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energy

The warnings come with unsettling regularity:

Climate change threatens 1 million plant and animal species.

Warmer oceans could lose one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century.

From Texas Standard:

On Sunday thousands of fish, crabs and other sea life washed up dead on beaches surrounding Galveston Bay. The Texas Department of State Health Services has warned people not to eat any seafood from the area, and it halted oyster harvesting in the bay indefinitely.

From Texas Standard:

Energy is the invisible driver of nearly everything we do. It gets us to work, lights our homes – it even powers the equipment we use to broadcast Texas Standard. Energy – and access to it – determines the wealth, health and growth of societies. Michael Webber explores how energy has shaped civilization in his new book “Power Trip: The Story Of Energy.

Webber says he became interested in the topic during an undergraduate history class at the University of Texas at Austin.

"If things happen and we have extreme weather or lots of forced outages or low wind or some combination of those, we may have to implement rotating outages," ERCOT's Dan Woodfin said.
Shutterstock

Electricity demand in Texas is expected to hit record levels this summer, and with a thin margin of reserve power, the operator of the state's grid says it may have to ask businesses and consumers to conserve.

On its face, you might think a bill to treat wastewater from oil and gas operations would get the support of environmental groups. But you'd be wrong.

Multinational oil giant Chevron will buy the American oil and gas production and exploration company Anadarko Petroleum in a $33 billion cash-and-stock deal that strengthens Chevron's position in the booming Permian Basin.

Ten miles out in the Gulf of Mexico, off the tip of Louisiana, the fumes become overwhelming. "See how it's all rainbow sheen there? So that's oil," says Ian MacDonald, who's guiding us in a tiny fishing boat that's being tossed around by 6-foot waves.

MacDonald is a scientist at Florida State University where he studies oil spills. This one is not a black, sticky slick, but it stretches on for miles. And here, where the murky Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf, it's been leaking for more than 14 years.

Lawmakers wrapped up two days of hearings Friday on a fire last month at a chemical storage facility in Deer Park. The fire at the plant owned by Intercontinental Terminals Co. burned for days, spewing millions of pounds of toxic chemicals into the air and forcing residents indoors.

From Texas Standard:

For the second time in a month, a fire broke out this week at a petrochemical plant near Houston. This time, it was at the KMCO plant in Crosby where one person died and two others were injured.

Wind power in Texas is often seen as one of the state’s great success stories. It’s grown so much in the last 20 years that the state now leads the country in the amount of electricity it generates from wind. Experts say that’s brought the price of electricity down and helped reduce air pollution.

But wind is facing a lot of opposition this year at the Texas Capitol. The fight centers around subsidies and incentives that have helped grow the industry here.

The largest solar farm east of the Rocky Mountains could soon be built in Virginia and, depending on whom you ask, it would be either a dangerous eyesore that will destroy the area's rural character or a win-win, boosting the local economy and the environment. The solar panels would be spread across 10 square miles — 1.8 million panels soaking up the sun's rays.

A plume of smoke rises from a petrochemical fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company Monday, March 18, 2019, in Deer Park, Texas.
Associated Press

National Guard troops have been called in and residents were told to stay inside after elevated levels of benzene were detected early Thursday near a Houston-area petrochemicals storage facility that caught fire this week.

Chemicals detected from a fire at a Deep Park petrochemical storage facility do not represent a public health concern, according to the company that owns the facility.

A couple years ago, Texas had a problem with abandoned oil and gas wells.

It still does.

That was the takeaway Wednesday from a hearing at the state Senate, where lawmakers learned the agency responsible for plugging wells can't seal them as quickly as they're being abandoned.  

A planned liquefied natural gas facility near Brownsville would boost energy export opportunities, but also poses a risk to Texas ocelots.

Georgetown, Texas, made headlines when it signed 20- and 25-year contracts with solar and wind energy providers at a fixed rate in 2012. The costs of energy have plummeted since then though, and the city is on the hook for excess energy it thought it could sell back for at least as much as they bought it for.


From Texas Standard:

With communities bowing under the stress of school overcrowding, soaring traffic fatalities, drug abuse and strains on the power grid, more than a dozen top U.S. energy companies have pledged $100 million toward easing the stresses caused by the natural gas boom in the Permian Basin area of West Texas.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

California has established an ambitious goal of relying entirely on zero-emission energy sources for its electricity by the year 2045.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill mandating the electricity target on Monday. He also issued an executive order calling for statewide carbon neutrality — meaning California "removes as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it emits" — by the same year.

The Trump administration has moved to formally replace the Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that former President Barack Obama once lauded as the single-most important step America has ever taken to fight climate change.

The long-anticipated proposal, called the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, would give individual states more authority to make their own plans for regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants.

Texas' energy industry is in flux.

The state's seen recent closures of three coal-powered power plants, as the state market shifts toward renewable sources like wind and solar energy. And, on the national level, the state's former governor is lobbying to extend a hand to the nation's struggling coal and nuclear industries.

KUT's Mose Buchele spoke to Jennifer Stayton about what the closures mean for Texas' energy industry and about this week's rejection of a plan from Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to subsidize nuclear and coal power. 

A federal energy regulator has rejected a proposed rule that would have subsidized nuclear and coal plants, helping those fuel sources compete with cheaper natural gas and renewables.

The rule was described by the Department of Energy as a way to promote the resilience of the electric grid — that is, its ability to provide reliable energy in the face of disruptive events like bad weather.

Texas just got out of its longest cold spell in six years. Starting Sunday, parts of the state dipped below freezing and stayed there for around three days. Ice caused accidents. Snow brought delight. But one notable outcome was something that did not happen: The lights didn't go out.

The U.S. power grid could become less reliable if too much electricity comes from renewable energy and natural gas, according to a study from the Department of Energy.

But not everyone is buying it. Environmentalists suspect the Trump administration is just trying to prop up an ailing coal industry.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry called for the study in the spring. The report doesn't say there is a grid reliability problem now — only that one could develop if more coal and nuclear power plants shut down.

Billionaire Warren Buffett has been outbid in his effort to buy Texas’ largest transmission utility.

From Texas Standard:

The nation's electrical grid is an interconnected system that powers homes and businesses across the country. But a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine indicates the grid is vulnerable and more needs to be done to protect the system from the growing threat of blackouts.

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump addressed thousands of people in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, focusing, in part, on the nation's dependence on Russian energy. He said Poles will not be "held hostage" anymore by the Russian energy market, and pitched U.S. energy as an alternative.

Solar power is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world. Whether from massive utility-scale solar farms or residential rooftop panels, you can expect to see more solar in the future.

But scientists have identified something that can really hurt the performance of those panels: air pollution.

After an explosion at a fertilizer plant killed 15 people in West, Texas, in 2013, the EPA created new safety protections for the storage of dangerous chemicals. Now, at the urging of the industry, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is delaying those rules until 2019.

During Texas Visit, Rick Perry Touts Houston-Area Carbon Capture System

Apr 13, 2017
Spike Johnson for The Texas Tribune

THOMPSONS — In his first public appearance in Texas since being sworn in as U.S. energy secretary, former Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday heaped praise on a new, first-of-its-kind energy project that captures climate-altering emissions from the state’s largest coal plant and uses them to boost production in a flagging oilfield.  

David Bowser / Texas Tribune

Texas is trying to take the federal government to task for failing to find a permanent disposal site for thousands of metric tons of radioactive waste piling up at nuclear reactor sites across the country.

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