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13 major clean energy breakthroughs of 2013
While the news about climate change seems to get worse every day, the rapidly improving technology, declining costs, and increasing accessibility of clean energy is the true bright spot in the march toward a zero-carbon future. 2013 had more clean energy milestones than we could fit on one page, but here are thirteen of the key breakthroughs that happened this year.
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Massachusetts cities sign deals for wind power from Maine
Electric Light & Power
U.S.-based renewable energy company First Wind and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. signed an agreement that will bring renewable energy from First Wind’s planned Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, Maine to 17 Massachusetts municipal utilities.
US energy outlook: More output, less usage
The Associated Press via Portland Press Herald
The Energy Department says the nation's energy picture is getting ever rosier. Production is rising, consumption is slowing, and prices are expected to remain in check. According to the Energy Department's annual outlook, domestic oil output may regain the peak it reached in 1970 over the next two years, and gasoline prices will fall over the same period to just over $3 per gallon.
US approves 2nd natural gas export application
American Energy Coalition
The Obama administration recently opened the door to a new era of U.S. energy exports, approving a second liquefied natural gas project, according to a report by Reuters. The Energy Department's approval of unrestricted natural gas exports from Freeport LNG's Quintana Island, Texas, terminal ends nearly a two-year pause in its review of export applications as the administration addressed concerns that exporting domestic natural gas could force U.S. manufacturers and consumers to pay more, the report states.
Maine environmental groups clash over wind power
Portland Press Herald via The Union Leader
Two environmental groups are going head to head over the impact on wildlife and the future benefits of wind energy development in Maine. Friends of Maine's Mountains challenged Maine Audubon to retract a recent report that says wind energy is sometimes compatible with wildlife, and to acknowledge funding it receives from the wind power industry.
Maine PUC begins rolling out Green Power Initiative
If you live in southern Maine, you may have received a notice in the mail recently inviting you to sign up for something called Maine Green Power. The mailing indicates that by enrolling, you'll be supporting renewable energy efforts, such as the Maine Tidal Energy Project. A select number of households in "areas of high interest" were chosen for this mailing, but more missives will soon follow, as the Maine Public Utilities Commission gradually rolls out its optional green energy program for consumers. Jennifer Mitchell explains.
ISO-New England: Grid has enough power for winter demand
New Haven Register
Officials with the regional electric grid operator for New England say there are enough resources needed to meet demand for power this winter, but they also warn that certain factors related to how natural gas is used in producing that power could create reliability problems during the season's coldest days.
Why the winter storms could help propane companies
Cold winter weather is one of the major drivers of earnings for propane distributors, as the fuel is used for home heating in many areas in the U.S. As a result, cold weather is a positive indicator for propane distributors. Last week had slightly milder-than-average weather, a small negative for propane companies, such as AmeriGas Partners, Ferrellgas Partners, and Suburban Propane Partners. However, strong winter storms could help to push up propane demand. The weather throughout the winter as a whole will be an important factor for earnings.
Mexico's pride, oil, may be opened to outsiders
The New York Times
Every gas station in Mexico is stamped with the green-and-white logo of the state-owned oil monopoly, the economic lifeblood of the government. Oil Expropriation Day, commemorating the day Mexico seized control of the industry from foreign companies in 1938, is celebrated with speeches and even parades in some towns. An old song, “The Oil Worker Hymn,” credits oil with “saving our fatherland.” But now, in what could be the biggest economic change in two decades, President Enrique Peña Nieto is on the verge of rewriting the Constitution to open Mexico’s oil, gas and electricity industry to private investment — a provocative move expected to lure international oil companies and expand North America’s energy supply while testing the grip oil has on Mexico.
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7-Eleven introduces gifts for millennials
Convenience Store Decisions
The holidays are full of surprises, and 7-Eleven stores' variety of gift options this season is a pleasant one. To appeal to Gen Y, or millennial-age, (born between 1980 and 2000) shoppers, the retailer's selection is heavy on pop culture, pro sports, tech and toys, gadget-y stocking stuffers, video games, DVDs … and of course, gift cards. Always, gift cards. Perhaps an even better surprise is the competitive pricing 7-Eleven offers on many of its hottest gift items. Comparable to big-box retailers and even online retailers, 7-Eleven's prices let customers shop easily without paying a premium for convenience.
2014 forecast gives C-stores a reason to be optimistic
onvenience Store News
With an improving labor picture, the national economy as measured by the Gross Domestic Product is projected to grow "in the high 2 or low 3 [percent]" range next year, according to Convenience Store News' Consulting Economist Maureen Maguire, president of ThinkResearch and chief analyst for the annual CSNews Industry Forecast Study.
Gasoline futures gain on report supply fell before Fed decision
Gasoline rose after an industry-funded report that stockpiles fell and before the Federal Reserve announces whether it will taper its bond-buying. The American Petroleum Institute recently reported that gasoline supplies declined 481,000 barrels. The Energy Information Administration will probably report a gain of 1.5 million barrels, according to the median estimate of nine analysts in a Bloomberg survey.
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