energy

Appliance manufacturers and home builders are in Washington, D.C., today to celebrate a popular energy efficiency program, even as it's slated for elimination in President Trump's proposed budget.

You probably know the program's little blue label with the star — the Environmental Protection Agency says 90 percent of U.S. households do.

PR Newswire/AP

President Trump fulfilled one of his big campaign promises on Tuesday: He signed an executive order that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.

That plan was intended to cut harmful carbon emissions by replacing coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources. Trump wants to repeal it as a step towards boosting the struggling coal industry.

But in Florida and across the country, it's doubtful the rollback will have much impact -- positive or negative, says University of Miami economist David Kelly.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is now the 14th U.S. Secretary of Energy, despite having once pledged to eliminate the Department of Energy.

Or at least, he tried to pledge to eliminate the department — including once when he couldn't think of its name.

Perry was confirmed Thursday by the Senate in a 62-37 vote.

The Dakota Access Pipeline's route takes it over four states and nearly 1,200 miles, from the Bakken oil fields in northwestern North Dakota through South Dakota, Iowa and down to a terminal in Illinois.

But one Missouri River crossing just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has become the focal point of a fight over how the pipeline's route was analyzed and approved by the federal government.

Kate Stein / WLRN

Just days after a federal judge denied another attempt by protesting Native American tribes in North Dakota to halt construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, South Florida has its own pipeline protest going on.

About 30 protesters on Tuesday called for U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson to take action against the Sabal Trail Pipeline, a 515-mile pipeline that would carry natural gas from Alabama down to north Florida. They stationed themselves in front of the Democratic senator's Coral Gables office around noon, demanding Nelson respond to a letter and petition they delivered in December.

FPL

Florida Power & Light broke ground on a new control center designed to sustain category 5 hurricanes. It’s part of the company's $2 billion, decade-long infrastructure hardening plan, which includes facilities upgrades across the state.

 

Manny Miranda is the company’s senior vice president in charge of power delivery. He says the distribution center upgrade is part of FPL's ongoing efforts to improve its response to storms.

 

Even Rick Perry changes his mind.

At his confirmation hearing as President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Energy, the former Texas governor said he no longer wants to do away with the department he once said should be eliminated.

Or, at least, that was something he tried to say.

In 2011, during one of his presidential campaign debates, Perry could only remember the names of two of the three agencies he wanted get rid of. The third agency is the very one he was chosen by Trump to head.

When a solar company wants to test new technology, they bring their panels to the National Renewable Energy Lab near Denver. It's a place where federal scientists can measure how powerful and long-lasting solar panels are, so consumers know what they are buying.

"A lot of times maybe people don't even know how to evaluate new technologies appropriately. And so we have a lot of insight and knowledge into the market that can help with some of those decisions," lab engineer Chris Deline explained.

L
Courtesy of WGBH 

Science journalist Miles O’Brien recently returned to Fukushima, Japan, for the sixth time since a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered a nuclear meltdown there nearly six years ago.

O’Brien thought he would be reporting on the massive clean-up effort at the shuttered nuclear power plant, a decommissioning effort that requires 4,000 workers to suit up in Tyvek suits, three layers of socks, gloves and respirators every day.

Instead, O’Brien found himself chasing a very different story about nuclear power.

Brennan Linsley / AP via Miami Herald

President-elect Donald Trump has made much of his planned energy policies. He has said he'll boost the coal industry by rolling back President Obama's Clean Power Plan and in a recent video outlining plans for his first 100 days in office, Trump said he wants to expand the shale energy industry as well.

So, how much will these measures impact a state like Florida, swampy and with no coal mines? Not much, according to some experts. 

 

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

  Between air conditioning, lights and appliances, buildings consume a lot of energy. That high energy consumption requires high energy production --  from sources like coal and oil, which contribute to global warming and sea-level rise.

 

All of which threatens the future livability of Miami-Dade County. 

 

Dozens of Florida cities and counties oppose a plan to give the state control over the oil and gas exploration process known as fracking.

Donna E. Natale Planas / Miami Herald

State regulators will hear arguments Tuesday on a proposal by Florida Power & Light to build a power plant in Okeechobee County, but critics question the need for the nearly $1.2 billion project.

FPL contends the natural-gas plant is the "best, most cost-effective option" to meet a need for additional power generation starting in 2019. The project, designed as what is known as a combined-cycle plant, would be built on an undeveloped site owned by FPL in northeast Okeechobee County.

MOSE BUCHELE / StateImpact NPR

A bill that would create a new regulatory structure in Florida for oil and gas drilling, including the controversial practice known as "fracking," easily passed a House panel Tuesday despite roughly 50 environmentalists on hand to oppose the measure.

The House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee approved the bill (HB 191), filed by Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, and Rep. Cary Pigman, R-Avon Park, on a straight party-line vote of 9-4.

Regulators Asked To Reject FPL Nuclear Request

Aug 18, 2015
FPL.com / Courtesy

Florida Power & Light received pushback Tuesday from South Florida officials and other critics as it requested $34.2 million from customers to continue planning a pair of nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point complex in Miami-Dade County.

The request, if approved by the Florida Public Service Commission in October, would place the cost for new nuclear power at 34 cents on a typical residential customer's monthly bill in 2016.

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