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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

November 4, 2019

Top Story

White House Backing Off Proposed Fuel-Efficiency Freeze

By Ben Foldy and Timothy Puko, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:03:44

The Trump administration is backing away from a plan to freeze tailpipe-emissions targets for new vehicles through 2025, say people familiar with the process. The administration is now considering requiring a 1.5% annual increase in fleetwide fuel efficiency, using an industry measure that takes both gas mileage and emissions reductions into account, the people said. The target moves the number closer to the Obama-era rules calling for 5% gains but still provides auto makers with significant relief and would allow cars to emit more pollution. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Great Lakes offshore wind — possibility or pipe dream?

By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:04:07

Like a spinning turbine barely visible on the horizon, the end of a regulatory odyssey to get approval for what would be the first U.S. freshwater offshore wind farm is now within sight for developers. A final approval is needed from the Ohio Power Siting Board, which is among more than a dozen agencies that must sign off on the 20.7-megawatt Icebreaker project, a demonstration wind farm about 8 miles from downtown Cleveland in Lake Erie. The board hasn’t signaled how or when it will vote. But the board’s staff has signed onto an agreement supporting approval of the project, and a decision could come as soon as January. [ read more … ]

Grid

First-of-a-kind U.S. grid cyberattack hit wind, solar

By Blake Sobczak, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:06:39

A Utah renewable energy developer was hit by a first-of-its-kind cyberattack that briefly cut contact to a dozen wind and solar farms this spring, according to documents obtained by E&E News under the Freedom of Information Act. Salt Lake City-based sPower suffered “denial of service” attacks on March 5 that left grid operators temporarily blinded to generation sites totaling 500 megawatts, the documents show. [ read more … ]

FERC

Danly’s unusual path to the FERC nomination

By Rod Kuckro, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:05:40

Danly’s resume submitted to FERC for his current job, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, sheds some light on his background while leaving a more than six-year gap immediately after his graduation from Yale. Multiple sources have said Danly’s background remains unusually murky for someone tapped to be a commissioner, though he will likely have chances to clarify his work history when he appears before the Senate Energy Committee next week. [ read more … ]

GOP lawmakers: past time for FERC to help coal and nuclear

By Josh siegel, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:06:13

Two dozen Republican lawmakers — led by West Virginia Congressman David McKinley — are urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to act expeditiously to help coal and nuclear energy compete in electricity markets. “[F]uel-secure coal and nuclear plants are continuing to close at an alarming rate while the Commission waits to act,” the lawmakers wrote FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee in a letter Friday, obtained by the Washington Examiner. FERC initially rejected plans by the Department of Energy to subsidize existing coal and nuclear plants, but it opened a docket to look into how to ensure grid “resilience.” But that docket has laid dormant for more than a year, the lawmakers point out. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

Trump makes U-turn on fuel economy standards

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:04:40

President Trump is backing off a controversial freeze of fuel economy standards, marking a dramatic shift in his rollback of Obama-era clean car rules, according to a person familiar with the matter. The Trump administration last year proposed freezing fuel economy standards at 2020 levels through 2026, rather than increasing their stringency by 5% each year as President Obama had mandated. [ read more … ]

Big automakers take risks in siding with Trump administration against California

By Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:05:06

The move has sparked a backlash among congressional Democrats historically allied with the auto industry and has angered some consumers, one of whom tweeted, “Boycott time!” while another said, “GM to the planet: Drop dead.” Meanwhile, the Trump administration, which last year said it wanted to freeze fuel efficiency at the 2026 levels required by Obama-era regulations, has decided to propose requiring auto companies to improve fuel efficiency at a pace of 1.5 percent a year, according to senior federal officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the rule has not yet been published.
[ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Wisconsin GOP leader says climate change ‘probably’ real

By Scott Bauer, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:07:13

The Republican leader of the Wisconsin Assembly said Wednesday that climate change is “probably” real but that he’s not sure. There is nearly universal consensus among scientists and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that global warming is real and man-made.
[ read more … ]

Previous blackouts triggered governor recall. Now?

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:07:34

The last time Californians endured electricity blackouts, they overwhelmingly voted to recall their Democratic governor, Gray Davis. Now, 16 years later, it’s Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) who’s dealing with repeated utility-imposed blackouts in the Golden State. San Francisco-based Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has four times in as many weeks cut power for multiple days during high winds, to pare the risk of electric lines sparking catastrophic wildfires. The move shuttered Northern California businesses and schools, leaving residents with spoiled food and medicines and in some cases no fresh water. [ read more … ]

Hill warms to CO2 air capture technologies

By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-03 16:07:52

Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz predicted yesterday that Congress’ climate change focus may shift within the next year to include more bipartisan backing to bolster the federal government’s role in direct air capture research, development and deployment. In remarks during a panel at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., the Obama-era official said he has been in active conversations with lawmakers about bolstering research funding for the technologies largely heralded as critical to keeping global temperatures within the boundaries set in the Paris climate agreement by pulling existing carbon from the atmosphere.
[ read more … ]

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