energy

Venezuela’s Business Elite Face Scrutiny In $1.2 Billion Money Laundering Case

23 hours ago
PEDRO PORTAL / MIAMI HERALD

As Venezuela’s oil-based economy continues to crumble, a politically connected class of businessmen with financial ties to Miami has grown fabulously wealthy from energy deals with the socialist government. Among the Venezuelan upper crust who have made fortunes during the Bolivarian revolution: Alejandro Betancourt.

Florida lawmakers this month approved a controversial bill that is expected to make it harder to put citizens’ initiatives on the ballot.

J. David Ake / AP

A new bill to put a price on carbon dioxide emissions is being introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives, and three of the five sponsors are from Florida.

Andrew Quintana / WLRN

New leaders in Florida may mean new opportunities for the state’s energy policy, according to Hal Harvey, the head of a think tank called Energy Innovation and a co-author of a book called Designing Climate Solutions. The book looks at the most effective policies for limiting climate change and how to implement them. Harvey says there’s a lot that newly elected and re-elected leaders on state and local levels can do.

A lot of smart people spend a lot of time trying to predict how much oil and gas is going to come out of the ground in the future.

Lately, they've been getting it wrong.

"Unpredictability, measured as the frequency of extreme errors in ... projections, has increased in the most recent decade," according to an unusual new study by a team at Carnegie Mellon University that found analysts are getting worse at predicting both how much oil and gas will be produced and how much Americans will need.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN

In the southern part of the Sunshine State, solar energy is trending.

Proterra website

More than 600 local policymakers and activists are set to share ideas on regional challenges at the Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday and Friday. And sea level rise and traffic are likely to be major topics of conversation.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

TALLAHASSEE -- In a rare rebuke to Florida Power & Light, state utility regulators Tuesday rejected the company’s request to charge $49 million more for the planning of a nuclear reactor that the company cannot say will ever be built.

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.

Pages