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United States - Apr 23

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


U.S. Congress begins drive for climate change bill

Richard Cowan, Reuters
The U.S. Congress on Tuesday began work on a bill that would fundamentally change the way American factories and power plants use and supply energy as part of the Obama administration's drive to cut harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

"The time for delay, denial and inaction has come to an end," declared Democratic Representative Edward Markey in opening the House Energy and Commerce Committee's effort to produce a climate bill by the end of May.

President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats who control both houses of Congress have made combating climate change a priority, worrying Republicans and some other opponents who fear skyrocketing energy and compliance costs.
(21 April 2009)



U.S. May Never Need More Nuclear, Coal Plants, FERC Head Says

Tina Seeley, Bloomberg
The U.S. may never need to build new nuclear or coal-fired power plants because renewable energy and improved efficiency can meet future power demand, the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said.

“They’re too expensive,” Jon Wellinghoff told reporters today at a press conference in Washington hosted by the U.S. Energy Association. “The last price I saw for a nuke was north of $7,000 a kilowatt. That’s more expensive than a solar system.”

Wellinghoff, a Democrat, was appointed chairman by President Barack Obama last month. He has served on the commission since 2006.
(22 April 2009)



US Natural Gas Prices: "The Fix is Underway"

Jon Freise, The Oil Drum
"The fix is underway" says Chesapeake Energy in their April Investor Presentation. What they mean is that natural gas prices are going back up this winter. The number of rigs drilling for natural gas is going down. Fewer rigs means fewer new wells and eventually less natural gas and higher prices for consumers.

This is the third article investigating the possibility of a spike in natural gas prices during early 2010. In this article we look at the scenarios Chesapeake has created based on the how low the drilling rig count goes (shown in Figure 1). And we dig a bit into the other factors that could increase or decrease demand for natural gas.

Quick Summary

As a kindness to those who are busy planting tomatoes and just want to know if they should order wood pellets for next winter, here is the quick version: The number of rigs has already fallen enough to cause natural gas prices to rise next winter:

"CHK sees U.S. natural gas prices at Henry Hub averaging $4-6/mmcf in 2009 and $7-9 in 2010 and beyond"

We don't yet know if drilling will be cut back enough to cause a spike into a higher $12-$13 mmcf range (like prices did in 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita).
(22 April 2009)

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