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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu but for Choking Energy Supply

FERC's new pipeline regulations bode ill for energy prosperity

Happy Presidents' Day. Here's what we're looking at today: big ag draws government ire, FERC pays out more red tape for natural gas, Ethiopia's mega-dam switches on, Vogtle sees more delays, and energy infrastructure sees more cyberattacks. 


  • China's latest default warning takes shock factor to new extreme. (BBG)

  • US agriculture secretary criticizes price exploitation. (BBG)

  • Belarus says Russian troops will stay indefinitely as West seeks Ukraine talks. (FT)

  • Trudeau ends Canada's tricker siege but leaves bitter divisions. (FT)

  • Boris Johnson says UK should move away from Covid restrictions. (FT)


  • Big Oil on course for near-record $38-billion in share buybacks. (FT)

  • US projected to give up net oil exporter status this year. (WE)

  • US regulator sets sights on gas pipelines emissions. (OP)

  • Guyana looks to attract Middle East oil companies. (OP)

  • Not even $200 a barrel: shale giants swear they won't drill more. (BBG)


  • Shell shakes up renewables unit after departure of top executive. (EV)

  • Ivory Coast launches tender for 20 MW floating solar array. (PVM)

  • Texas led the country in renewable energy projects last year. (CNBC)

  • Ethiopia's Blue Nile mega-dam starts generating electricity. (FT)

  • All-renewable 5 MW Kalbarri microgrid goes live in Western Australia. (MK)


  • Further delays in startup of Vogtle AP1000s. (WNN)

  • Belgian PM confirms mid-March decision on nuclear power's future. (BBG)

  • Darlington-1 begins refurbishment. (ANS)

  • Holtec to supply used fuel casks to Kudankulam. (WNN)

  • France's EDF plans EUR2.5 billion rights issue. (WNN)


  • US Army to equip all bases with microgrids by 2035 as part of carbon-free electricity goal. (MK)

  • Cape Town to source its own power as state-owned monopoly Eskom falters. (FT)

  • Cyberattacks on energy infrastructure are on the rise. (OP)

  • US must increase manufacturing of core grid equipment, despite costs: Berkshire Hathaway Energy. (UD)

  • PNM warns of potential blackouts this summer in New Mexico. (KOB4)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu But For Choking Energy Supply

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) put out new rules for gas pipelines that will make them more difficult to build.  E&E News writes, “FERC updated a 23-year-old policy for assessing proposed natural gas pipelines, adding new considerations for landowners, environmental justice communities and other factors. In a separate but related decision, the commission also laid out a framework for evaluating projects’ greenhouse gas emissions.” This is black belt level technique for locking in energy crises. 

If it gets harder to build natural gas pipelines, then people's bills go up and the grid groans under strain. New England's a preview of where this new FERC policy could lead. As Doomberg has pointed out, New England has resisted the construction of a gas pipeline from the Appalachian Basin. "According to the US EIA," they write, "if the region were a standalone country it would have been the third-largest natural gas producer in the world in the first half of 2021, behind only Russia and the rest of the US. And yet, by refusing to build the necessary pipeline infrastructure, New England has opted out of sharing in this critical domestic bounty."

Now, the region is reliant on the global LNG market for natural gas. That puts it in competition with European buyers. his year, that's been a painful situation as the EU grinds its way through an energy crunch. New England politicians, some of them climate hawks like Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey, haven't been excited about how much the natural the US has been exporting because they'd rather it stay stateside, heating their constituents' homes for cheap.

As a result of all this, New England has been paying through the nose for its natural gas. In other words, New Englanders are consuming natural gas anyway. They're just getting screwed for it. 

FERC's new ruling will likely undercut our energy security and make a New England out of all of us. This is the problem with putting emissions reductions over everything. People talk about "environmental justice" but never want to talk about heating bills. As Irina Slav writes, "This is where the divide between political discourse and reality gapes wide. It is also where it becomes clear that, actually, climate change is largely a rich people’s game, even if the players often use the downtrodden for campaigning purposes by casting them as the prime victims of its impact."

Climate change is a real issue and it's a shame its most hawkish advocates have chosen to try to solve the problem by choking people's access to energy. If they keep at it, they will fail on every level, including achieving their aims because Pielke's Iron Law of Climate Policy holds true: “When policies on emissions reductions collide with policies focused on economic growth, economic growth will win out every time.” Put more forcefully, as I heard a parent once say, "I'd burn down the last tree on this earth to keep my child warm at night."

Crom's Blessing

Devon Larratt, a former Canadian special forces soldier, is the most dominant arm wrestler in the West. Soon, he will face his "Everest": The "Beast of the East," Georgian arm wrestler Levan Saginashvili. Here's a recent interview Devon did on a podcast. It's inspiring to say the least.