Energy

Economy & Business
2:04 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Partnership Seeks to Fill Jobs Gap in Oil and Gas Industry

A recent survey of 37 energy companies in southwestern Pennsylvania found some 7,000 jobs will need to be filled between now and 2020, jobs that are critical to ongoing operations.

That’s according to the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, which conducted the survey. CEO Dennis Yablonsky said with more than 1,000 energy companies in the greater region, the job needs are likely much higher. The problem is finding enough skilled workers to fill those jobs.

Enter the Appalachia Partnership Initiative.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:47 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Economic Benefits Of Renewable Energy?

Credit Roland Peschetz / Flickr

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan is the cornerstone of President Obama’s climate action plan. Four hearings are being held in four different cities: Atlanta, Washington D.C., Denver, and Pittsburgh.

During these hearing, environmental, business, and health experts will share their opinions on whether the gains that the plan gives the country are greater than the sacrifices that will need to be made.

To examine this issue from an economic standpoint we had Communitopia president Joylette Portlock and Blue/Green Alliance executive director Kim Glass stop by our South Side studio.

Portluck said that even without the new regulations, the coal industry has been shrinking its workforce.

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Environment & Energy
2:50 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Coal Supporters Rally At Highmark Stadium

Coal supporters listen to a speech by Chris Hamilton, senior vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association.
Credit Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania is the fourth-largest coal-producing state in the nation and Fred Hails, a fifth-generation coal miner from Washington County, wants to see it stay that way.

“You’re going to see rolling blackouts,” he said. “You’re going to have high electric bills, and I don’t see the sense in shipping our jobs overseas and buying back energy to support our country.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:20 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Why Solar Power is Such An Underutilized Resource

Solar energy is one of the most underutilized resources in Pennsylvania.
Credit Christine / Flickr

Solar power has been in the news and discussed since the 1970’s. So why isn’t being utilized more in the United States?

Germany, a country half the size of Texas, harnesses the sun’s energy for many of its residential homes as Mayor Peduto found out earlier this year

Joylette Portlock, President of Communitopia and creator of the Don't Just Sit There, Do Something About Climate Change web series, thinks that Pittsburgh can better utilize the sun’s rays for energy.

"The idea of harnessing the sun's energy for power has been around since the industrial revolution started, it's been around for a long time.  Just as a country, we've had the notion that fossil fuels were cheaper or more easily available, easier to exploit, and we've really built up the infrastructure around those.  And it's only when you get to periods of time, like we saw in the 70's with the oil crisis, where people change their focus and say 'hey, maybe we shouldn't be depending on other countries for our energy,' or maybe, 'we should find a fuel that's free.'"

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Energy
11:56 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Could Drones Make The Energy Business Safer?

Some say drones could make operations safer in the state's energy industry.
Credit Photo courtesy of Identified Technologies

Small, high-tech drones are being used to make movies, shoot photos for the media and find sick or diseased crops in farm fields across the country — even though the government restricts commercial use.

Now, some are saying that drones could make operations safer in an industry Pennsylvania knows well: Energy.

Unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, could be used in oil and gas operations for anything that is “dangerous or dirty to do by people,” said Michael Blades, who analyzes the drone industry for the global research firm Frost & Sullivan.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:08 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Peduto Talks About Cleaning Up the City From Top to Bottom, Using Outside Ideas

A photo of the the Heliotrope in Freiburg, Germany taken by Mayor Bill Peduto during his recent trip. Built in 1994, it was the world's first "net plus" building, it produces 3-4 times the amount of energy it uses.
Credit Bill Peduto / Twitter

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Wednesday that FBI Special Agent Stephen A. Bucar will be Pittsburgh's new public safety director.

He said Bucar brings experience with emergency preparedness, counter terrorism, along with local police experience at the state and municipal levels. And while Bucar has personal ties to this region, he comes from outside Pittsburgh city government. 

“What Bucar gives us is an opportunity to start new,” Peduto said. “We have a lot of work to do to clean up city government, and it starts at the top."

Bringing an Outside Approach to City Government and City Development

From Chicago, to Washington D.C., to Ludwigsburg Germany, since Bill Peduto was sworn in as mayor he’s done some pretty extensive traveling in order to gather and share ideas for a new Pittsburgh vision.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Is There a Rational Middle When it Comes to Energy Policy?

Paul Guggenheimer and Gregory Kallenberg
Credit Rebecca Harris

How do you create compromise when it comes to the divisive issue of energy and sustainability? We discussed that question with Gregory Kallenberg, creator of the Rational Middle Energy Series, which is making a stop in Pittsburgh this week.

The series is made up of 22 films, so viewers can start at whatever level they want, learning about the basics of energy or something deeper like transportation or conservation.

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Environment & Energy
2:13 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Chemical Plants Bring Dangers and Jobs for Workers and Community

Williams Olefins plant in Geismar, LA uses natural gas to produce ethylene and propylene, building blocks of plastic. An explosion there in June killed two workers and injured more than 100.
Credit Reid Frazier / Allegheny Front

On a Thursday morning in June, Antionette West was lying on a couch in her trailer not far from a row of chemical plants near the Mississippi River in Geismer, Lousiana, when the house began to shake.

She initially thought there had been an explosion at a vinyl chloride plant about a mile away, where there had been an explosion less than a year before. This time though, she saw black smoke coming from another direction.

