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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

December 2, 2019

Top Stories

United Nations Opens Two-Week Climate Change Summit in Madrid

By Matthew Green and Jake Spring, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2019-12-02 04:17:39

The United Nations opened a two-week climate summit in Madrid on Monday, where world leaders face growing pressure to prove they can muster the political will to avert the most catastrophic impacts of global warming. The talks began against a backdrop of increasingly visible impacts from rising temperatures in the past year, with wildfires raging from the Arctic and the Amazon to Australia, and tropical regions hit by devastating hurricanes. [ read more … ]

U.S. grid ‘reliability’ threatened by warming rivers — study

By Peter Behr, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:23:52

An inevitable rise in river temperatures from global warming will force increasing numbers of coal, nuclear and natural gas generation plants to curtail operations, adding up to $143 billion in additional grid infrastructure investment that could be needed by 2050, according to a new study by university and national laboratory researchers. The computer model results call for more renewable wind and solar power, which are not water-dependent, with backup from new, efficient natural gas power plants, both to limit water shortages and to meet goals for carbon reduction from power plants, the research concluded.
[ read more … ]

Above-ground power lines grow in risk as climate changes

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:24:13

Trees toppling onto above-ground power lines spark wildfires, more than 1,000 of them in the last decade in California alone. The wires snap in blizzards and hurricanes, causing dayslong outages. Everywhere, power poles topple in all kinds of disasters, blocking escape routes. Around the U.S., dealing with the vulnerability of overhead power lines — one of many problems that experts say will only get worse as the climate deteriorates — by burying them or strengthening them is spotty and disorganized on a national level, and painfully slow at best. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Asia Seeks to Breeze Past Europe With Offshore Wind Projects

By River Davis, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:20:34

A nearly $10 billion offshore wind-power project in Taiwan demonstrates Asia’s growing presence in a market previously centered in Europe. Japan’s largest power-generation company, Jera Co., said this month that it was in talks to take a stake of about 40% in Formosa 3, the third installment of a project to make Taiwan a leading offshore-wind producer. The projects are owned by joint ventures created by a number of companies including offshore wind developers. Formosa 3’s two gigawatts of capacity would make it three times as powerful as the largest offshore wind farm currently in operation, Orsted A/S’s Walney Extension off the coast of England. Formosa 3 is scheduled to be completed between 2026 and 2030. [ read more … ]

U.K. is supersizing its wind farms

By William Mathis, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:22:15

One of the U.K.’s biggest wind farm developers will combine three offshore wind projects into one massive development, making it more likely the venture will move ahead. The decision by Iberdrola SA’s ScottishPower Renewables means it will consider all the work on a facility with 3.1 gigawatts of capacity as a single project. The East Anglia wind farms would be sited off the eastern coast of England and cost billions of dollars to develop. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Montana rejects NorthWestern’s bid to end net metering, add separate rate class for solar

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:20:14

The Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) on Monday unanimously voted to reject NorthWestern Energy’s proposal to end net metering, implement a new rate class and add a demand charge. Regulators opted to maintain retail rate net metering until rooftop solar adoption reaches 5% of peak load, or the utility produces evidence to support its new rate class. PSC staff concluded the utility did not provide all requested information, and had recommended against approving the proposal. [ read more … ]

Rooftop solar fights intensify in Southeast

By Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:21:48

How big of a headache can roughly 1,000 rooftop solar customers be for a giant power utility? A few solar users can’t cause much pain for companies with millions of electricity consumers spread across the U.S. Southeast, according to renewable energy advocates. [ read more … ]

FERC

Glick ethics pledge lifted on Friday

By KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:21:05

The Trump administration ethics pledge that has kept Commissioner Richard Glick from participating in multiple FERC proceedings will ended on Friday, giving the agency a quorum to vote on a key issue for the PJM Interconnection. Glick said in September that he would sit out of the PJM case and others after erroneous guidance from FERC ethics officials led him to improperly participate in cases involving his former employer, utility Avangrid. But the pledge only applies for two years from his nomination on Nov. 29, 2017, meaning it will expire Friday. [ read more … ]

EVs

Trump gains allies in his fight with Calif.

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:21:28

A group of 13 states yesterday stepped into the clean cars fight on the side of the Trump administration, throwing their weight behind a proposal that would scrap California’s ability to set its own tailpipe emission standards. The states’ motion to intervene — filed at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — claims that California’s waiver and its role in setting auto standards nationwide unlawfully puts the Golden State on a pedestal. Led by Ohio and joined by Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and West Virginia, the states filed their motion to intervene in the recently consolidated D.C. Circuit case brought by other states, environmental groups and local air regulators against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. [ read more … ]

The world may have seen its peak demand for gas-powered vehicles

By Ben Geman, Axios  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:22:59

“Sales of gasoline powered vehicles will continue to fall due to the strong growth and now competitive viability of electric vehicles,” the report predicts. EVs are just a tiny share of vehicle sales right now.
But the analysis notes they have momentum, with sales of plug-in hybrids and full electrics combined growing fourfold since 2015 to reach an estimated 433,000 this year. Nevertheless, it calls for policy measures that would speed up adoption of EVs, including incentives for re-tooling manufacturing plants to produce new models. [ read more … ]

LA region aims to slash gas cars before 2028 Olympics

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:23:26

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti today will unveil an ambitious plan to put far more electric vehicles on the roads, and get more people onto trains, buses and bikes by 2028. The LA region — home to more than 10 million residents — wants to accomplish the changes before the Summer Olympics come to Los Angeles in 2028. The effort aims to fight climate change and reduce air pollution and traffic in a region infamous for its gridlock. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Emails shed light on Wheeler’s fixation with climate models

By Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:25:13

Internal EPA emails show that Administrator Andrew Wheeler was personally involved in efforts to discredit last year’s National Climate Assessment, a sweeping report by staff at EPA and other agencies that punctuated the ominous impacts of rising temperatures. The 2018 report, released the day after Thanksgiving, sent a message that was sharply at odds with the Trump administration’s message on climate change, or its work to weaken regulations in areas such as power plants and cars. Rather than justify those moves, the government-issued climate assessment was widely seen as contradicting them.
[ read more … ]

Report: Coal headed for record decline this year

By Tamara Ward, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:25:30

Coal-fired electricity is on track for a record decline this year, but use of the fossil fuel continues to grow in developing countries, according to two new reports. The website Carbon Brief reported yesterday that coal-fired power is expected to fall by 3% this year. That drop is the equivalent of 300 terawatt-hours, or more than the combined total coal output for Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom last year.
[ read more … ]

Rich Californians shelling out $30,000 to ease blackout pain

By Sophie Alexander, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:24:37

Ebony Lopez’s electric company in Napa wine country used to get a handful of inquiries a week from people asking about generators. After PG&E Corp. shut off power to millions of Californians last month, it’s more like 10 to 15 calls a day. “It’s been nonstop,” Lopez said. “People are definitely being reactive.”
[ read more … ]

Most Americans haven’t heard about the Green New Deal despite all the talk in Washington

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2019-12-01 16:24:55

The Green New Deal, an ambitious if at times vague call to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions while tackling economic inequality, seemed to be on the lips of everyone in Washington this year, drawing endorsements from many Democratic presidential candidates and outsized condemnation from President Trump and GOP lawmakers. And outside of D.C.? Well, few actually know much about it.  [ read more … ]

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