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EGEB: Former DOE head Rick Perry re-joins controversial Dakota Access pipeline company

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

  • Former DOE secretary Rick Perry re-joins Energy Transfer LP’s general partner LE GP LLC.
  • The NAACP is working with local and state branches to stop accepting fossil-fuel money.
  • The world’s largest floating wind farm is now supplying power to Portugal.

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

Perry’s pipelines

Former Department of Energy secretary Rick Perry was appointed as a director of LE GP LLC, the general partner of Dallas-based Energy Transfer LP on January 1. Perry will be eligible for cash compensation.

Perry served as a director at Energy Transfer Partners before stepping down at the end of 2016.

Perry was confirmed as energy secretary on March 2, 2017, and then stepped down on December 1, 2019.

Pipeline giant Energy Transfer LP owns the controversial Dakota Access crude oil pipeline, a 1,172-mile-long oil pipeline that runs from North Dakota to Illinois. The Dakota Access is best known for months of protests against it by native Americans and environmentalists at Standing Rock. The Obama administration denied a permit for the Dakota Access pipeline in December 2016, but in January 2017, the Trump administration reversed that decision and approved construction.

According to Bloomberg [via the Dallas Morning News]:

Energy Transfer has been criticized not only for specific projects but for corporate governance practices as well.

The MLP model the company employs means the general partner — in this case, LE GP — doesn’t have a fiduciary obligation to common investors. And board members aren’t required to be independent.

NAACP and energy companies

The New York Times has shed light on unlikely bedfellows: local and state chapters of the civil rights group the NAACP and utilities companies. As the Times explains:

Most Americans know the NAACP as a storied civil rights organization that has fought for equal access to public facilities, fairness in housing, and equality in education. But on energy policy, many of its chapters have for years advanced the interests of energy companies that are big donors to their programs. Often this advocacy has come at the expense of the black neighborhoods, which are more likely to have polluting power plants and are less able to adapt to climate change.

Local chapters are largely autonomous, so the national office published a primer titled the “Top 10 Manipulation Tactics of the Fossil Fuel Industry” in April, and is sending national staff to work with local and state chapters on this issue.

Jacqueline Patterson, who leads an environmental justice program for the national NAACP, said:

Seeing all of those intersections and more, we really saw this as a civil rights issue. The NAACP is now engaging around pushing for policies and pushing for access to clean energy.

The Times continues:

Under her leadership, the group began connecting the dots between climate change and the impact of disasters like Katrina on African-American communities. The group also took a closer look at how rising sea levels and more intense storms might affect low-income, minority neighborhoods. And it started examining how air pollution from power plants affected nearby residents, many of them black.

Portugal’s giant wind farm is live

The world’s largest floating wind farm is now installed and connected to the grid off the northern Portuguese coast, near Viana do Castelo.

It’s now supplying up to 8.4 MW to customers in Portugal, and will eventually produce a total of 25 MW of power.

Maritime Executive reports:

The three new WindFloat semisubmersible units are designed by California-based Principle Power and classed by ABS. They support the world’s largest wind turbines installed on a floating structure.

In general, bigger turbines are more cost-effective per megawatt on a lifecycle basis.

The WindFloat Atlantic platforms are anchored with chains to the seabed at a depth of about 300 feet — deeper than the maximum possible for conventional developments.

Photo: CNN

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. 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.