OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Decision looms in China trade battle

STATE OF PLAY: The Commerce Department will give its final ruling Tuesday on whether to slap Chinese firms with anti-dumping penalties on utility-scale wind tower imports.

The tariffs could be as high as 73 percent for Chinese wind towers that generate at least 100 kilowatts, and could top out at 60 percent for Vietnamese imports. 

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The decision is part of a larger clean-energy trade spat between the Obama administration and China.

In October, Commerce approved tariffs on Chinese solar firms. Those penalties ranged between 34 and 47 percent for a bulk of the Chinese companies selling solar cells and panels in the U.S.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Monday and over the weekend . . .

– EPA emails under internal probe
– Former head of Energy Dept. research agency heads to Google
– GOP governors urge Obama to abandon ‘fracking’ rule
– More green groups join effort to change Senate rules
Green group sues Interior over ‘critically flawed’ offshore oil plan
– House Republicans plan to put fuel standard on trial in next Congress
– Retiring Sen. Jeff Bingaman: Abandon sweeping energy bills

NEWS BITES:

Markey wants gas study do-over

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) says the Energy Department should go back to the drawing board with a recent study that called expanded natural gas exports an economic boost for the nation.

Markey sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu alleging that the DOE-commissioned study, conducted by NERA Economic Consulting, rests on bad methodology and out-of-date data.


“The flaws in the NERA study indicate that we still have a long way to go before we can be confident that large-scale [liquefied natural gas] exporting is truly in America’s interest and can be done in a way that protects American consumers and manufacturers,” the Bay State Democrat writes in his Dec. 14 critique.

Markey, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is an opponent of proposals to ship U.S. gas to other nations. DOE is currently weighing a suite of export applications, and plans to use the NERA study unveiled Dec. 5 to inform its review.

Speaking of gas exports: On Tuesday the Atlantic Council will host a forum titled “Energy and Security from the Caspian to Europe.”
 
It will delve into a new report of the same name written by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Republican staff.
 
Retiring Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the committee’s top Republican, floated legislation alongside the report that would authorize U.S. natural gas exports to NATO allies.

Natural gas group goes to battle over Matt Damon movie

Shale gas industry group Energy in Depth will distribute hydraulic fracturing “fact sheets” to counter the buzz surrounding Matt Damon’s new film, “Promised Land.”

The Gus Van Sant-directed flick follows a gas company salesman, played by Damon, who tries to convince people in rural America to sell drilling rights to their land.

Energy in Depth is concerned the movie casts a negative light on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, according to The Guardian.

Fracking involves injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into tight rock formations to tap natural gas deposits.

The practice, which the industry says is safe, has been credited with the nation’s natural gas boom. But environmentalists are concerned the process could contaminate drinking water and release heat-trapping methane gas into the air.

Energy Secretary Chu to make case for wind power . . .

Chu and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) will make the case for federal support for wind power as the industry and the Obama administration push Congress to renew a major incentive.

Chu and Udall will hold a webcast chat Wednesday about wind power’s future and take questions from in-person and social media audiences.

“During the event, Secretary Chu and Senator Udall will discuss the progress of wind energy and the importance of robust policy support to ensure continued American leadership in the sector,” DOE said about the Wednesday afternoon event.

The event comes as wind advocates are pressing Congress to extend the production tax credit that’s slated to lapse Dec. 31.

. . . as replacement speculation heats up

Speaking of Chu, The Washington Post reports on a possible replacement if, as many expect, he heads for the exits.

From the Post:

One name seems to be popping up increasingly in the chatter about possible picks to replace the likely departing Steven Chu as secretary of energy: Tom Steyer, head of Farallon Capital Management, one of the world’s biggest hedge funds

Steyer, a billionaire and major Democratic donor, is highly regarded by the White House, snagging a coveted spot at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Check out their whole item here.

Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Zack Colman, zcolman@thehill.com.

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