OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Coal is out, natural gas is in

THE HIP FUEL: It’s pretty clear by now that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon rules for power plants will hit the coal industry hard. But the big winner, it seems, will be natural gas.

The EPA predicted in its regulatory analysis that by the time the rules fully take effect in 2030, natural gas will overtake coal as the nation’s No. 1 electricity fuel, with 32 percent of the market, to coal’s 31 percent.

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Of course, natural gas has been taking coal’s market share for years, as gas has been getting cheaper and complying with coal regulations has been getting more expensive.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a big proponent of natural gas, isn’t so quick to give EPA much credit. “The EPA rule is not spurring work for natural gas,” she said. “Natural gas is spurring work for itself.”

Read more about the natural gas boon here.


THE ROLLOUT: EPA chief Gina McCarthy will continue her tour for the power plant carbon emissions rule Thursday with a keynote speech in D.C. at the Energy Efficiency Forum, sponsored by Johnson Controls and the United States Energy Association.

Other speakers at the event include Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Dennis McGinn, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment.

NATURAL GAS: Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) will speak at the Natural Gas Roundtable and Senate Natural Gas Caucus Thursday.

The so-called "bridge fuel" by President Obama has steadily garnered more attention in Congress. Barrasso has pushed for more gas exports in light of the Ukraine crisis, and the administration has pushed it as the key transition fuel in the shift to cleaner energy sources.


Rest of Thursday's agenda ...

Sen. Heitkamp and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will join a conversation on advanced coal technology hosted by the Coal Utilization Research Council.

The House Natural Resources Committee’s subcommittee on energy and mineral resources will hold a hearing on opportunities for innovation in energy jobs. Lawmakers will hear from representatives of the oil and gas industry, aerospace company Alliant Techsystems Inc. and the Center for Clean Energy Innovation


NEWS BITES:

Arctic ... Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Brian Salerno commented on the complexity of operating, and setting rules for companies exploring oil and gas in the Arctic Wednesday.

"When you think about what it takes to operate there the challenges are extraordinary," Salerno said at the Capitol Hill Oceans Week event.

Salerno added that the bureau is "working with industry to make sure they know what the expectations are."

Cantor ... Not to pummel you with news on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's demise, but here's a little snippet on what his exit may mean for energy policy.

While Cantor's exit doesn't signal a crucial shift in the energy landscape, said Andrew Powaleny of the Herald Group, and former House Energy and Commerce staffer, it does mean the GOP has lost a "great cheerleader for pro-growth energy policies."

"Whoever replaces Majority Leader Cantor will be looked upon to provide a deeper contrast between the administration and the Congress," Powaleny said. "I would expect to see a greater push on conservative initiatives like the Keystone XL pipeline, and opening up more federal lands for drilling while a continuing to beat back the administration’s recent emissions plan.”

That guy that beat Cantor ... Republican candidate for Virginia's 7th congressional district, Dave Brat, beat Cantor last night, in case you hadn't already heard. Notably missing is a mention of coal, you know, that fuel Republicans, and pro-energy Democrats are fighting a war to save.

Here's what his website states on where he stands on energy:  "I support a broad-spectrum energy approach that relies on the free market. The private sector must be set free to invest in natural gas, wind, solar, oil, nuclear, and other forms of energy as we move forward. Ending our reliance on foreign oil and moving toward energy independence is vital to the future welfare of America."


AROUND THE WEB:

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. believes the ban on exporting crude oil from the United States is good for the economy and should stay, Bloomberg News reports.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) said he will sign into law a bill to freeze increases in the state’s renewable energy and energy efficiency mandates for utilities, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Sens. Tim Johnson (R-S.D.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) have introduced a bill to designate the bison as the national mammal of the United States, the Sious Falls, S.D., Argus Leader reports.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out Wednesday's stories...

- Coal company vows to fight EPA climate rule
- First House hearing set on EPA climate rule
- Beer giant sets record for water, energy efficiency
- DOE announces $10 million for grid reliability projects
- Senate GOP presses Landrieu on wildfire funding
- Koch group attacks Dems on Obamacare, Keystone
- EPA's water rule takes bipartisan beating
- FERC to appeal filing on energy saving incentives
- Rahall touts fight against EPA rule in new ad
- Ukraine declines Russia's offer of gas discounts
- Google planning tools for energy power sector
- Survey: Most would pay more to reduce carbon emissions
- New EPA rules may give natural gas a boost

Please send tips and comments to Laura Barron-Lopez, laurab@thehill.com, and Timothy Cama, tcama@thehill.com.

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