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Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Energy cyber concerns are real, report reveals hacks

September 11, 2015 Leave a comment

powergridIt was reported this week that cyber attackers compromised the security of U.S. Department of Energy computer systems over 150 times between 2010 and 2014. The information came from a review of federal records and confirms what many of us have long feared was the case, that the cyber attacks against our energy infrastructure are a reality and could be potentially devastating.

USA Today, with the help of various reporters across the country, obtained access to federal energy records and found that nearly every four days, part of the nation’s power grid is struck by a cyber or physical attack, potentially leaving millions in the dark. The records obtained by USA TODAY through the Freedom of Information Act, confirm the vulnerability of such an attack on our critical energy infrastructure. Read more…

Taller, more efficient wind turbines could come to all 50 states

cleanTechThe newest generation of wind turbines, currently under development by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in collaboration with industry partners and research labs, could mean that wind energy is coming to all 50 states. According to the DOE’s May report, technological advancements featuring taller towers and longer blades will develop turbines able to generate more power more effectively. The new technology may eventually lead to expanded power production in the Southeast and other parts of the country where slower and more inconsistent wind speeds have made it difficult to develop utility-scale projects. Presently, wind energy is being used in 39 states, making it responsible for nearly 5 percent of U.S. total electricity generation. However, the DOE’s report states that all 50 states may soon be capable of producing wind power, allowing the U.S. to substantially increase its dependence on wind energy. Read more…

Dodd-Frank Act rolls out new energy compliance standards

January 22, 2013 Leave a comment

US-GreatSealThe Dodd-Frank Act will bring greater and more stringent regulation to the energy industry through tighter requirements for swaps and physical options in the energy trading markets. Until recently, energy market participants could trade over-the-counter market swaps without strict oversight from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Dodd-Frank intends to reduce systemic risk, add transparency to the swaps industry and prevent the abuse of smaller market participants by large trading firms.

With the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Act, the energy trading world will be split into Swap Dealers and End Users. Swap Dealers enter into bilateral swaps for purposes other than hedging. End Users use swaps to hedge their portfolios. Both Swap Dealers and End Users will now have to register with the National Futures Association (NFA), which will act as Read more…

Fracking and the potential risks beneath the rock

December 19, 2012 1 comment

fracking630Hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking” as it is commonly called) is nothing new. The technique, pumping high-pressure, chemical-laced water and sand down a well to extract oil and gas from rock, has been used by drillers since the 1970’s, when the U.S. government and various energy groups first conducted research studies and pilot demonstrations of the method. But it’s the current scale of fracking projects, and the controversy surrounding them, that has brought the issue into focus.

From 2007 to 2010, shale gas production more than tripled to over 5 trillion cubic feet and is on track to double again over the next two decades, according to federal government data and the Energy Information Administration. Energy companies continue to lease land across the U.S. and build new wells in Texas, Illinois and Iowa. Proponents see Read more…

Wood pellet and biomass fuels could see benefits from QE2

The Fed recently announced a second round of Quantitative Easing (QE2) that would pump an additional $600bn into the ailing U.S. economy. But while this move is intended to stimulate the economy, it has caused both a decline in the dollar and a rise in commodity prices. As the dollar continues to weaken, oil prices will likely rise further from their current level of $86 per bbl. OPEC has gone on record as saying that if the Fed did pull the trigger on QE2, they would seek an oil price of $100 per bbl. Oil prices at this level will cause consumers and business to seek alternatives to petroleum heating sources.

While the demand for wood pellets and biomass fuels has been sluggish over the past two heating seasons, the Fed’s move will likely stoke increased demand and mills need to prepare and position themselves for growth. Pellet demand has had some wild swings over the past several years. Sharp up ticks due to Hurricane Katrina and the meteoric petroleum price escalation Read more…

BP in a catch 22

Consider the dilemma facing the CEO of BP and the CEOs of other major deep-sea drilling companies in light of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico as they contemplate possible securities and other liability litigation. Tony Hayward, BP’s CEO, needs to protect BP’s reputation in order to maintain loyalty for its consumer products like its gas station chain as well as maintain morale among its employees.  It does this by, among other things, taking a conciliatory note about the responsibility of BP to pay all types of reimbursements to the public arising out of the accident.  Meanwhile, securities litigation professional plaintiff firms are taking notes that will no doubt conclude that Hayward is not best protecting shareholders by making these concessions to pay all reasonable costs.

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