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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

December 17, 2019

Top Stories

Congress set to give DOE a major lift — again

By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-17 06:49:09

Clean energy research and development at the Department of Energy would once again see an increase in fiscal 2020 under the $48.3 billion Energy-Water portion of the bipartisan spending deal unveiled last night. That legislation continues a multiyear trend of DOE research funding growth despite repeated calls from the Trump administration to slash that spending. The boosts include massive numbers for DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at $2.8 billion, record appropriations for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy and a big jump for the Office of Science and national lab activities. [ read more … ]

Overtime talks yield limited accord on energy extenders

By Geof Koss, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-17 06:47:56

The renewable production tax credit, currently scheduled to phase out at the end of 2019, will be extended for one year under the agreement. But the deal is silent on other top Democratic priorities in the year-end talks, including expansions of the electric vehicle credit and an extension of the investment tax credit for solar. [ read more … ]


Solar Energy

Solar’s growth is hurtling ahead. China did that

By John Fialka, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:04:15

A crucial moment that helped put solar power on the path to becoming one of the world’s dominant energy sources came in the Chinese city of Wuxi near Shanghai in 2000. That’s when a strange brew of socialism and venture capitalism got mixed together with cheap labor and dumb luck. Wuxi, with a population of 1.3 million, was a textile and rice marketing center that in 1994 had been given access to a stream of federal tax revenue by China’s central government. A dream of Wuxi officials was to lure high-tech industries that would generate more tax revenues. In 2000, Shi Zhengrong, a Chinese-born scientist with a doctorate in solar cell research from Australia, arrived to start a company that manufactured solar modules. [ read more … ]

Industry warned of tariff ‘devastation.’ That didn’t happen

By David Ferris, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:06:13

In June of 2017, solar’s leading trade group warned in a blog that a proposed anti-China tariff would spell doom. The levy would send solar prices through the roof and “devastate the future of solar in America,” it said. A year and a half later, things are looking very different. The tariffs did happen, punishing China less than they might have and contributing to the loss of thousands of solar jobs and to a yearlong industry swoon.
[ read more … ]


Panel focuses on reliability following Calif. blackouts

By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:04:35

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear testimony this week about the impacts of wildfires on the electric grid. The Thursday hearing follows a noteworthy wildfire season in which California and its Pacific Gas and Electric Co. utility saw preventive blackouts during high-wind days in an effort to stop the spread of wildfire from old transmission equipment in fire-prone areas.
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What Will It Take to Clean Up the Electric Grid?

By By Justin Gillis and Sonia Aggarwal, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:06:52

Decades of climate change foot-dragging are finally giving way to public demands for action. Around the world, millions of young people are on the march. Political and business leaders are making pledges and offering plans. Yet society delayed action for so long that the pace of change now required seems impossible. Greenhouse gases are still risingglobally. Some advocacy groups are demanding that these emissions be eliminated entirely within a decade, requiring a scale of industrial and political mobilization matching or exceeding that of World War II. [ read more … ]


Storage bill leads Science subcommittee markup

By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:04:54

A bill to bolster grid-scale energy storage research and development leads a trio of measures set for a House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee markup this week. The three bills add to the growing list of bipartisan legislation moved out of the committee to expand and increase funding for Department of Energy clean energy research in an effort to help combat climate change. [ read more … ]



By KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:06:33

“You can’t do a Green New Deal if you allow FERC to continue as it is,” said Drew Hudson, an activist with Beyond Extreme Energy, an anti-fossil fuel group that has routinely disrupted FERC meetings to protest natural gas pipelines. “FERC would just frustrate the efforts, so you have to transform it.” Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have endorsed a far-reaching proposal from Hudson’s group to rebrand the agency as the Federal Renewable Energy Commission and orient its mission toward fighting climate change — but neither has spelled out in detail how they would make that happen.  [ read more … ]


Bloomberg flips on gas: ‘Worse than coal’

By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:03:57

Michael Bloomberg has voiced new criticism for natural gas at the start of his 2020 run, but the latest entry into the Democratic presidential field hasn’t turned completely against it — a half-step that’s unlikely to earn him much support from the party’s progressive wing. Even so, Bloomberg’s newfound condemnation is a notable change for someone who used to hail natural gas as a “godsend” for displacing coal-generated electricity. Experts said the move underscores the rapid shift of climate politics and policy on the left.
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Mercedes delays electric debut after rival SUVs flop

By Gabrielle Coppola, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:05:13

Mercedes-Benz is putting off the U.S. debut of its first electric vehicle by a year in the latest sign of just how difficult a time automakers are having replicating Tesla Inc.’s success. Daimler AG’s luxury brand will start sales of the EQC crossover in 2021 rather than early next year. The German carmaker said in an emailed statement that it’s made the strategic decision to first support growing demand for the model in Europe, where deliveries began earlier this year.
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Exxon, Chevron face new round of shareholder climate resolutions

By Reuters  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:07:34

An activist group is increasing the pressure on five big U.S. and European oil companies with shareholder resolutions urging them to meet the Paris climate goals and cut carbon emissions. Mobil, Chevron and their European rivals Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Equinor with climate resolutions ahead of next year’s annual general meetings (AGMs) scheduled for the first half of 2020. Follow This owns minor stakes in the companies which enables it to file shareholder resolutions. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Clean energy groups for tax extenders shutout

By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:07:10

Clean energy groups fear their priorities for extending and expanding expiring tax credits for solar, wind and other clean energy technologies will be left out of year-end legislating negotiations. However, Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are seeking at least some clean energy wins. One potential low-hanging fruit could be extending the investment tax credit to include energy storage, a bipartisan push being led by Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado, both vulnerable Republican senators in purple states. [ read more … ]

Former air deputy helped Wheeler threaten Calif.

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2019-12-16 16:07:49

Newly released emails shed more light on the key role played by a former EPA political appointee in Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s threat to revoke California’s highway funds. At issue is Wheeler’s September letter to the California Air Resources Board in which he threatened to revoke the state’s highway funds over its alleged failure to comply with the Clean Air Act. The emails show that Clint Woods, the former deputy EPA air chief, played a pivotal role in gathering data to back up Wheeler’s claims — data that was roundly criticized as inaccurate. [ read more … ]

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