Energy News Roundup: California Drought, Saudi Oil Policy & Wisconsin Renewables Slash (Breaking Energy)

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  • March 2, 2015
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Farmers in California are facing another water crisis with the federal government confirming it won’t send any of its reservoir water to the Central Valley. “Many farmers had been bracing for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s announcement as California’s drought enters its fourth year. Some farms are exempt from complete cuts under California’s antiquated water rights system dating to Gold Rush-era days.
But many farmers are running out of short-term options to deal with water shortages, such as uprooting orchards and tapping groundwater wells.
“They were able to Band-Aid things together last year just to keep their trees alive,” said Ryan Jacobsen, executive director of the Fresno County Farm Bureau. “The first aid kit we had last year is really not available this year.” [Washington Post]
Saudi Arabia is beginning to see the benefits of its international oil policy as global oil prices continue to plunge. “U.S. drillers are idling rigs at a record pace, gutting investment plans and laying off thousands of workers.
Those steps highlight how the Saudi-led OPEC decision on Nov. 27 to maintain output levels and protect its market share is having the desired effect — pushing prices down so far that they threaten to curb output in the U.S. and other non-OPEC countries. Saudi Arabia, the most powerful member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, will maintain that tack when the group next meets in June, according to some of the world’s biggest banks.” [Bloomberg Business]
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker plans to eliminate funding for a University of Wisconsin-Madison renewable energy research center that has recently secured of its biggest government grants ever. “In his budget, Walker is proposing to eliminate $8.1 million over two years — a total of 35 positions — from a bioenergy program.
The reductions are separate from his proposal to cut $300 million from the University of Wisconsin System over the next two years.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]