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Biden Admin Ponders Faster Coal Retirements // NY’s South Fork Wind Reaches Completion

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: the Biden administration is considering a faster coal retirement timeline, New York finishes America’s first utility scale offshore wind project, and more.

Biden Admin Ponders Faster Coal Retirements

The Environmental Protection Agency is considering a speed up of its coal retirement timeline.

“The potential change being seriously considered now by administration officials would accelerate the required retirement date for coal plants that opt against installing carbon-removal technology at the sites, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named because the regulation is not yet final,” reports Bloomberg. “That would be a tougher approach than what the Environmental Protection Agency outlined in an initial proposal last year that would generally give companies until 2040 to shutter the sites.”

If the debated changes pass, companies would have until 2038 to shutter their plants or instill carbon capture technology, currently an expensive, inefficient technology.

The EPA’s internal discussion over coal plant emissions regulations come as the agency also considers a crackdown on auto emissions to spur the uptake of electric vehicles by 2032. Taken together, each acceleration from the EPA would shed dispatchable power while increasing power demand.

NY’s South Fork Wind Reaches Completion

With the completion of Ørsted’s 12-turbine 130 MW South Fork Wind project, New York has linked the country’s first utility-scale offshore wind project to the grid.

“Completion of the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the United States is an important national milestone, a significant step towards achieving New York State’s ambitious climate goals, and essential for delivering clean energy directly to New Yorkers,” said Jessica Ottney Mahar, policy and strategy director at The Nature Conservancy in New York.

“New York has set a goal of deploying 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035,” reports Utility Dive. “Most projects still under construction off the state’s shores are larger than South Fork Wind — in February, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority selected the 810-MW Empire Wind 1 and 924-MW Sunrise Wind projects as part of the state’s fourth offshore wind solicitation.”

On the same day South Fork came online, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management issued a notice of intent to prepare for environmental impact statements for an offshore wind project in New Jersey.

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Conversation Starters

  • China discovers 100 million ton oil field. “China's CNOOC Ltd has made a major oilfield discovery in the Bohai Sea, adding over 100 million tons of oil equivalent proved in-place volume, the state-owned oil and gas giant said on Monday. The discovery was made at the Qinhuangdao 27-3 oilfield located in the north-central waters of the Bohai Sea, the company said in a statement The field has been tested to produce about 742 barrels of crude oil per day from a single well, it added,” reports Reuters. “Earlier in the month, CNOOC announced the discovery of a new reserve in the South China Sea, which contains over 100 million tons of oil equivalent proved in-place. The announcements come as CNOOC invests heavily in the development of China's offshore oil and gas reserves as part of a broader push to offset declining output from aging onshore fields.”

  • The House launches second probe into Biden’s LNG pause. “House Republicans have launched a second probe of the Biden administration’s move to pause liquefied natural gas export approvals, questioning if election-year politics played a role in the decision,” reports Bloomberg. “The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability is seeking a trove of documents and communications between the Energy Department and key federal agencies as well as White House aides John Podesta and Ali Zaidi, arguing the move announced by the administration in late January was an attempt to appease liberal advocacy groups opposed to LNG exports ahead of the November presidential election.”

  • Germany inks LNG deal with Emiratis. “Germany’s state-controlled firm Securing Energy for Europe (Sefe) has signed a deal with ADNOC, under which Abu Dhabi’s national oil company will supply LNG to Germany for 15 years beginning in 2028,” reports Oilprice.com. “ADNOC signed the 15-year Heads of Agreement with Sefe for the delivery of 1 million metric tonnes per annum (mmtpa) of liquefied natural gas (LNG), the UAE’s state energy firm said on Monday. LNG deliveries will be made from ADNOC’s Ruwais LNG project, which is currently under development in Al Ruwais Industrial City, Abu Dhabi.”

Crom’s Blessing

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