Newsom proposes first funding for gas car ban

Source: By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2021

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) wants to spend $1.5 billion to get more clean cars and trucks on the road. Newsom plans to propose the funding in his fiscal 2021-22 budget, he said in a statement, adding that he is “building on California’s historic commitment” to phase out gas-fueled vehicles. The governor issued an executive order last year saying no new gas-fueled passenger cars could be sold after 2035. The California Air Resources Board will begin drafting regulations this year to meet that goal.

For first time in 5 years, U.S. gas mileage down, emissions up

Source: By Tom Krisher, Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2021

A new government report says gas mileage for new vehicles dropped and pollution increased in model year 2019 for the first time in five years. The mileage increase comes as Americans continue to buy SUVs and trucks, and shift away from more efficient vehicles. EPA says the changes show that few automakers could meet what it called unrealistic emissions and mileage standards set by the Obama administration through the 2020 model year. But environmental groups say that automakers used loopholes and stopped marketing fuel-efficient cars and electric vehicles knowing that the Trump administration was about to roll back mileage and pollution standards.

Democratic Senate could boost EVs, batter fossil fuels

Source: By Corbin Hiar, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Corporate advisers are preparing their clients for a strong clean energy push by the incoming Biden administration after Democrats won two runoff elections in Georgia to reclaim the Senate. When President-elect Joe Biden and the new Congress are sworn in, Democrats will have 50 seats in the Senate and a tiebreaking vote in the White House, along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) running the House. Policy analysts and corporate lobbyists say Biden could use that unified power to boost federal spending on clean energy, slash tax breaks that support fossil fuels and strike down eleventh-hour environmental rollbacks by the Trump White House.

Mob stains ascent of Democrats — and climate — in Senate

Source: By Adam Aton and Scott Waldman, E&E News reporters • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2021

Moderates in both parties hoped that Democrats taking control of a 50-50 Senate would lead some Republicans to engage on climate policy. Then President Trump helped to incite a riot. A day that began with the political earthquake of Democrats seizing control of the Senate, ended with the fallout of a history-making incursion into the Capitol, with violent rioters occupying the corridors around the House and Senate chambers.

Will Senate wins unlock Biden’s 100% clean energy agenda?

Source: By Lesley Clark and Peter Behr, E&E News reporters • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2021

“The Biden clean energy agenda just got a huge shot in the arm,” said Paul Bledsoe, a former Senate Finance Committee staffer now with the Progressive Policy Institute. He noted Democrats will now control the calendar and committee chairmanships. “The Democratic Senate can now pursue the broad, Biden clean energy economic jump-starting vision,” Bledsoe said. “And that’s how it will happen, through economic policy.”

Biden Picks Rhode Island Governor and former Coalition Chair for Commerce Secretary

Source: By Jonathan Martin and Ana Swanson, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, January 7th, 2021

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. is expected to announce Gina M. Raimondo, the governor of Rhode Island, as his commerce secretary, a key economic position given the agency’s critical role in everything from technology policy to climate change to promoting American industry, according to a person familiar with the decision. Ms. Raimondo, a moderate Democrat with a background in the financial industry, has served as governor since 2015. She is seen as a relatively traditional choice for commerce secretary, a post that oversees relations with the business community but also technology regulation, weather monitoring and the gathering of economic data, among other duties.

Colo.’s largest utility announces shutdown of coal plant

Source: By Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

Colorado’s largest utility said this week that it will retire a coal-fired power plant eight years ahead of schedule, accelerating the state’s transition away from the fossil fuel. Xcel Energy said it plans to close both units of the Hayden Generating Station in northwestern Colorado by 2028 and late 2027, respectively. Co-owned by Xcel, PacifiCorp and the Salt River Project, the 441-megawatt plant’s two units were previously scheduled to shut down in 2030 and 2036.

The 10 Ways Renewable Energy’s Boom Year Will Shape 2021

Source: By Brian Eckhouse, Will Mathis, and Dan Murtaugh, Bloomberg • Posted: Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

Even after Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on almost everything else, the new year begins with surging growth for renewable energy. “2020 was the year of positive surprises for the environment in a way that very few saw coming,” says Jeff McDermott, head of Nomura Greentech. “It was the breakout year in sustainability and infrastructure.” Growth will likely continue into 2021, fueled in part by last year’s major turning points. China has now committed to reaching carbon neutrality by 2060, putting the world’s biggest market for solar and wind power on the path to ramp up installations as it begins its next five-year plan. Some analysts have started predicting that the U.S. power sector is approaching peak natural gas. That would leave room for solar-panel installations to build on the ongoing boom.

Report steers ride-hailing services toward greater EV use

Source: By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

Electric vehicles can effectively replace gasoline-powered cars for ride-hailing trips, but steps must be taken to improve their financial competitiveness and charging infrastructure, according to a report released today by the Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Institute. Using data collected by General Motors Co. on 101 million miles traveled by EV drivers for ride-hailing companies such as Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc., the report assessed how Uber, Lyft and other ride services can transition to EVs to fight climate change.

New clean energy lobbyists line up sway Biden administration

Source: By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post • Posted: Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

It’s a new year and a new president is about to take office. Right on cue, a new cohort of lobbying groups is setting up shop in Washington to influence the incoming administration’s agenda for tackling climate change. At least two energy trade organizations — one focused on the power sector, the other on automobiles — have launched in recent weeks to make sure their members benefit from the federal government’s amped-up effort to combat global warming under President-elect Joe Biden.