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NEWS
February 7, 2014 | By Evan Halper
WASHINGTON -- Alarmed by the shooting attack on a Silicon Valley-area power station last spring, several senators called on regulators to review security operations at electrical utilities and consider imposing new rules to protect against future attacks. “Last year's sophisticated attack on the Metcalf substation in California's Silicon Valley was a wake-up call to the risk of physical attacks on the grid,” said a letter the senators sent regulators Friday. “The incident came uncomfortably close to causing a shutdown of a critical substation which could have resulted in a massive blackout in California and elsewhere in the West.” The letter was signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and fellow Democratic Sens.
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NATIONAL
April 15, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever limits on air toxics, including emissions of mercury, arsenic and acid gases, preserving a far-reaching rule the White House had touted as central to President Obama's environmental agenda. In a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the rule regulating power plants "was substantively and procedurally valid," turning aside challenges brought by Republican-led states that had argued it was onerous and environmental groups that had contended it did not go far enough.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2012 | By Dean Kuipers
As reported on the Los Angeles Times Politics Now blog, the Obama administration on Tuesday announced stringent rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants. Most climate scientists say that carbon dioxide is the principal gas responsible for global warming. As pointed out in the story by Neela Banerjee, supporters of emissions standards were surprised and pleased to find the administration pushing forward with these new rules, after some indications lately that the president and his administration might pull back from aggressive new environmental protections during an election year.
NATIONAL
April 7, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON -- New draft rules limiting greenhouse gases from existing power plants will give states the tools to curtail emissions that drive climate change without shuttering lots of facilities and threatening electric reliability, said Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, at a panel discussion in Washington on Monday. “Nothing we do can threaten reliability,” McCarthy said at a conference hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, especially because “in a changing climate, it will be increasingly challenging to maintain a reliable energy supply.” In a sweeping speech on climate change in June, President Obama directedthe EPA to develop rules to cut greenhouse gases from power plants, the single largest domestic source of heat-trapping emissions.
NEWS
March 27, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee
The Obama administration announced long-awaited rules that would sharply limit the output of carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, the gases that the vast majority of scientists say are the primary contributor to global climate change. The announcement Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency signaled that the administration's commitment to tackling climate change has not entirely fallen away, despite the controversy it could unleash in an election year. Delays of key EPA rules over the last six months and President Obama's recent statements touting oil development in response to high gasoline prices stirred nervousness among environmentalists that this standard would also be shelved.
NATIONAL
July 11, 2013 | By Marina Villeneuve, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
WASHINGTON - Power plants across the country are at increased risk of temporary shutdown and reduced power generation as temperatures and sea levels continue to rise and water becomes less available, the Energy Department said Thursday. By 2030, there will be nearly $1 trillion in energy assets in the Gulf Coast  region alone at risk from increasingly costly extreme hurricanes and sea level rises, according to an Energy Department report on the effects of climate change on energy infrastructure.
NATIONAL
June 22, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - President Obama plans to call for curtailing emissions of carbon dioxide from existing power plants, the country's single largest source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, in a speech to outline sweeping new initiatives to address climate change, sources with knowledge of the proposal said Saturday. The White House announced that Obama would make a speech on climate change on Tuesday afternoon at Georgetown University in Washington. Under the president's plan, the Environmental Protection Agency would be asked to develop rules setting emissions standards for existing power plants.
NATIONAL
March 27, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Taking aim at the gases that the vast majority of scientists say are the main contributor to climate change, the Obama administration proposed rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, a move that could essentially bar new coal-fired electric generation facilities. Tuesday's announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency signaled the administration's willingness to weigh in on politically sensitive environmental issues, even if its decisions court controversy in an election year.
WORLD
December 4, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
Kazuo Okawa's luckless career as a "nuclear gypsy" began one night at a poker game. The year was 1992, and jobs were scarce in this farming town in the shadow of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. An unemployed Okawa gambled and drank a lot. He was dealing cards when a stranger made him an offer: manage a crew of unskilled workers at the nearby plant. "Just gather a team of young guys and show up at the front gate; I'll tell you what to do," instructed the man, who Okawa later learned was a recruiter for a local job subcontracting firm.
NATIONAL
February 8, 2010 | By Edmund H. Mahony and Eric Gershon
A devastating explosion destroyed a Connecticut power plant Sunday morning as workers cleared a natural gas piping system, killing at least five and injuring many more, emergency response officers said. Homeowners miles away said the 11 a.m. blast at the Kleen Energy Systems power plant in Middletown created a shock wave that some people mistook for an earthquake or some other act of nature. "I felt the house shake. I thought a tree fell on the house," Middletown resident Steve Clark told the Associated Press.