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Environment & Energy
2:48 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

BlueGreen Alliance Holds Energy Roundtable

Steel workers and green industry representatives met today to discuss the future of sustainable resources in the United States.

The panel discussed ways of getting a younger generation of energy leaders and producers, as well as the federal government, more committed to developing a clean economy.

Some believe dependable Production Tax Credits (PTC) could be the answer.

Companies that produce wind, geothermal and other types of renewable energy are eligible for a PTC, which provides a 2.2-cent per kilowatt-hour benefit for the first ten years of operation.

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Education
11:45 am
Tue October 8, 2013

Student Summit to Teach High Schoolers About Energy Production

As new options for energy production become available, it's increasingly important for informed decision-making by the public regarding energy production.

The Carnegie Science Center’s Chevron Center for STEM education and career development will host high school students from across the region Friday to educate them in a wide variety of technologies used for energy production.

The Student Energy Summit will give 9th through 12th graders the chance to learn about wind, solar, nuclear, coal, natural gas and hydropower energy from industry professionals.

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Environment & Energy
1:58 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

Environmentalists Call for Tougher Regulation of PA Power Plants

Environmentalists are criticizing Pennsylvania power plants for their carbon emissions and are calling for more stringent regulations.

PennEnvironment’s report shows that, nationwide, the commonwealth has the third highest amount of power plant-borne pollution.

It comes in anticipation of federally proposed emissions regulations on new plants this year and existing plants next year.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Pennsylvania’s Climate Change Future: Read The Missing Report

A pair of legally-mandated reports outlining how climate change will affect Pennsylvania are currently a year overdue.

The state’s Climate Change Act required the publication of both reports in 2009, followed by an update every three years.

Both documents were due last year, but they’re still under review, and the state Department of Environmental Protection won’t say when they will be released.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:01 pm
Fri September 6, 2013

Pittsburgh Innovations in Energy

Southwest PA has become an energy hub, what innovations are being fueled by the industry?
Credit Ari Moore / Flickr

When it comes to Pittsburgh’s growing energy landscape, innovation does not usually come to mind right away. But the region has been at the forefront of important energy innovations at the private, federal, and university level for more than 100 years.

Two events in the coming weeks aim to bring these worlds together, the Enterprise Forum Pittsburgh and the 3rd annual Energy and Innovation Conference.

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Environment & Energy
10:34 am
Thu August 29, 2013

How Could OSHA’s New Silica Rules Impact The Natural Gas Industry?

Federal labor officials are proposing new rules to help prevent an old hazard of the trade: diseases caused by breathing in silica dust. Silicosis has long been a plight of workers in construction and manufacturing, but concerns have shifted in recent years to those who toil in the growing natural gas industry.

Sand is an important ingredient in most fracking fluid recipes. It’s mixed with chemicals and water and blasted deep underground where the tiny grains help keep cracks in the shale rock open for all that natural gas to come through.

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Environment & Energy
3:21 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Sen. Casey: More Money for Energy Research Needed

Funding for the National Energy Technology Laboratory is set to be cut by 20 percent in the upcoming federal budget, and that has U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania upset. 

The Democrat has sent a letter to House and Senate leaders calling for the restoration of more than $80 million in the NETL budget. 

Casey said the funding is important to not only the region’s economy, but also the future of the nation's energy supply.

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Environment & Energy
4:17 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

Workers Rally for Southwest PA Coal Jobs

Boilermakers, utilities workers and politicians rallied Friday in an effort to save southwestern Pennsylvania coal jobs.

Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) took to the megaphone outside of Boilermakers Local 154 Hall in Pittsburgh to take a stand against the Environmental Protection Agency and its latest regulations that contribute to the closing of two Pittsburgh power plants.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:24 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

United Nations Report Examines "Climate Extremes" Over Past Decade

Sea ice, shown here in Nunavut, in northern Canada, reflects more sunshine than in the past, while and open ocean absorbs more, accelerating melting.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

Extreme weather, greenhouse gases, carbon monoxide and glacial melting; all these buzzwords have increasingly entered the public vernacular in the past 20 years. 

Following a UN report by the World Meteorological Organization, scientists expect that the topic of global warming and climate change will continue to be a hot issue.  The report, “The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Extremes,” cites that the past decade has seen an abundance of greenhouse gas emissions that has caused increased temperatures on both hemispheres, all oceans and an accompanying rapid decline in arctic sea ice and glaciers. 

Director of Science at the Carnegie Science Center, John Radzilowicz, has been following the topic of global climate change and was not necessarily surprised by the UN report.  He was optimistic, however, that the report was gaining attention and combined a multitude of data pointing to the extremes in weather conditions throughout the world.

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Environment & Energy
3:30 am
Mon July 1, 2013

Researchers: Solar/Wind Power More Beneficial in Eastern U.S.

California has more solar panels soaking up the sun and creating electricity than any other state, but researchers say those panels would be better off in places like cloudy Pittsburgh.

Carnegie Mellon University researchers said the same is true in western Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia when it comes to wind farms.

Kyle Siler-Evans, co-author of the recently published research paper, said the goal of solar and wind power is to mitigate climate damages and improve health and air quality, but the plants are going out west where they are not needed as much.

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