Capital Energy: Exploding oil trains, Bloomberg’s split, the Canadian take

May 2, 2014 by  
Filed under Wind Energy Tips

By Scott Waldman and David Giambusso

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OIL TRAIN EXPLOSION AND SAFETY: New York released a long-awaited oil train safety report on on the same day a derailed train blew up and then drained into a river near Lynchburg, Virginia. Moments after the Virginia accident, which also shut down the city water supply for Richmond, the company that brings much of the crude oil through New York announced that it would replace its entire fleet with safer cars by June 1.

New York’s safety report is essentially a request for more help from Washington. The number of trains carrying crude through New York has increased so rapidly they now carry 160,000 barrels of oil a day. The report found that 82 percent of the cars are deficient and that the state does not have the staffing to properly handle spill response and emergency planning so it will need more federal assistance. The report did not lay out the slate of more aggressive actions some rail safety experts hoped could make New York a national model.


  • Bloomberg tapped to head sustainability accounting board
  • Keystone vote held up by Obamacare-related amendment
  • Alberta energy minister touts clean energy efforts at city forum


Here’s a video of the train burning.

– The city of Lynchburg declared a state of emergency, and officials were hopeful that river flooding would quickly carry the oil downstream.

– The east coast received 400,000 barrels a day of crude oil by rail in January and February, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

IN NYC, ALBERTA ENERGY MINISTER TOUTS CLEAN ENERGY: At a meeting of the New York Energy Forum, Diana McQueen, Minister of Energy for Alberta, Canada said along with a booming oil sands industry, her province is also investing in land conservation, carbon capture and clean energy innovations. “When we talk about energy development in our province we talk about environmental development and energy development as two sides of the same coin,” McQueen told a group of about 30 energy executives, academics and journalists gathered at the McGraw-Hill building on Sixth Avenue. “It’s really important, as we develop our resources, to do so in as sustainable a way as we can.”

– Will Western Canadian natural gas producers be affected by U.S. shale production? Alberta Oil asks. With natural gas pipelines increasingly being converted to oil, producers in the Canadian West may need to find new export options.

–Car chargers from Montreal to Midtown: Dominic Poirie, Quebec’s delegate general to New York state, says efforts by Quebec and New York to support widespread adoption of electric vehicles will benefit everyone, The Albany Times Union reports. Quebec has 250 charging stations across the province. “It would be great if we could do that from Montreal to Plattsburgh and Plattsburgh to Albany,” Poirier said. “And then Albany to New York City, where I am.”

BLOOMBERG AND STEYER SPLIT: In a New York Times op-ed yesterday, former mayor Michael Bloomberg diverged from his ally in politically active environmentalism, billionaire Tom Steyer, on the volatile question of whether hydraulic fracturing of shale gas can safely help slow the march of climate change, Elana Schor reports for EE News.

And if you enjoyed the Bloomberg op-ed in the New York Times yesterday, check out Russell Gold’s piece in the Wall Street Journal from three weeks ago, which says essentially the same thing. Gold, author of “The Boom: How Fracking Ignited the American Energy Revolution and Changed the World,” tweeted links to the articles side-by-side yesterday:

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WIND-POWERED BEER: TheEmpire Brewing Company in Syracuse hooked itself up to the local wind turbine to power their operation.

NY NUCLEAR WORKER BANNED FOR A YEAR: Daniel Wilson, a chemistry manager at the Indian Point Nuclear facility was banned from the industry for a year by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for allegedly faking a report and covering up excessive particulate matter in generator fuel, the AP reports.

FRACKING FOR WATER: California’s drought has developed an interesting relationship between farmers and oilers, NPR’s Lauren Sommer reports. California oil wells produce more water than oil, and Chevron filters that water and sells it to a local water district. Interest in the technology is growing in the Central Valley, but high costs and uneasy relations between oil and agriculture might get in the way.

BOOM BACKS UP: The fracking boom in the Northeast has caused a pipeline backup, Alan Neuhauser reports for U.S. News and World Report. That has lowered prices in the Marcellus region and pushed a need for more pipeline capacity.

GOLDMAN VICTORY LAP: CCTV profiles Goldman award winner Helen Slottje as the woman who helped a town take on “energy giants.”

BARCLAYS U.S. CHIEF WAS UNAWARE OF ENERGY SCAM: The New York Post hits Joseph Gold, Barclay’s new U.S. chief, after he “failed to spot and stop an alleged scam by four traders in his unit to run up energy prices in California from 2006 to 2008.” The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hit Barclays with a $500 million fine, which the London-based bank is fighting. Gold was not fined, the Post reports.

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GE’S BIGGEST DEAL EVER: General Electric’s acquisition of the energy assets of France’s Alstom SA will cost the company $13.5 billion, The Wall Street Journal’s Ted Mann and Joann Lublin report. That’s about $1 billion more than the company originally thought, and it all started in a restaurant in Paris.

PA’S FRACKING HEALTH STUDY: The debate over whether or not fracking is harmful to human health in Pennsylvania is clouded by emotion and little reliable information, the Pocono record reports. (Sound familiar?) A health registry tracking illnesses could lay some of the same old tired arguments to rest.

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– The New York Power Authority announced completion of energy efficiency upgrades throughout the Corinth School district that are expected save $174,000 and 600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions a year.

– Buffalo Watt has been selected by New Wave Energy Corp. to deliver its Converged Energy Platform.


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