Morning Consult Energy: Week in Review & What’s Ahead


Week in Review

Energy Department

  • Energy Secretary Rick Perry is expected to step down by the end of November, three people familiar with his intentions said, while two of the sources noted that the intensifying investigation into the Ukraine controversy and Perry’s involvement are unrelated to his plans to leave the administration. 
  • The Energy Department approved funding for initial work on a feasibility study into whether advanced nuclear reactors may be a good fit for Puerto Rico’s electric grid. 
  • The Idaho National Laboratory announced that Ashley Finan and Nicholas Smith will serve as the first director and deputy director of the National Reactor Innovation Center, a program intended to aid in testing and demonstrating private sector nuclear reactor concepts. 

Utilities

  • The White House nominated Federal Energy Regulatory Commission General Counsel James Danly to a Republican vacancy on the FERC panel, though it remained unclear whether the administration would soon name an additional candidate to an empty Democratic seat on the commission. Danly’s confirmation would give FERC a 3-1 Republican majority, solidifying the party’s quorum.
  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed 22 bills into law that would increase the state’s regulation of utilities’ wildfire prevention work, encourage communities to increase their resilience to fires and build upon the $1 billion that California has budgeted for wildfire preparation.

Oil and gas

  • The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture revealed a plan to increase domestic biofuel demand, which includes a commitment to raise annual biofuel blending quotas based on the three-year rolling average of the quantity of gallons that small refiners are waived from blending each year. The plan, which would likely require larger refineries that do not receive blending exemptions to make up waived volumes, must still go through formal proposal and finalization.
  • BP PLC said that Chief Executive Bob Dudley will retire in February after almost 10 years at the oil giant and will be replaced Feb. 5 by BP’s Chief Executive of Upstream Operations Bernard Looney, who will join the company’s board on the same date.
  • Chevron Corp. said it will target a reduction in upstream oil net emission intensity by between 5 percent and 10 percent and lower upstream natural gas emission intensity by 2 percent to 5 percent from 2016 levels by 2023.

Interior Department

  • Interior Secretary David Bernhardt signed an order to retain controversial Bureau of Land Management Acting Director William Perry Pendley in the post through Jan. 3, the latest in a string of tenure extensions of officials at Interior serving in an acting capacity. Bernhardt also appointed David Vela as acting director of the National Park Service and Lanny Erdos as acting director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
  • President Donald Trump said he intends to name Katharine MacGregor, a former congressional staffer who currently serves as deputy chief of staff at the Interior Department, to the agency’s deputy secretary position. 

Coal

  • A U.S. bankruptcy court in West Virginia approved the sale of Milton, W.Va.-based Blackjewel LLC’s Belle Ayre and Eagle Butte coal mines to an affiliate of FM Coal LLC, after an earlier agreement stalled for weeks when federal agencies raised concerns over the lease transfers. 
  • Murray Energy Corp. was unable to make several payments to lenders and may be moving toward default, while creditors have said they will not take legal action against the coal giant until Oct. 14. 
  • Utility company PacifiCorp said it intends to shutter two thirds of its coal units by 2030 and most of its other coal plants by 2038, while adding 4,600 megawatts of wind energy and 6,300 MW of solar power by 2038. 

What’s Ahead

  • The House and Senate are not in session this week.
  • Interstate Natural Gas Association of America President Donald Santa is scheduled to speak at an R Street Institute event on pipelines and property rights at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.
  • On Thursday at 2:45 p.m., FERC Commissioner Richard Glick will keynote the American Wind Energy Association’s conference in New York City, taking place this Thursday and Friday.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency is taking comment on its proposed changes to the national marine diesel engine program through Oct. 21.

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

10/08/2019
Smart Cities Connect Fall Conference and Expo
CSIS Event on How Climate Change is Upending our View of Maritime Sustainability, Sovereignty, and Security 8:45 am
CSIS Event on Oil and Gas Industry Engagement on Climate Change 1:00 pm
10/09/2019
Getting to Zero Forum
Smart Cities Connect Fall Conference and Expo
Interstate Natural Gas Association of America President Donald Santa Speaks at R Street Institute Event on Pipelines and Property Rights: Are They in Conflict? 11:30 am
View full calendar

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