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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

October 30, 2019

Top Story

Details emerge about DOE ‘super-grid’ renewable study

By Peter Behr, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 07:10:53

A coast-to-coast transmission “super-grid” could be built across the United States for $80 billion and deliver economic gains of more than twice that amount, moving surplus renewable energy to major urban centers, according to an Energy Department national laboratory study that was pulled back by DOE headquarters, which called for more work on the findings. James McCalley, a senior Iowa State University engineering professor and a principal author of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory study, said yesterday he is doing new analysis requested by DOE and expects to be done next year. DOE said the final report may not be released until 2022. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Germany may lose 40% of wind jobs as projects grind to halt

By Brian Parkin, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:44:11

Germany’s wind power industry could shed about 40% of its jobs because of sliding interest among investors to build turbines on land, threatening a key driver of the nation’s ambitious clean energy targets.
Environmental rules are snagging license approval for scores of onshore projects, causing delays of as long as two years, according to a report by Psephos GmbH for Germany’s VDMA machine makers lobby group. As developers and investors shy away from auctions and wading through the thicket of red tape, construction of new parks is grinding to a halt and putting jobs in jeopardy.
[ read more … ]

Lessons on building transmission, from Michael Skelly

By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:45:20

To succeed in overhauling the nation’s transmission lines, Democrats running for president would have to go further down the path forged by Houston-based entrepreneur Michael Skelly.  According to Wall Street Journal reporter Russell Gold, Skelly was “tantalizingly” close to building what would have been an “electricity expressway” delivering renewable energy across the country. Gold profiled Skelly and his company’s nearly decadelong effort to fix the nation’s Balkanized power grid in a book this year titled, Superpower: One’s Man’s Quest to Transform American Energy.
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States fight for clean energy rights

By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:45:47

A coalition of 11 Democratic attorneys general sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday calling on it to recognize the rights of states like theirs to set clean energy policy. “Now, more than ever, it is essential for the states and the Commission to work together to ensure that the Commission’s actions advance, not impede, state policies and prerogatives,” wrote attorneys general Maura Healey of Massachusetts, Xavier Becerra of California, William Tong of Connecticut, and others. [ read more … ]


Landmark U.S. airport microgrid divides climate advocates

By Beverly Banks, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:43:54

Pittsburgh International Airport announced its intent this month to build what would be the first airport in the country to be completely powered by its own microgrid. The microgrid — which would involve nearly 7,800 solar panels and on-site natural gas wells — was prompted in part by major power outages at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. “Part of our microgrid is to make sure that we are doing all we can to be as resilient as we can to keep the lights on and to stay in operation if in fact there is some type of major power outage,” said Tom Woodrow, vice president of engineering at the Allegheny County Airport Authority. Cost reduction and resilience were also top priorities for the project, he said. [ read more … ]

California may be a climate leader, but it could be a century behind on its carbon goals: study

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:44:48

California just got sobering news that despite its nation-leading renewables build, it may be a century late in achieving its ambitious climate goals. The shift to renewables allowed California to meet its 2020 mandate to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels four years early, accoring to an Oct. 8 Next 10 report. But the state’s GHG reduction rate must be three times faster to get to the next target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030, Next 10 found.
[ read more … ]

For best climate impact, put renewables in the U.S. Midwest: study

By Nichola Groom, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:46:03

Installing wind turbines and solar panels in the U.S. Midwest instead of other parts of the country would deliver the biggest cuts in climate-warming emissions and improvements in public health, according to a study published on Tuesday. The magnitude of benefit from renewable energy depends in part on whether it is displacing coal-fired power plants or cleaner-burning fuels like natural gas, according to the study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Carnegie Mellon University.
[ read more … ]

Car Rule

General Motors Sides With Trump in Emissions Fight, Splitting the Industry

By Hiroko Tabuchi, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:42:51

Breaking with some of their biggest rivals, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota said Monday they were intervening on the side of the Trump administration in an escalating battle with California over fuel economy standards for automobiles. Their decision pits them against leading competitors, including Honda and Ford, who this year reached a deal to follow California’s stricter rules. It represents the latest twist in one of the Trump administration’s most consequential rollbacks of regulations designed to fight climate change. It has also opened a rift among the world’s biggest automakers — the very industrial giants that the Trump administration maintains it was trying to help with regulatory relief. [ read more … ]

Auto group, red states back Trump’s move against Calif.

By Maxine Joselow and Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:43:30

An auto industry trade association and seven red states are throwing their weight behind the Trump administration in the legal fight over California’s clean cars program. The Association of Global Automakers, a powerful trade association whose members include General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, yesterday filed a motion to intervene on behalf of the Trump administration in a lawsuit over whether California should have the legal authority to set tougher greenhouse gas emissions standards for cars than the federal government. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Tonko on Trump, Yucca and plans for big climate bill

By George Cahlink, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:43:12

Upstate New York political lore holds that Democratic Rep. Paul Tonko never misses a neighborhood picnic, a weekend festival or local political rally in his Albany-based district. “It seems he must have a twin or a triplet because he is everywhere,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, repeating a joke shared by several political operatives about the six-term lawmaker. On Capitol Hill, Tonko keeps a similarly frenetic pace, where he is the only lawmaker serving on the Energy and Commerce; Natural Resources; and Science, Space and Technology committees. [ read more … ]

California governor calls on Warren Buffett to purchase bankrupt PG&E

By Lynn Freehill-Maye, Utility Dive  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:44:30

While calls mount for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to become a public utility, Governor Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., said he would welcome a sale of the bankrupt company to investor Warren Buffett. Berkshire Hathaway Energy Corp, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which is owned by Buffett, has significant holdings in California and is “one of the few that are in a position to make a significant run at this,” Newsom told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. But experts warned that Berkshire would be entering a complex set of circumstances given the ongoing wildfires, power outages and bankruptcy proceedings the California utility faces. [ read more … ]

Coal in U.S. West to drop ‘significantly’ — report

By Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-10-29 15:45:04

Coal production is expected to drop “significantly” next year in the Powder River Basin and could spell mine closures in the region in the early 2020s, according to a new report from Moody’s Investors Service.
The financial services company said the region, which includes parts of Montana and Wyoming and produces more than 40% of all U.S. coal, is particularly affected by shifts toward renewable energy and social opposition to exports in the Pacific Midwest. The region remains “distressed,” with multiple companies exiting the PRB after filing for bankruptcy protection, Moody’s said. [ read more … ]

Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.