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EGEB: Keystone oil spill in North Dakota, US green energy grows by 6.15% to date, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • The Keystone oil pipeline has spilled around 383,000 gallons of tar sands oil in North Dakota.
  • Non-hydro green energy grew in the US by 6.15% compared to 2018.
  • Credit Suisse senior banker says investments could ‘go to zero quickly’ if companies ignore climate change.
  • Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have Twitter “words” over the Green New Deal.

The Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB): A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Oil spill in North Dakota

The Keystone oil pipeline has spilled approximately 383,000 gallons of tar sands oil in northeastern North Dakota, according to North Dakota state regulators on Thursday. The pipeline was shut down on Tuesday after crews discovered the leak.

TC Energy (formerly known as TransCanada), who owns the pipeline, said the leak affected 22,500 square feet of land, or, in a statement that appears to be downplaying the incident, “less than half the size of a football field… We will not have the exact figure until oil recovery has been completed.”

According to PBS, Karl Rockeman, North Dakota’s water quality division director, “said some wetlands were affected, but not any sources of drinking water. Regulators have been at the site since Wednesday afternoon monitoring the spill and cleanup, he said.”

The $5.2 billion Keystone pipeline, which was first used in 2011, carries oil across Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada, to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma.

This isn’t the first time the Keystone pipeline has sprung a leak. In 2011, it lost more than 14,000 gallons of oil in southeastern North Dakota. And in 2017, it leaked around 407,000 gallons of oil in northeastern South Dakota.

EIA report: US green energy grows

The US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) October report, “Electric Power Monthly,” is out. It contains data for August 2019.

According to the report, green energy accounted for 18.49% of US electrical generation to August 2019, up from 17.95% in 2018.

And Clean Technica explains:

Non-hydro renewables accounted for 11.44% of total US electrical production during the first two-thirds of 2019, growing by an impressive 6.15% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Solar grew by 13.7% to August 2019, as compared to the same period in 2018, accounting for just over 2.7% of total US electrical output.

Wind energy increased by 4.4% to August 2019 and accounted for 6.94% of all US electricity.

There was a 5.2% decrease in hydropower’s output. Nuclear-generated electricity declined by 0.6%, and coal-generated electricity dropped by 13.9%. But natural gas, also a fossil fuel, replaced a portion of coal’s decline, as it grew by 6.5%.

Credit Suisse head’s warning to fossil-fuel energy sector

Marisa Drew, head of Credit Suisse’s impact advisory and finance division, spoke with Yahoo Finance UK at the One Young World Summit in London last week. She had this to say about the gas and oil sector:

If someone has not priced in the risk, you could easily see something that seems like a great investment go to zero quickly.

Let’s take the energy sector for a second. There will be a day when the world can be 100% reliant on alternative energy. If you’re in an old school-energy business and we hit that moment where we switch, guess what? The value of those old school investments isn’t going to be worth much.

Increasingly if you’re an asset manager, the people who are giving you that money want to know what you’re doing with it, is it being invested in an environmentally friendly way?

As an individual, so many of our clients now want to do something positive, not just in philanthropy and with their day-to-day action but with their investments. All these forces are coming together.

Alaska’s governor sees the Green New Deal as a threat

Governor Mike Dunleavy (R-AK) told Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) on Twitter that the Green New Deal would “destroy Alaska’s economy.”

(By the way, the governor’s Twitter feed is “protected” — you need to be approved by his administrators to see his tweets. I don’t think I have ever seen another public servant do this — I’d be curious to know if anyone else has.)

It’s not surprising Dunleavy would feel this way; according to the US Energy Information Administration:

  • Alaska is one of the top five crude oil producers in the nation, and the state’s oil output in 2017 was the highest in three years.
  • Alaska ranks third in the nation in natural gas gross withdrawals, but most of the state’s gas production is reinjected into oil fields to help maintain crude oil production rates.
  • Because of Alaska’s harsh winters, energy-intensive industries, and small population, the state’s per capita energy consumption is the third highest in the nation, after Louisiana and Wyoming.

So AOC had this to say in response to Dunleavy:

Perhaps Dunleavy might want to explore using all that land to pursue the creation of jobs in the green energy sector, instead of destroying his beautiful wilderness — not to mention the health of his residents — for the grandchildren of Alaskans?

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.