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Here are a few energy-related items you might have missed this week.
1. Take a look at your electrical bill. You are probably paying more, as CNSNews.com reports:
For the first time ever, the average price for a kilowatthour (KWH) of electricity in the United States has broken through the 14-cent mark, climbing to a record 14.3 cents in June, according to data released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Before this June, the highest the average price for a KWH had ever gone was 13.7 cents, the level it hit in June, July, August and September of last year.
The 14.3-cents average price for a KWH recorded this June is about 4.4 percent higher than that previous record.
The story also notes, “In each of the first six months of this year, the average price for a KWH hour of electricity has hit a record for that month. In June, it hit the all-time record.”
EPA’s proposed carbon regulations will raise electricity prices even higher by reducing energy diversity.
2. Speaking of EPA’s proposed carbon regulations, thousands of union workers protested against them in Pittsburgh [subscription required]:
The United Mine Workers of America and other unions who organized the rally argue that the EPA rule to lower carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 based on 2005 levels would boost electricity prices and cost more than 65,000 jobs mostly across Appalachia, while doing little to address climate change globally.
“It’s going to be devastating if it goes through in its current form,” Cecil Roberts, president of the UMWA, said in an interview before the protest.
Unions opposing the proposed rule argue that U.S. workers will pay the price for lowering emissions domestically while other countries–most notably China, where coal usage has grown rapidly–will continue to burn coal and emit carbon dioxide.
3. Continuing on the theme of EPA’s proposed carbon rules, regulators in charge of power grid reliability told a House committee that EPA has had few discussions with them:
The role of FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] in the inter-agency consultation process at EPA remains unclear. FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur wrote in her written responses to the subcommittee’s questions that she met with EPA officials to discuss the draft Clean Power Plan proposal, but none of the other FERC Commissioners said they were involved in the process. Further, there was no formal partnership between EPA and FERC in coming up with EPA’s power grid reliability assessment for the proposed rule.
[T]he EPA left FERC out of its formal process to evaluate reliability problems despite FERC’s obvious expertise in electric reliability. Furthermore, EPA’s own reliability assessment should be treated as “more speculative than informative” for the reasons outlined in Chairman LaFleur’s written responses.
4. North Dakota's oil boom has resulted in a boom in air travel:
In Minot, N.D., a two-hour-plus drive from Williston, airport-passenger traffic has more than tripled in three years. Four airlines—Delta, United, Frontier and Allegiant—serve that small airport with up to 15 flights a day. Last year, Dickinson, N.D., saw its airport-passenger traffic skyrocket 76%. And here in Williston, Delta has four flights a day to Minneapolis, while United has four flights a day to Denver and will add a daily flight to Houston on Aug. 19. Planes are leaving with, on average, 85% of seats filled, the airport says.
5. On a lighter note, Mother Nature gave the cold shoulder to former Vice President Al Gore’s global warming group:
The Climate Reality Project brought its “I’m Too Hot” trucks and offers of free ice cream to this week’s Environmental Protection Agency hearings on power-plant emissions, but the climate wasn’t cooperating.
The plan was to tout the EPA’s emissions proposal as a solution for hot weather brought on by global warming, but when the hearings began at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Denver, the temperature was a chilly 58 degrees. Plus, it was raining.
The other cities hosting the hearings Wednesday were also hit by cooler-than-usual temperatures. The high in Atlanta was forecast at 82 degrees, while it was a pleasant 70 degrees in Washington, D.C., when the hearings began at 9 a.m.
Weather has complicated Gore’s events so often that it has been dubbed the “Gore Effect.”