Top 10 energy stories of 2012

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David Holt
President, Consumer Energy Alliance
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      David Holt

      David Holt is president of the non-profit organization, Consumer Energy Alliance. Consumer Energy Alliance was formed to help support the thoughtful utilization of all domestic energy resources to improve domestic energy security and reduce consumer prices. The mission of Consumer Energy Alliance is to improve consumer understanding of our nation's energy security, including the need to reduce reliance on imported oil and natural gas, maintain reasonable energy prices for consumers, and continue efforts to diversify our energy resources.

      As part of its efforts to build dialogue between consumers and the energy sector, Consumer Energy Alliance played a key role in the recent Mineral Management Service’s (MMS) Five Year Plan for the Outer Continental Shelf. Working with an expansive coalition of energy and consumer groups, CEA helped deliver tens of thousands of public comments in support of thoughtful offshore oil & gas development – including the areas offshore Alaska and Virginia.

      Consumer Energy Alliance now has more than 115 consumer and energy groups as part of its Alliance. Through its various activities, CEA works to continue to expand dialogue and develop joint messaging among the energy and consuming sectors.

8. Nuclear industry introduces plans for smaller reactors. The start of 2012 looked bleak for the American nuclear industry: increased scrutiny of facilities after the 2011 Fukushima tragedy in Japan and mounting construction costs had doomed the much-hyped American nuclear renaissance. Then, in late 2012 the industry announced plans to move forward with a new generation of “small modular reactors” — portable, cost-effective reactors that would be designed with unique safety features.

9. Obama administration blocks offshore leasing in Atlantic for oil, moves forward with offshore wind. Despite vocal support for offshore drilling from politicians along the East Coast, the Obama administration announced it would prohibit drilling in the Atlantic in its next five-year leasing plan. A few months later, the administration announced plans for its first-ever renewable energy lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf, opening significant blocks of the Atlantic to offshore wind development.

10. EPA denies Renewable Fuel Standard waiver despite worst drought in decades. On the heels of one of the worst droughts to hit the United States in decades, nearly a dozen states called on the EPA to waive the federal Renewable Fuel Standard in order to provide some relief to those industries hit hardest by high corn prices, namely the livestock industry. Despite bipartisan calls for a waiver, the EPA rejected the waiver request in November.

David Holt is the president of the Consumer Energy Alliance.