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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

December 16, 2019

Top Stories

U.N. Climate Talks End With Few Commitments and a ‘Lost’ Opportunity

By Somini Sengupta, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 04:23:28

In what was widely denounced as one of the worst outcomes in a quarter-century of climate negotiations, United Nations talks ended early Sunday morning with the United States and other big polluters blocking even a nonbinding measure that would have encouraged countries to adopt more ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions next year. Because the United States is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, it was the last chance, at least for some time, for American delegates to sit at the negotiating table at the annual talks — and perhaps a turning point in global climate negotiations, given the influence that Washington has long wielded, for better or worse, in the discussions. The Trump administration used the meeting to push back on a range of proposals, including a mechanism to compensate developing countries for losses that were the result of more intense storms, droughts, rising seas and other effects of global warming. [ read more … ]

US has only one offshore wind energy farm, but a $70 billion market is on the way

By Bob Woods, CNBC  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:26:16

Just three years ago five giant wind turbines in the waters off Block Island, Rhode Island, started spinning 30 MW of electricity to that tiny community of about a thousand residents. While it remains the only offshore wind farm in the U.S., that’s about to dramatically change. According to the Department of Energy, offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 2,000 GW of capacity per year, nearly double the nation’s current electricity use. Even if only 1% of that potential is captured, nearly 6.5 million homes could be powered by offshore wind energy within the next decade.

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Wind Energy

New Task Force Will Consider Leases For Offshore Wind Energy Developers In The Gulf Of Maine

By Fred Bever, Maine Public Radio  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:26:41

A new task force will convene for the first time Thursday to consider how and where to lease potentially vast swathes of the Gulf of Maine to offshore wind-energy developers. The outcome could have big consequences for Maine’s fishing industry, and for the state’s role in the next wave of renewable energy development. An earlier round of auctions awarded leases in federal waters off southern New England, where several large-scale wind projects should soon start churning out thousands of megawatts of electricity — a big down payment on state commitments to ramp up the use of renewable energy. Now, at New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu’s request, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is starting a new process to designate the best areas for offshore wind projects farther north — in the Gulf of Maine. Analysts say investments could be worth billions of dollars, with thousands of jobs in the offing. [ read more … ]

States express support for offshore wind in Gulf of Maine

By Michael Casey, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:27:08

Leaders in states bordering the Gulf of Maine expressed strong support yesterday for offshore wind, setting the region up to become the next battleground over the resource as some members of the area’s influential fishing industry voice objections. Officials from Massachusetts and Maine, along with New Hampshire’s Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, said yesterday at the first meeting of the Agenda for the Intergovernmental Renewable Energy Task Force for the Gulf of Maine that they were optimistic offshore wind could help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions while producing thousands of jobs across New England. [ read more … ]

Floating wind power gets step up in Spain’s Canary Islands

By William Mathis, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:27:28

Struggling to end their reliance on expensive fossil fuels for power generation, Spain’s Canary Islands are set to become a test bed for the latest technology in wind energy. The islands situated more than 600 miles south of the Iberian peninsula have limited space for renewables such as solar and wind farms, and the surrounding waters quickly become too deep for traditional offshore foundations. One solution is making wind turbines that float, a pioneering technology with the potential to deploy electric generation plants beyond the sight of tourists on the beach. [ read more … ]

Groups sue to prevent birds ‘getting diced’ by wind turbines

By Niina H. Farah, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:28:20

Two conservation groups are suing the federal government over concerns that a landmark Great Lakes wind project could hurt waterfowl and songbirds. The American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory filed a lawsuit Wednesday contending that the Department of Energy and the Army Corps of Engineers failed to adequately consider risks, such as bird collisions or species displacement, posed by the planned Icebreaker Wind project in Lake Erie. Icebreaker Wind is slated to be the first project of its kind in the Great Lakes and the second U.S. commercial offshore wind development after Rhode Island’s Block Island Wind Farm.
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Solar Energy

How ‘Big Solar’ jumped from rooftops to farm fields

By John Fialka, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:24:50

The town council of Midland, N.C., was facing what it felt was a bizarre and costly invasion in April 2017. Solar energy companies were planting arrays of solar modules on nearby farmland, and the council was trying to stop it. One 40-acre project had already been permitted by Cabarrus County, which surrounds Midland (population 3,692). Now a second company had arrived, proposing a 627-acre solar farm. One Midland councilman, Darren Hartsell, described that as a “tremendous footprint.” He worried about “safety of the people who live close by and the valuation of their homes.” Another councilman, Rich Wise, agreed with him. “People don’t want to build [homes] on property that close to a solar farm.” [ read more … ]

House bill looks to bolster geothermal research

By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:28:54

The House Science, Space and Technology Committee’s leadership announced legislation to advance the Department of Energy’s research and development efforts into geothermal energy. The bill, H.R. 5374, from Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) and ranking member Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), matches legislation, S. 2657, that already moved out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The measure would look to infuse additional research and funding authorizations into DOE’s efforts on geothermal as a way to better unlock the technology.
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Obama says Paris climate deal is still the way forward

By The Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:25:42

Former U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday the Paris Agreement on climate change may fall short of expectations but is still the way forward to achieve progress and encourage businesses to invest in clean energy. Nearly 200 nations pledged to cut greenhouse emissions and help poor countries cope with the worst effects of an already warming planet under the accord signed in 2016 that was a cornerstone of Obama’s environmental legacy. [ read more … ]

Dems propose bank to finance decarbonization

By Nick Sobczyk, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:23:59

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) want to create a national bank to finance renewable energy, clean transportation and other projects aimed at slashing greenhouse gas emissions. New legislation would create a nonprofit National Climate Bank with $35 billion in federal funding over six years. It would funnel money to various renewables, electric vehicle storage and industrial decarbonization projects, with the goal of drawing as much as $1 trillion in private investment.
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Wis. power line opponents take fight to federal court

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:24:27

Opponents of a power line in southwestern Wisconsin are taking their fight against the $492 million project to federal court. The plaintiffs say state regulators have conflicts of interest that should have kept them from approving the power line project. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday by the Environmental Law & Policy Center on behalf of the Driftless Area Land Conservancy and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation.
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Car Rule

Powerful trade groups weigh merger after clean cars clash

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:25:55

Two powerful auto industry trade associations are weighing the possibility of a merger, as the industry faces upheaval from President Trump’s trade war and rollback of clean car standards. The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers are in preliminary talks about a merger, their leaders confirmed in a statement to E&E News. “The Auto Alliance and Global Automakers are exploring the potential for uniting the associations in pursuit of the next generation of mobility while continuing to provide consumers with safer, more energy-efficient vehicles,” said Auto Alliance interim President Dave Schwietert and Global Automakers President John Bozzella.
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Calif. weighs contentious clean truck rule

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-15 16:25:23

California has proposed the nation’s first-ever regulation to help boost sales of zero-emissions trucks, but it faces a tough road ahead, with opposition coming from both environmentalists and industry. That dynamic was on full display yesterday at a California Air Resources Board meeting in Sacramento, where 104 people signed up to testify on the proposed rule. The testimony lasted more than two hours, and the vast majority of speakers raised concerns about the proposal. Environmentalists said it didn’t go far enough. Industry officials said it went too far in some cases and imposed burdensome new reporting requirements. [ read more … ]



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