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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

November 18, 2019

Top Story

Top climate hawk bashes first big offshore wind project

By Benjamin Storrow and Heather Richards, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:00:20

The Rhode Island Democrat, one of the Senate’s top climate hawks, has emerged as a leading critic of Vineyard Wind, an 84-turbine offshore wind project proposed in federal waters 15 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard. Whitehouse has questioned the federal government’s review of the project, the first large-scale development of its kind in the United States, and criticized Vineyard Wind for failing to adequately consult fishermen. His barbs have raised eyebrows in climate circles and in Massachusetts, where Vineyard Wind has the enthusiastic backing of the state’s political establishment, and comes as the Trump administration weighs the future of the project. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

U.S. readies first wind-powered steel plant

By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:00:59

For decades, access to cheap coal-fired electricity fueled industrial expansion across the Midwest, from auto plants to steel mills. These days, a cleaner and cheaper energy source — winds blowing across the central Plains — is enabling new manufacturing investments, key sources of jobs and taxes for states hungry to grow their economies. The latest example? A $250 million Nucor Corp. “micro” mill taking shape in Sedalia, Mo., that will be the first U.S. steel production plant that will run on wind energy. [ read more … ]

Wind turbines off Ocean City would be 200 feet taller than planned, prompting regulators to reopen debate

By Scott Dance, Baltimore Sun  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:00:38

Developers of two wind farms off Maryland’s Atlantic coast say they will build turbines more than 200 feet taller than those initially proposed, intensifying fears of spoiled views from Ocean City and prompting state regulators to reopen discussion about the projects two years after blessing them. The Maryland Public Service Commission is seeking new input on the potential impact of the windmills, roughly 20 miles from shore but several hundred feet higher than Baltimore’s tallest buildings. Potential impacts could include harm to birds or commercial fishing, though the strongest opposition has focused on an expectation that wind farms visible from shore would send tourists fleeing to beaches with pristine views in other states. [ read more … ]

Car Rule

23 states join Calif. legal battle against EPA

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:02:09

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D) is leading another legal battle to protect his state’s vehicle emissions standards, this time against EPA. Becerra, a coalition of 23 other state attorneys general and two cities filed a lawsuit today in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit challenging EPA’s move to scrap a waiver that allows the Golden State to set its own greenhouse gas and zero-emission vehicle standards. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: California will not back down when it comes to protecting our people, our health, and our environment from preventable pollution,” Becerra said in a statement about the suit. “The Trump Administration, on the other hand, has chosen to side with polluters. We believe we’re on the right side of history.” [ read more … ]

EVs

U.S. Electric Bus Demand Outpaces Production as Cities Add to Their Fleets

BY KRISTOFFER TIGUE, Inside Climate News  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:01:27

In the coastal city of Gulfport, Mississippi, the state’s first fully-electric bus will soon be cruising through the city’s downtown streets. The same goes for Portland, Maine—it just received a grant to buy that state’s first two e-buses, which are set to roll out in 2021. And Wichita expects to have Kansas’ first operating electric bus picking up passengers as early as this month after receiving a federal grant. As cities and states across the country set ambitious mid-century climate change goals for the first time and as prices for lithium-ion batteries plummet, a growing number of transit agencies are stepping up efforts to replace dirtier diesel buses with electric ones. [ read more … ]

Building a Lithium-Ion Battery That Won’t Explode

By Nick Lieber, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:01:44

Lithium-ion batteries are a decades-old technology that revolutionized consumer electronics in the 1990s and electric power vehicles more recently. (Three scientists who developed the batteries—John Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino— won this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry.) The technology is considered crucial to the widespread adoption of solar and wind energy because the electricity generated needs to be stored cheaply and safely when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Cap and Trade Is Supposed to Solve Climate Change, but Oil and Gas Company Emissions Are Up

By Lisa Song, Pro{ublica  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:02:39

Brown called California’s cap-and-trade program an answer to the “existential” crisis of climate change, the most reasonable way to manage the state’s massive output of greenhouse gasses while preserving its economy, which is powered by fossil fuels. “You can’t just say overnight, ‘OK, we’re not going to have oil anymore,’” he said. But there are growing concerns with California’s much-admired, much-imitated program, with implications that stretch far beyond the state.
[ read more … ]

Bipartisan Senate bill would boost regional efforts

By Geof Koss, E&E News reporte  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:02:56

Senators from Eastern states that are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) introduced bipartisan legislation yesterday that aims to boost similar regional climate efforts nationally. The “Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act,” sponsored by Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and 10 other senators, would create an Office of Regional Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs within EPA to provide analysis and technical assistance for new regional climate efforts and back existing ones, including RGGI and the Western Climate Initiative. [ read more … ]

Calif. pushes back on Trump lightbulb rule

By Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:03:20

A California agency voted this week to establish stronger energy efficiency standards for lightbulbs across the state, pushing back against a Trump administration rule in September that rescinded Obama-era standards. The California Energy Commission (CEC) elected to adopt updated energy efficiency standards that will prevent the sale of inefficient lightbulbs in the state, starting Jan. 1, 2020. The commission — which aims to lead California to a “100 percent clean energy future” — voted to enact federal regulations on lightbulbs as they were originally drafted, including an Obama plan released in 2017 that would have expanded the types of bulbs subject to stricter efficiency levels. [ read more … ]

Some dam GHG emissions ‘on par with fossil fuels’ — study

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-11-17 16:03:34

Hydropower plants can have greater impacts on the climate than fossil fuel facilities during their first few decades of life, potentially undermining the technology’s usefulness, according to a study published this week in the American Chemical Society’s peer-reviewed journal. The authors, who are climate scientists with the Environmental Defense Fund, compared data from 1,473 hydropower plants in 109 countries with the global median greenhouse gas emissions of other energy technologies. [ read more … ]

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