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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

January 6, 2020

Top Story

Trump admin plans 2020 approvals for major projects

By Scott Streater, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:12:41

The Trump administration is poised this year to do what congressional Democrats and other critics of the president’s “energy dominance” campaign have been demanding for months: advance large-scale renewable energy projects on federal lands. By summer, the Bureau of Land Management plans to have issued records of decision (RODs) approving five commercial-scale solar and wind projects, as well as a major proposal to open 21,000 acres in Southern California for geothermal energy leasing, according to a BLM state-by-state priority project list obtained by E&E News. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Denmark sources record 47% of power from wind in 2019

By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:13:18

Denmark sourced almost half its electricity consumption from wind power last year, a new record boosted by steep cost reductions and improved offshore technology. Wind accounted for 47% of Denmark’s power usage in 2019, the country’s grid operator Energinet said on Thursday citing preliminary data, up from 41% in 2018 and topping the previous record of 43% in 2017. [ read more … ]

World’s largest floating turbine starts generating power

By Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:14:02

The world’s largest floating wind turbine has started delivering power to the grid from one of three platforms off the Portuguese coast. On Tuesday, a 20-kilometer cable successfully connected the WindFloat Atlantic wind farm — a project of energy consortium Windplus — and a substation in northern Portugal, according to a press release from renewable energy company EDP Renewables. [ read more … ]

NIMBY concerns threaten Md. plans for bigger turbines

By Heather Richards, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:14:24

Plans to install the largest offshore wind turbines on the market off the coast of Maryland are running into challenges. Both Ørsted A/S and U.S. Wind Inc., the developers of two slow-going offshore wind proposals in Maryland, have appealed to state regulators to update their plans to reflect the industry’s larger models. But some local and state officials are worried that the taller structures would mar the view off the coast. The companies, though, have said larger structures would result in fewer turbines, alleviating scenery impacts. They maintain they are still in compliance with requirements Maryland laid out when it approved tax credits for the projects in 2017. [ read more … ]

Are wind turbines safe? N.Y. accident stirs debate

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:13:43

The sudden collapse of a wind turbine in a densely populated New York City neighborhood has alarmed state and city officials, who are promising investigations and new legislation in response to the accident. The turbine on the roof of a strip mall in the Bronx came apart amid high winds Monday, taking with it its foundational monopole tower. [ read more … ]

Markey urges union labor for offshore wind

By Heather Richards, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:12:58

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) is urging the two offshore wind companies developing projects off the Massachusetts coast to hire union workers. “I encourage you to ensure that offshore wind jobs are union jobs,” the senator wrote in a Monday letter to Lars Thaaning Pedersen, CEO of Vineyard Wind. The senator sent an identical letter to Thomas Brostrøm, president of Ørsted North America. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Trump administration says it will approve largest U.S. solar farm

By Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:14:57

Federal officials plan to approve a massive solar farm with energy storage in the desert outside Las Vegas, paving the way for a $1-billion project that will provide electricity to Nevada residents served by billionaire Warren Buffett’s NV Energy. At 690 megawatts across 7,100 acres, the facility would generate more power than the largest solar farm currently operating in the United States, a 579-megawatt plant in Southern California. The energy storage component — at least 380 megawatts of four-hour lithium-ion batteries, capable of storing solar power for use after dark — would also be one of the largest facilities of its kind [ read more … ]

Efficiency

Judge allows Calif.’s shift to energy-saving lightbulbs

By Don Thompson, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:17:11

A federal judge allowed California’s updated lightbulb efficiency standards to take effect with the new year. U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller of Sacramento rejected a petition from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association and the American Lighting Association to temporarily block new minimum efficiency standards for lightbulbs that the California Energy Commission adopted in November. The judge said the associations are unlikely to succeed in their lawsuit, which argues that the state rules conflict with federal law. [ read more … ]

