Author Archive: Karl Cates

Editor and Media Relations Director Karl Cates has been an editor for Bloomberg LP, an editor for the New York Times, and a consultant to the Treasury Department-sanctioned community development financial institution (CDFI) industry.

IEEFA Update: Something in the Wind

U.S. Nuclear Industry Reconsiders Expansion; Utility Exec Sees Less Risk in Turbine Farm Than Coal; Keystone XL Doesn’t Pencil Out Anymore

It’s de rigueur anymore for energy companies across the board to play up their clean-energy commitments—actual or just advertised—but executives at American Electric Power put some of their money where their mouths were in announcing intentions last week to invest $4.5 billion in the new Wind Catcher farm in Oklahoma. AEP’s logic is rooted in […]

August 4, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: A Growing Sense Across Energy Markets, and Among Market Players, That Change Is Gaining Pace

Peak Oil Demand; a Blockbuster Wind Deal; Battered Coal

Two stories this week got some bombshell play still ricocheting around. First was Royal Dutch Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden saying the company, second only to Exxon Mobil among the oil majors and the biggest energy outfit in Europe, sees peak demand for oil occurring sooner than anticipated, contrary to the comparatively stodgy and widely […]

July 28, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: The Truths Not Everybody Wants to Hear

The Wind Industry Is Creating Jobs; ‘Clean Coal’ Is a Myth; Change Is Happening Now

Wyoming doesn’t have much of a wind-energy workforce. But isn’t that a good problem to have? It means that as the state’s budding wind industry is creating jobs, bringing new money is coming into a struggling region, and offering some much-need diversification to a longtime one- or two-note economy. What it doesn’t mean is that […]

July 21, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Narrative Is Shifting

IEEFA Update: The U.S. Energy Narrative Is Shifting

Markets Are Changing; the Media Is Catching Up; Renewables Account for 20% of Total Generation in Latest Data Snapshot

What feels sometimes like a reluctant transformation is taking hold in the emergence of a “when” rather than “if” media narrative on the rise of renewable energy. This awakening is especially noticeable in the financial press, which can often seem captive in a historically entrenched way to the very financiers or industries it covers. Myopia […]

IEEFA Update: Don Blankenship Is Loving Las Vegas

IEEFA Update: Don Blankenship Is Loving Las Vegas

The $120 Million Coal Executive Who Got 1 Year for His Part in the Deaths of 29 West Virginia Coal Miners Is as Unrepentant as Ever

After being released last week after doing a year of minimum-security time in sunny Southern Arizona and California, Don Blankenship has been agitating nonstop for sympathy. He wants the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction, he wants Donald Trump to do him a solid, he wants everybody to believe that he had nothing to do […]

May 17, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Extra: Why Coal Bailouts Won’t Work

IEEFA Extra: Why Coal Bailouts Won’t Work

'Inexorable' Market Forces Have Taken Root

“Anyone who watches the energy markets knows the coal industry is in serious trouble. The political rhetoric around the energy markets is higher than it’s been for years, if not decades. The truth of the matter is that nothing can reverse the market forces that are pushing coal into further decline … there’s really no […]

April 28, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Media Monitor: The Weight of Fact Versus Fiction

As New Energy-Policy Propaganda Spews Forth From Washington, the Truth Finds an Audience Too

While a new regime of Washington policymakers is working hard to—what’s the word, bamboozle/reeducate/distract?—Americans on the energy transition gaining momentum nationally, an informed backlash is taking root. The New Republic has some fun with what’s happening in a piece published yesterday by Emily Atkin that talks about how Scott Pruitt, the new EPA director, chose “for […]

April 14, 2017 Read More →

IEEFA Update: Over Sound and Fury From Elsewhere, Energy Transition Rolls On

One Segment of the Electricity-Generation Industry Is Rising; the Other Is in Decline

Buried in the blizzard of political-transition headlines this week, an electricity-generation transition continues unabated. While armies of satellite-news trucks idle on the streets of Washington and live-at-five anchors drone on from the capitol, the market-driven driven shift toward renewable energy takes root across the heartland and from coast to coast. When the coal industry’s godfather-politician […]

January 20, 2017 Read More →
IEEFA Update: The Public-Relations Disaster That Is the Dakota Access Pipeline

IEEFA Update: The Public-Relations Disaster That Is the Dakota Access Pipeline

A Project on the Map Now in a Way Its Investors Never Wanted It to Be

Headline risk and reputational risk are two heads of the same public-relations monster that—once it gets out of its cage—defies ever being confined again. ExxonMobil with its climate-science scandal is on intimate terms with this beast. So are backers of the Dakota Access Pipeline project, branded globally now as a public-relations disaster for its backers. […]

December 9, 2016 Read More →

Don Blankenship Is an American Criminal

A Notorious U.S. Coal Executive Remains Blindly Unrepentant for His Part in the Deaths of 29 Miners

Donald Leon “Don” Blankenship, the former head of Massey Energy who is serving federal prison time for his role in the deaths of 29 coal miners six years ago in West Virginia, got beaucoup headline treatment this week for issuing a “manifesto” in which he pronounces himself an “American political prisoner.” Give the man kudos […]

October 7, 2016 Read More →