Editor’s note: Each Friday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Energy In-depth,” a round-up of energy and regulatory news.
OIL INDUSTRY CHEERS HOUSE BILL TO LIFT U.S. OIL EXPORT BAN: The American Petroleum Institute cheered legislation passed on Thursday by the U.S. House of Representatives that would lift the 1970s-era restrictions on crude exports, streamline liquified natural gas (LNG) exports and promote infrastructure improvements to the nation’s distribution and pipeline infrastructure. The vote comes in the wake of President Obama’s decision in early November to reject the Keystone XL pipeline proposal after a lengthy review by the U.S. State Department. The president has promised to veto the legislation that is a key part of year-end budget negotiations in Congress.
OIL MARKETS AWAIT OPEC’S 168TH MEETING IN VIENNA: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will gather in Vienna on Friday to consider a possible reduction in global crude production and inventories next year to boost slumping oil prices. International Brent crude prices fell to a seven-year low this week on the news that Saudi Arabia will cooperate with cartel and non-OPEC members to cut global oil production in early 2016. Since the summer of 2014, global oil prices have fallen from around $114 a barrel to below $40 in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and other international markets this week.
EIA BEGINS MONTHLY STATE-LEVEL ESTIMATES OF SMALL-SCALE SOLAR PV CAPACITY AND GENERATION: The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has begun regularly reporting monthly estimates of small-scale distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) electricity generation and capacity by state and sector. Until now, EIA had provided monthly state-level data only for utility-scale generation sources, including solar, but only annual national-level generation and capacity estimates for small-scale solar PV.
Small-scale distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, such as those found on residential and commercial rooftops, have grown significantly in the United States over the past several years. EIA estimates total U.S. solar generation was 3.5 million megawatt hours in September 2015, with 33% coming from small-scale solar PV and 67% from utility-scale solar. Overall U.S. solar generation was equivalent to about 1% of the total reported electricity generation from all utility-scale sources of 351 megawatt hours in September 2015.
ARKANSAS TRUCKING FIRM RECOGNIZED BY EPA FOR PROGRAMS TO REDUCE CARBON EMISSIONS: Maverick Transportation LLC was honored with a recent award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as an industry leader in freight supply chain environmental performance and energy efficiency. The accomplishment is the cumulative result of several corporate initiatives over the past few years, company officials said.
In 2013, the company implemented a Pay for Performance incentive program for their driver force focusing on key metrics such as fuel efficiency and idle time, which were contributing factors in reducing total fuel consumption 5%, or over one million gallons for the year. Last year, the Arkansas trucking firm implemented aerodynamic devices that created efficiencies in tire maintenance and miles per gallon performance. The collective efforts allowed Maverick to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4%, or 9,960 tons, since 2013.