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August 26, 2015

EDF: Central Texas munis pave way to future energy savings

‘The cheapest energy is the kind we don’t use in the first place’

Austin Energy and San Antonio’s CPS Energy show that energy efficiency and demand response programs are cheaper and cleaner ways to ease stress on the electric grid, saving both energy and valuable water, two clean energy experts at Environmental Defense Fund point out.

The two municipal utilities have committed more resources to renewable energy in their fuel mix and are also paving the way in energy efficiency and demand response, write John Hall, EDF’s Texas state director for clean energy, and Sarah Ryan, clean energy consultant.

Demand response provides incentives to electric consumers to conserve during peak times – like hot afternoons in August -- when the electric grid faces its greatest demand.

In a blog post today, the two boldface this point: “The cheapest energy is the kind we don’t use in the first place.” They add, “Saving energy is more affordable than building additional power plants.”

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 26, 2015

Bush leads western states on endangered species reform

23 states ask Congress to reform law so end ‘sue and settle’ tactic

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush says his counterparts from western states have unanimously adopted his resolution calling for an end to the “sue and settle” practice of environmentalists he says are taking advantage of the Endangered Species Act.

Bush won unanimous adoption form the Western States Land Commissioners Association, according to the General Land Office, for a resolution asking Congress to reform the act and end a practice that oil and gas developers, ranchers and others find intolerable.

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 25, 2015

Haynesville Shale properties switch hands for $850 million

GeoSouthern and partners purchase 112,000 net acres from Encana

The Woodlands-based GeoSouthern Haynesville LP and GSP Capital Partners LP said Tuesday they’ve jointly agreed to pay $850 million for oil and gas properties in the Haynesville Shale from subsidiaries of Encana Corp.

The properties are mostly located in DeSoto and Red River Parishes, Louisiana, and contain about 112,000 net acres and 300 operated wells in the most prolific area of the Haynesville Shale (which stretches from Louisiana into Texas).

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 25, 2015

UT System forms partnership with Mexican science council

Research opportunities in energy, Gulf of Mexico’s environment

The University of Texas System said Tuesday it has formed a research and academic partnership with Mexico that will include joint efforts in energy and the environment along with other fields in applied math and sciences.

UT System Chancellor William H. McRaven signed a memorandum of understanding in San Antonio with Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology, known as CONACYT. It provides a legal framework for the UT system’s 14 institutions to collaborate in research and graduate student funding.

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 25, 2015

Uranium Energy will seek to dismiss shareholder suit

Company to defend against allegations of ‘false’ statements

Uranium Energy Corp., which operates in South Texas, vowed Tuesday to “vigorously defend” itself against a shareholder lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the company said late today.

The law firm filing the complaint, Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman of New York, continued to solicit clients today with a reminder that they can join a class action suit that has yet to be certified. The firm said the suit is in behalf of investors who purchased Uranium Energy Corp. shares between Oct. 12, 2014 and June 17, 2015.

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 21, 2015

Oil prices dip below psychological level of $40-per-barrel

Glut continues, demand weakens, Chevron’s Houston layoffs loom, implications for Rainy Day Fund

Oil prices dipped below $40 per barrel Friday for the first time in six years, breaching another psychological barrier amid predictions that a prolonged supply glut could push the U.S. benchmark crude, West Texas Intermediate (WTI), into the low $30s.

With China’s economy weakening and the Saudis and other OPEC nations primed to boost production still more, Texans began eyeing the future of the state’s Rainy Day Fund, which set record highs during the oil boom, with a bit more trepidation. The fund is made up of oil-and-gas severance taxes that ebb and flow along with volatile commodity prices.

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 20, 2015

Lawmaker, academic form Texas Natural Gas Foundation

Group to spread the word of natural gas as cheaper, cleaner fuel

A state lawmaker who works as a transportation consultant and an academic who frequently speaks on the benefits of natural gas-fueled vehicles announced Thursday that they’ve formed the Texas Natural Gas Foundation

The foundation, organized as a non-profit 501 C-3, bills itself as an education organization to be led by Rep. Jason Isaac, R-Dripping Springs, and Ken Morgan, director of the Texas Christian University Energy Institute.

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 18, 2015

Texas congressman labels proposed methane emission reduction rules a war on energy jobs

“Instead of conspiring with extreme environmental interests, EPA should stop punishing cooperative industry stakeholders and start partnering with them…”

The Environmental Protection Agency released its anticipated methane reduction rules today, presented as a commonsense approach to address climate change.

The proposed rules, intended to reduce methane emissions between 40 and 45 percent by 2025, would cover hydraulically fractured oil wells, as well as downstream equipment that was not covered in the agency’s 2012 rules. The energy industry called the requirement to cut emissions costly and unnecessary, especially in the face of falling commodity prices in Texas and elsewhere.

“The EPA’s own data confirm that methane emissions from hydraulic fracturing already are in decline, despite rising production levels,” said Ed Longanecker of the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association. “The politically driven climate change agenda of the Obama administration is not based in reality. Many of these goals can be achieved without more onerous regulations on the oil and gas sector.”

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By Kimberly Reeves


August 17, 2015

Talen Energy hires Texas power legal expert in Austin

Lori Cobos named director of government, regulatory affairs

normal'>Talen Energy Corp., with over 15,000 megawatts (MW) of natural gas, coal, nuclear and renewable generation in six states, has hired attorney Lori Cobos to represent the company before regulatory agencies and the Texas Legislature in Austin.

Cobos, named Talen’s director of government and regulatory affairs, will represent one of the largest independent power producers in the United States before the Texas Public Utility Commission (PUC), the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the Texas House of Representatives and the Texas Senate.

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 14, 2015

Commerce approves landmark U.S.-Mexico crude oil swap

Deal to benefit Texas shale oil producers and heavy crude refiners

In a deal favorable to Texas oil producers and refiners, the Commerce Department on Friday approved a landmark swap of U.S. light crude oil from shale plays for Mexican heavier crude.

The licenses are good for one year and will be formally issued by the end of this month, Reuters reported. Mexico’s national oil company, Pemex, said earlier this year it was seeking to exchange about 100,000 barrels per day.

Texas refineries are unable to produce all the light crude currently flowing from the Eagle Ford Shale and other plays and need more sources of the heavier crude that Mexico produces. Likewise, Mexico’s refining industry is more equipped to process the lighter crudes produced in the United States shale plays.

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By Polly Ross Hughes


August 14, 2015

Energy auction expert named to ERCOT’s board of directors

Economics professor Peter Cramton replaces Michehl Gent

The Texas Public Utility Commission today approved a professor of economics at the University of Maryland as the new independent member of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) board of directors.

Peter Cramton, who ERCOT says is also a widely known expert in energy auctions, will replace Michehl Gent, whose third term concluded in May.

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By Polly Ross Hughes