BUSINESS
March 27, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Electricity customers in Southern California would receive $1.4 billion in refunds on their bills over the next eight years as part of an agreement between two utilities and ratepayer organizations over the closing of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. The proposed settlement, announced Thursday, still needs approval from the California Public Utilities Commission. Both ratepayer advocates and executives at Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. said they were satisfied with the deal.
NATIONAL
March 16, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
DE KALB, Miss. - Looming like a spaceship over pine and sweet-gum forest, the high-tech power plant under construction in rural Kemper County is a $5-billion wager on an energy future that includes coal. The Kemper plant is scheduled to open this year as the first in the United States to ramp up technology to remove carbon dioxide emissions on a large scale. If it works as planned, up to 65% of the plant's potential carbon dioxide emissions would be removed. But if its progress is any indication, building a coal plant that can sharply reduce greenhouse gas pollution is a white-knuckle ride.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 9, 2014 | By Bob Pool
Officials kept their cool as they turned up the heat to finish construction of a new central utility plant in the middle of Los Angeles International Airport. LAX operators invited retired plant engineers to return and help run the old heating and cooling plant while current engineers were being trained to operate a new $438-million facility. On Tuesday, the retirees will be on hand at noon when 79-year-old former chief building operating engineer Walt Garrick flips the switch to shut down the old plant, which has been in continuous operation keeping airport passengers and workers comfortable since 1961.
NATIONAL
February 21, 2014 | By Evan Halper
With the shooters who attacked a Silicon Valley power station last April still at large and Congress increasing pressure on utilities to do more to protect such facilities, electricity companies are looking at a new security technology popular among urban police forces. Sensors that can immediately track, within 10 meters, the location of gunfire will soon be tested at two power stations. An executive at the Bay Area firm that manufactures that technology, ShotSpotter, said public safety concerns preclude him from disclosing exactly where.
NEWS
February 7, 2014 | By Evan Halper
WASHINGTON -- Alarmed by the shooting attack on a Silicon Valley-area power station last spring, several senators called on regulators to review security operations at electrical utilities and consider imposing new rules to protect against future attacks. “Last year's sophisticated attack on the Metcalf substation in California's Silicon Valley was a wake-up call to the risk of physical attacks on the grid,” said a letter the senators sent regulators Friday. “The incident came uncomfortably close to causing a shutdown of a critical substation which could have resulted in a massive blackout in California and elsewhere in the West.” The letter was signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and fellow Democratic Sens.
BUSINESS
February 6, 2014 | By Shan Li
California hasn't completely escaped the effects of the polar vortex. Although the Golden State avoided the freezing snowfalls that affected regions farther east, power plants in the Southland are now grappling with low supplies of natural gas brought on by cold weather that won't quit. That has prompted the state's electric power grid operator, known as the California Independent System Operator, to issue a Flex Alert asking for voluntary energy conservation on Thursday until 10 p.m. PHOTOS: Richest and poorest cities in America The operator, which normally issues such alerts during the hot days of summer when air conditioners are on full blast, is working closely with California gas companies to ensure "the reliability of the electric and gas systems in California.
NATIONAL
September 20, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - The tough restrictions on new power plant emissions proposed by the Obama administration Friday set the stage for the far thornier and significant decision due next year: What will the Environmental Protection Agency do to rein in greenhouse gases from existing power plants? The nation's power plants are the single largest source of heat-trapping emissions. Supporters and critics of the EPA's proposed rule are parsing it, in particular, for clues to how the administration would reduce carbon dioxide from existing plants that burn coal, the biggest source of fuel for electricity.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 3, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez
A nuclear power plant in Avila Beach shut down one of its two generators after an electrical arc that apparently was sparked during a storm, a utility spokeswoman said Monday night. Unit 2 at the Diablo Canyon Power Plant went offline automatically Sunday morning as rain fell along the Central Coast, Pacific Gas & Electric spokeswoman Kristin Inman said. "The system performed as designed and automatically went offline to protect equipment," PG&E said in as statement. Inman said a preliminary investigation shows that the arc resulted from a buildup of dust that mixed with moisture on a lightning arrestor.
SCIENCE
January 13, 2014 | By Tony Barboza
Carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's energy sector rose about 2% in 2013 after declining for several years, federal energy officials reported Monday. The reversal came because power plants last year burned more coal to generate electricity, after years in which natural gas accounted for an increasing share of the nation's electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the analytical branch of the Department of Energy. Though the 2013 figures are not final, once all the data are in, analysts expect a roughly 2% increase in carbon emissions over 2012 because of a small rise in coal consumption, the agency said in a report posted online on Monday.
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