranian oil exports to zero, as Iran is ready for any U.S. decision to end waivers granted to buyers of Iranian crude, the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Monday quoted an unnamed Iranian oil ministry source as saying.

After LNG-project approvals, FERC chairman sees need for still more US LNG
Maya Weber, S&P Global Platts

A day after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved two more major US Gulf Coast LNG projects, the agency’s chairman was bullish Friday on the notion that even more US LNG is needed.

Reliance says not involved in any cash payment arrangement to Venezuela’s PDVSA for oil
Swati Bhat, Reuters

Reliance Industries denied involvement in any arrangements that lead to cash payments for oil supplies to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA via third parties, and said it is not in violation of any U.S. sanctions, according to a statement from India’s giant oil refining company on Saturday.

Aramco to buy Shell’s stake in Saudi refining JV for $631 million
Rania El Gamal, Reuters

The purchase, which is part of Aramco’s strategy to expand its downstream operations, will be completed later this year, they said in a joint statement.

Utilities and Infrastructure

Chatterjee Denies Lobbying Against FERC Nominee
Rich Heidorn Jr., RTO Insider

Chatterjee did not respond to E&E’s requests for comment before publication of the article. But in his regular news conference following the commission’s monthly open meeting Thursday, Chatterjee attempted to discredit the report.

Virginia adopts rule to cut carbon emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants
Jared Anderson, S&P Global Platts

In an effort to address climate change, the regulation is designed to cap emissions from 32 fossil fuel-fired power plants with more than 25 MW of generation capacity starting in 2020 and then require a 30% emissions reduction over the following 10 years. The regulation, when implemented, will set an initial cap of 28 million mt of CO2.

SCE says investors need bigger profits because of fire risks
Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times

The fallout from Pacific Gas & Electric’s bankruptcy is spreading to Southern California, where customers of the state’s second-largest electric utility could see their energy bills rise by $290 million a year — if federal officials allow the utility to reward shareholders with dramatically higher profits.


Nevada bill raising clean energy standard heads to Sisolak
The Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers in the state Assembly have roundly passed a bill requiring electricity companies to have 50 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Large-scale solar, wind and geothermal developers hit project headwinds on public land
Daniel Rothberg, The Nevada Independent

With Nevada and other Western states discussing ways to increase the use of renewables, a big question is lingering in the background: Where will all the new solar arrays, wind farms and geothermal plants go?

Transmission line to carry wind energy to California clears last Wyoming hurdle
Heather Richards, Casper Star Tribune

An oil and gas firm secured Friday the last of its necessary Wyoming permits for a 730-mile-high power transmission line to connect the largest proposed onshore wind development in the Rockies with power customers in the Southwest and California.

Tesla says investigating incident of parked car exploding in Shanghai
Brenda Goh and Yilei Sun, Reuters

U.S. electric vehicle (EV) maker Tesla Inc said it has sent a team to investigate a video on Chinese social media which showed a parked Tesla Model S car exploding, the latest in a string of fire incidents involving Tesla’s cars.

Tesla Takes Short Seller to Court, Saying He Menaced Its Workers
Peter Blumberg, Bloomberg

The electric carmaker claims a California man who it says is part of an online group of short sellers has been stalking its Fremont factory and harassing its employees — including dangerously swerving his car toward a Tesla Model 3 that was on a freeway test drive and injuring a Tesla security guard in a hit-and-run on company property.

Toyota establishes research institute in China to study hydrogen, green technologies
Norihiko Shirouzu, Reuters

Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp said on Sunday it was setting up a research institute in Beijing in partnership with Tsinghua University to study car technology using hydrogen power and other green technologies that could ease environmental problems in China.


Environmental groups want ruling on coal ash water pollution
The Associated Press

Two Tennessee environmental groups are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on whether the federal Clean Water Act applies to pollution from a coal ash dump.


Report: New Jersey nuclear plants getting subsidy are viable
Mike Catalini, The Associated Press

A report commissioned by New Jersey regulators before they voted to grant $300 million in utility customer-financed subsidies for the state’s nuclear industry found the plants are profitable.


A climate change solution slowly gains ground
Steven Mufson and Salwan Georges, The Washington Post

At the end of a cul-de-sac called Fresh Way, two bright green structures the size of shipping containers gleam in the warm sunlight, quietly sucking from the air the carbon dioxide that is warming the planet.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Clean Energy Is Delivering Sizable Environmental Benefits
Isak Kvam, Morning Consult

Earth Day is today, which means it’s the time of year to celebrate the environmental benefits that clean renewable energy projects are bringing to America all year long. Everyone benefits from clean air, clean water and fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

Louisiana’s economy would be destroyed by Green New Deal dreamed up by Ocasio-Cortez
U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), The Advocate

Experiencing energy production in person is fundamental to understanding the positive impact American energy has on our communities in Louisiana, the U.S. economy and national security.

On Earth Day, let’s restore bipartisanship on the environment
Russ Feingold and Tommy Thompson, USA Today

The environment has become a polarizing issue in recent years, but as honorary co-chairs of the “Year of the Environment” launching Monday on Earth Day, we are hoping to help make it a bipartisan cause again.

Only fracking and nuclear power can save planet Earth
The Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

Science has established the consumption of fossil fuels is affecting global temperatures. And there is only one form of electricity generation that is both feasible on a large scale and completely carbon free.

Research Reports

Making Carbon Taxation a Generational Win Win
Laurence J. Kotlikoff et al., National Bureau of Economic Research

Carbon taxation has been studied primarily in social planner or infinitely lived agent models, which trade off the welfare of future and current generations. Such frameworks obscure the potential for carbon taxation to produce a generational win-win.