Trump admin blocks phaseout of incandescent lightbulbs

By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:17:37

President Trump, who complains that energy efficient lightbulbs make him “look so orange,” promises his administration is “bringing back the old lightbulb.” And in the new year, that’s happening. The Department of Energy on Friday issued a final rule that blocks the planned 2020 phaseout of all incandescent bulbs — the traditional pear-shaped bulbs made famous by inventor Thomas Edison. [ read more … ]

FERC

FERC rules clean energy sources must bid higher market price

By Scott DiSavino, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:15:37

The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission directed the largest U.S. power grid operator to force state-subsidized solar and wind electricity providers to raise market bids, a move that renewable energy companies and environmental groups blasted as a partisan attempt to protect fossil fuels. In a statement, FERC said the order would protect the competitiveness of power grid operator PJM Interconnection’s capacity market, which pays generation providers to keep their power plants available for service to maintain system reliability. [ read more … ]

FERC throws support to fossil fuels in largest power market

By Rod Kuckro and Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:16:08

Federal regulators approved rules yesterday for the nation’s largest electricity market that effectively prop up fossil fuel power plants and discourage new investments in renewable power, demand response and energy storage projects. The much-awaited changes in PJM Interconnection’s rules governing its capacity market were issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 508 days after the agency issued a decision calling the current market rules unjust and unreasonable and directing PJM to devise a fix. [ read more … ]

FERC move to raise PJM capacity market bids shows ‘clear bias’ against new, clean generation: Glick

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:19:32

Federal regulators on Thursday voted to effectively raise the bids of subsidized resources selling their power into PJM Interconnection’s wholesale capacity market. Under the plan, new resources receiving subsidies will now be subject to the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR), which raises the price floor for those resources attempting to sell their power into the wholesale market. The move is intended to prevent potential “unacceptable market distorting effects” caused by state clean energy policies, according to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Neil Chatterjee. Commissioner Richard Glick was the sole dissenting vote of the three commissioners. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

New governors accelerate clean energy action, propelled by Democratic midterm wave

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:18:09

“We’re seeing a lot of public comments from a number of these governors that indicates that the commitment to clean energy was more than just campaign rhetoric,” J.R. Tolbert, managing director at Advanced Energy Economy, told Utility Dive. “It was actually a commitment to seeing that rhetoric become policy, which is exactly what we were hoping for and what we believed we were seeing from them on the campaign trail.”
[ read more … ]

Science Panel Staffed With Trump Appointees Says E.P.A. Rollbacks Lack Scientific Rigor

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:18:34

A top panel of government-appointed scientists, many of them hand-selected by the Trump administration, said on Tuesday that three of President Trump’s most far-reaching and scrutinized proposals to weaken major environmental regulations are at odds with established science. Draft letters posted online Tuesday by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Scientific Advisory Board, which is responsible for evaluating the scientific integrity of the agency’s regulations, took aim at the Trump administration’s rewrite of an Obama-era regulation of waterways, an Obama-era effort to curb planet-warming vehicle tailpipe emissions and a plan to limit scientific data that can be used to draft health regulations. [ read more … ]

Climate Reporting in 2019: A Year of Warnings. And Also Hope.

By Christopher Flavelle, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:19:05

It was a big year for climate reporting, and not necessarily for the good news. Wildfires consumed vast parts of the Amazon and Arctic alike. Greenhouse gas emissions continued to rise, but President Trump served notice to quit the Paris climate agreement. The latest United Nations climate talks produced one of the worst outcomes in 25 years, with the biggest polluters blocking even the suggestion of more ambitious targets. [ read more … ]

France to raise pollution tax on SUVs and trucks to $22,240

By Ania Nussbaum, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-01-06 04:19:53

France is taking aim at SUVs by raising a tax on heavier and more polluting vehicles, a measure that comes on top of tough new European rules being phased in next year to lower car emissions. Under a law adopted by parliament this week, cars emitting carbon dioxide above a certain threshold will be subject to a €20,000 ($22,240) penalty in 2020, higher than the existing €12,500. At the same time, the government is considering reducing cash incentives for the purchase of electric cars. [ read more … ]

 

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