News

Maine plans floating offshore wind farm

Source: By Heather Richards, E&E News reporter • Posted: Tuesday, November 24th, 2020

Maine leaders plan to raise the first floating, offshore wind farm in the U.S. to study the industry’s impacts on the marine environment, Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced Friday. As proposed, the research and development wind farm would include a dozen floating turbines and be positioned between 20 and 40 miles from shore, connecting the floating farm to the power grid in the southern half of Maine. “I believe Maine can lead the country in floating offshore wind technology,” Mills said in a statement. “But it must be done in partnership with Maine’s fishermen, to form a science-based mutual understanding of how best to design and operate floating wind turbines in the precious Gulf of Maine.”

Groups release plan for Biden to slash CO2 without Congress

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden could use executive orders and federal agencies when in office to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from a major cause — leaky, outdated buildings — according to a road map released today by 20 energy efficiency and building groups. The American Council for an Energy-Efficiency Economy, the American Institute of Architects, the U.S. Green Building Council and other organizations note that energy use in homes and commercial buildings is responsible for a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, as well as $400 billion in energy bills. Much of the energy consumed, they contend, is wasted by poorly sealed buildings that use out-of-date equipment.

Pa. House votes to impose fees on electric cars

Source: By Mark Levy, Associated Press • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Motorists who register an electric vehicle in Pennsylvania would have to pay an annual fee, under lame-duck session legislation approved by the state’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday. The bill, backed by a 132-70 vote, still requires Senate approval to reach the desk of Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. Most House Republicans voted for it, while most Democrats opposed it.

States fought Trump on climate. Will they coast under Biden?

Source: By Benjamin Storrow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Biden’s ability to act faces political constraints. The Senate will be closely divided even if Democrats win a pair of Georgia runoffs in January that would give them a narrow majority. A more conservative Supreme Court could also limit the scope of Biden’s regulatory agenda. State action will be needed against that backdrop to drive near-term emission reductions, according to climate and clean energy analysts.

Top Ohio regulator who fought RPS resigns after FBI raid

Source: By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Ohio’s top utility regulator resigned Friday, days after the FBI searched his Columbus, Ohio, home amid an ongoing investigation into corruption tied to a major energy bill that passed in 2019. The resignation of Sam Randazzo, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, also follows disclosure by FirstEnergy Corp. that former executives made a $4 million payment in 2019 to a consulting business affiliated with an individual who would go on to become a state utility regulator.

FERC rule could boost wind energy across grid

Source: By Peter Behr, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a rule last week that advocates say could boost wind energy, pack more power on selected high-voltage lines, improve grid reliability and lower costs. FERC opened a 60-day comment period Thursday to consider a proposal to change how grid operators rate the capacity of interstate transmission lines. Under the plan, regional grid operators could use real-time information to bring more electricity onto their systems. And that could help wind power generators as weather patterns shift over the course of a day.

Will Biden’s 100% clean energy plan work? Look to TVA

Source: By Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

The Tennessee Valley Authority is likely to stay out of the political spotlight during the Biden administration, but the nation’s largest public utility is poised to play an outsize role in pushing the president-elect’s clean energy agenda. President-elect Joe Biden has the opportunity to remake TVA’s influential nine-member board, with the chance to make as many as six nominations next year. What’s more, clean energy advocates are hoping Biden’s wide-ranging climate platform will lead TVA to adopt more aggressive carbon-cutting and energy efficiency plans and use new technologies to clean up its power grid.

GM Stops Backing Trump Administration in Emissions Fight With California

Source: By Mike Colias, Wall Street Journal • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

General Motors Co. will no longer back the Trump administration in its legal battle to strip California’s authority to set its own fuel-efficiency regulations, saying GM’s goals for green cars are aligned with the state and the new Biden administration. On Monday, GM said it has withdrawn from that lawsuit and encouraged other auto makers to follow, saying it sees a route to compromise on tailpipe-emission rules. “We are confident that the Biden Administration, California, and the U.S. auto industry, which supports 10.3 million jobs, can collaboratively find the pathway that will deliver an all-electric future,” reads a letter GM released from Chief Executive Mary Barra to the environmental groups that brought the suit.

This Year’s Emissions Drop Is a ‘Tiny Blip,’ UN Agency Says

Source: By Laura Millan Lombrana, Bloomberg • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

Human emissions of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change will fall between 4.2% and 7.5% this year due to the global industrial slowdown caused by coronavirus lockdowns.
But carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere will continue to go up, albeit at a slightly reduced pace, according to preliminary data by the World Meteorological Organization released on Monday. The short-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic can’t be distinguished from natural variability, the United Nations agency said.

G.M. Drops Its Support for Trump Climate Rollbacks and Aligns With Biden

Source: By Coral Davenport, New York Times • Posted: Monday, November 23rd, 2020

General Motors abandoned President Trump’s battle to nullify California’s fuel economy rules meant to curb global warming, the strongest sign yet that corporate America is moving on from Mr. Trump and adapting to an incoming Democratic administration. The company also signaled that it was ready to work with President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has promised swift action to reduce climate-warming emissions in the auto sector. “President-elect Biden recently said, ‘I believe that we can own the 21st century car market again by moving to electric vehicles.’ We at General Motors couldn’t agree more,” Mary Barra, the General Motors chief executive, wrote in a letter Monday to leaders of some of the nation’s largest environmental groups.