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US Lawmakers Investigate Firm's Contract to Help Restore Puerto Rico's Power

       

Workers from Montana-based Whitefish Energy Holdings help fix Puerto Rico’s power grid. Photograph: Alvin Baez/Reuters

CLICK HERE - NPR - Here's What's In That $300 Million Whitefish Contract

Multiple congressional committees seek information on $300m deal awarded to Whitefish Energy Holdings, tiny company in interior secretary’s hometown

theguardian.com - October 26, 2017

Multiple congressional committees are investigating a $300m contract awarded to a small Montana company in the hometown of the interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, that was tapped to help restore Puerto Rico’s damaged power grid.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority awarded the contract to tiny Whitefish Energy Holdings to restore transmission and distribution lines damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Maria. The two-year-old company had just two full-time employees when the storm hit last month.

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The U.S. Solar Industry's New Growth Region: Trump Country

       

The Apple One 4.9 MW solar project, built by Cypress Creek Renewables, is pictured in Newton, North Carolina, United States in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters March 28, 2017. Cypress Creek Renewables/Handout via REUTERS

reuters.com - by Nichola Groom - October 12, 2017

President Donald Trump’s administration has vowed to revive the coal industry, challenged climate-change science and blasted renewable energy as expensive and dependent on government subsidies.

And yet the solar power industry is booming across Trump country, fueled by falling development costs and those same subsidies, which many Republicans in Congress continue to support.

Data provided to Reuters by GTM Research, a clean energy market information firm, shows that eight of the 10 fastest-growing U.S. solar markets between the second quarters of 2016 and 2017 were Western, Midwestern or Southern states that voted for Trump, with Alabama and Mississippi topping the list. And solar firms are ramping up investments in these regions, signaling their faith that key renewable energy incentives will remain in place for years to come.

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Puerto Rico power grid 'devastated' by Maria, PREPA CEO says

Radar image of Hurricane Maria.

Image: Radar image of Hurricane Maria.

utilitydive.com - Gavin Bade - September 25th 2017

Dive Brief:

  • Puerto Rico could be without power for four to six months after a double hit from Category 4 hurricanes in recent weeks, territory officials said this weekend. 
  • The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said it would begin restoration efforts on Monday, having waited to avoid safety hazards to employees. Significant flooding and debris have limited the ability to conduct damage assessments, federal officials said Friday.

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Hurricane Maria: Whole of Puerto Rico without power

bbc.com - September 20th 2017

Hurricane Maria has knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, home to 3.5m people, emergency officials have said.

Abner Gómez, head of the disaster management agency, said the hurricane had damaged "everything in its path".

None of the customers of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority had any electricity, he said.

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FEMA chief: 'Millions' could be without power from Irma

cnn.com - Miranda Green and Rene Marsh - September 9th 2017

As Hurricane Irma bears down on Florida's southern coast, the nation's emergency management chief is warning that 'millions' of residents could be without power, in some instances for weeks.

"We could see millions of people without power in Florida for multiple days in some areas, maybe weeks, and so I think it's very important to set the expectations of citizens," Federal Emergency Management Agency chief Brock Long told CNN's Rene Marsh at his agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Saturday. "This is why we ask and plead with people to be ready for multiple days, and unfortunately this is coming into reality,"

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AEP CEO: Harvey 'devastated' transmission, distribution system in south Texas

Flooding during Hurricane Harvey.

Image: Flooding during Hurricane Harvey.

utilitydive.com - Robert Walton - September 1st 2017

Dive Brief:

American Electric Power's transmission and distribution system in its south Texas service territory has been "devastated," CEO Nick Akins told Bloomberg yesterday.

In an interview with the financial news provider, Akins said several transmission lines are down including over 20 miles on one system that is "laying on the ground."

While utilities struggle to bring power back online to affected communities, the operator for most of the state said the grid remains in stable condition and Electric Reliability Council of Texas competitive markets continue to operate.

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Nation's largest oil refinery forced to shut down as Harvey floods Port Arthur

money.cnn.com - Julia Horowitz and Jill Disis - August 30th 2017

The largest oil refinery in the country is shutting down as Hurricane Harvey causes more catastrophic flooding, and more have followed suit.

Early Wednesday, Motiva said it started closing its Port Arthur refinery "in response to increasing local flood conditions." The plant won't open until flood waters recede.

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Global fuel prices jump as Harvey's impact ripples beyond U.S. Gulf

reuters.com - Erwin Seba and Devika Krishna Kumar - August 31st 2017

Tropical Storm Harvey’s impact on the energy industry spread worldwide as flooded U.S. refiners and closed fuel pipelines threatened to squeeze national supply, roiling global fuel markets and rerouting millions of barrels of fuel to the Americas to avert shortages.

The storm, which lashed Louisiana with rain on Thursday, has pummeled the U.S. Gulf Coast, immersing Houston, Texas, and the surrounding area in several feet of water and forcing the closure of about a quarter of U.S. refining capacity.

Benchmark U.S. gasoline prices RBc1 and margins RBc1-Clc1 surged anew on Thursday.

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Harvey’s Toll on Energy Industry Shows a Texas Vulnerability

A vessel, the Signet Enterprise, sinking on Saturday near Port Aransas, Tex.; its crew was rescued. The narrow shipping channel near Port Aransas may be the most threatened choke point on the Gulf Coast. Credit U.S. Coast Guard, via Getty Images

Image: A vessel, the Signet Enterprise, sinking on Saturday near Port Aransas, Tex.; its crew was rescued. The narrow shipping channel near Port Aransas may be the most threatened choke point on the Gulf Coast. Credit U.S. Coast Guard, via Getty Images

nytimes.com - Clifford Krauss and Hiroko Tabuchi - August 29th 2017

For years, much of the nation’s refinery capacity and chemical production have been concentrated along the swamps and narrow inlets of the Gulf of Mexico, risking devastation in a monster storm.

The pounding being endured by coastal Texas will probably be the biggest test of that risk so far, and energy experts say it raises questions about the area’s role as a hub for such crucial and environmentally sensitive industries.

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Is Our Government Looking the Other Way on Contaminated Ground Water and Aquifers?

How Much Drinking Water Has California Lost to Oil Industry Waste? No One Knows

"California survived its historic drought, in large part by using groundwater. It was a lifeline in the Central Valley, where it was the only source of water for many farmers.

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