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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

March 17, 2020

Top Story

Demand Meltdown Crushes Fuel Prices, Drags Crude to 4-Year Low

By Alex Longley, Jack Wittels and Jacqueline Davalos, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:30:49

Gasoline may soon cost less than the crude it’s made from as plunging fuel demand batters the oil market. The U.S. benchmark crude tumbled to a four-year low Monday while gasoline futures in New York plummeted as much as 25% to the weakest level since 2005. The meltdown extended to jet fuel and diesel as the coronavirus outbreak restricts people’s movement globally and shuts down swathes of the world’s economy. Oil-refiners’ margins had been cushioned by nosediving crude costs, but that will be almost impossible to sustain if end-user demand keeps collapsing. [ read more … ]

U.S. Could Start Buying Crude for Strategic Petroleum Reserve in Two Weeks

By Timothy Gardner; Reuters  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:36:50

The United States could begin purchasing U.S. produced crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as soon as two weeks from now, and fill it in several months, an Energy Department source said on Monday. President Donald Trump said late on Friday that he has ordered the Energy Department to fill the reserve “to the top.” The move was aimed at helping domestic energy producers suffering from the plunge in oil prices brought about by the spread of coronavirus and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
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‘We’re going to have layoffs.’ Oil industry braces for pain

By Mike Lee, Carlos Anchondo and Lesley Clark, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:33:21

The White House promised to bolster oil prices by filling up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates yesterday to nearly zero, but the oil industry is still bracing for a long downturn as the coronavirus pandemic raises the risk of a recession. President Trump made the SPR announcement at a White House news conference Friday as part of a broader plan that included a national state of emergency and as much as $50 billion in relief funds. [ read more … ]

Trump orders Energy Department to ‘fill up’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve with cheap oil

By Abby Smith, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:34:37

“We’re going to fill it right up to the top, saving the American taxpayer billions and billions of dollars, helping our oil industry and making us even further toward that wonderful goal, which we achieved, which nobody thought was possible, of energy independence,” Trump said during remarks Friday in the Rose Garden outlining the White House’s response to the coronavirus. Trump also declared the coronavirus a national emergency. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Bipartisan bill would split offshore wind revenue with states

By Heather Richards, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:32:15

A bipartisan group of senators say offshore wind energy revenue should go to state as well as federal coffers. The “Opening Federal Financial Sharing to Heighten Opportunities for Renewable Energy (OFFSHORE) Act” would create a revenue-sharing model for offshore wind “fees, rentals, bonuses [and] royalties” similar to ones used for offshore oil and gas extraction. Current law would direct offshore wind revenue to the U.S. Treasury. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Solar hits land use, cost troubles in Northeast

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:34:16

Northeastern states are pushing to develop solar energy to meet climate targets, but the transition may prove tricky to pull off, analysts say. The cost of clean energy subsidies is mounting, and after years of growth fueled by early adopters, solar developers are facing the challenge of selling their power to a broader swath of the public. [ read more … ]


3rd stimulus may put energy industry aid in play

By Geof Koss, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:32:54

A stimulus could also open the door for more talks on infrastructure, including the Senate’s five-year, $287 billion transportation bill. Senate Republicans are struggling to pay for about $100 billion of the measure, after deciding to jettison a proposal that would have had large trucks pay a fee per mile traveled. [ read more … ]

Italy’s coronavirus lockdown is lowering air pollution

By Laura Millan Lombrana, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:32:36

The impact of Italy’s nationwide quarantine that began last week can already be measured in lower air pollution levels and falling nitrogen dioxide emissions, with the decline particularly evident in the northern region that entered lockdown ahead of the rest of the country. The drop in pollution has been detected by the Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite, and researchers concluded that it was primarily the result of efforts to contain the spread of the highly infectious coronavirus. “We are very confident that the reduction in emissions that we can see coincides with the lockdown in Italy causing less traffic and industrial activities,” said Claus Zehner, the satellite’s mission manager at the European Space Agency, in a statement. [ read more … ]


Billionaires chasing fusion energy face a credibility test

By Jonathan Tirone, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:31:39

Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Peter Thiel beware. There could be a shakeup on the horizon among the billionaire-backed companies trying to replicate the energy source of the sun and stars. That’s the assessment of Jonathan Carling, the chief executive officer of Tokamak Energy Ltd., the U.K. company backed by Swiss billionaire Hans-Peter Wild, which is promising investors it will connect a fusion reactor to the power grid in a decade. He sees the market thinning as competing designs are likely to prove technically unfeasible. [ read more … ]


Pa. RGGI plan keeps struggling nuclear plant open

By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:37:16

A Pennsylvania nuclear plant scheduled to be shut down next year will instead remain in operation based on the state’s decision to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Energy Harbor Corp., the company previously known as FirstEnergy Solutions, announced Friday that it has rescinded a deactivation notice for the 1,872-megawatt plant that was filed with the regional grid operator, PJM Interconnection. [ read more … ]

For environmentalists, a ‘monumental’ legislative session

By Alan Suderman and Ben Finley, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:36:00

Environmental advocates notched one win after another this legislative session as the new Democratic majority passed their top-priority legislation, including measures long opposed by Republicans who used to be in charge. Legislators sent bills to Gov. Ralph Northam that will remake how Virginia’s utilities generate electricity, remove barriers to rooftop solar, ban offshore drilling and fracking in much of the state and mandate more coal ash cleanup. [ read more … ]


Supreme and D.C. Circuit Courts Arguments delayed, buildings closed to public amid pandemic, FERC tolling orders

By Pamela King, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:35:33

The D.C. Circuit is set to hear oral arguments in a high-profile case examining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s use of “tolling orders” — procedural orders that effectively block landowners from challenging federally approved projects such as natural gas pipelines while construction moves forward — on March 31. The case will be heard en banc, which means the court’s full slate of active judges will decide the dispute. In a Friday notice sent to parties in the FERC dispute, the D.C. Circuit reminded attorneys arguing in upcoming cases not to come to court if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and asking lawyers to limit the size of their supporting teams as much as possible.
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Coronavirus and the U.S. grid: What to know

By E&E News staff  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:33:41

U.S. utility executives said the sector is well prepared and has faced the threat of spreading infections before. More than a decade ago, global virus scares like SARS pushed companies to hammer out contingency plans, and those have stuck. “A lot of the foundational work on contingency planning is actually rooted in pandemic planning because of those experiences in the mid-2000s,” Scott Aaronson, the Edison Electric Institute’s vice president of security and preparedness. “There is a good body of work and a lot of planning and exercises that have gone into being able to operate through these challenges.” [ read more … ]


Republicans weaponize Biden comments on fracking

By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-03-16 15:31:13

Under pressure from opponent Bernie Sanders during a debate, Biden said yesterday that under his presidency, there would be “no new fracking” and “no ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period”. Biden’s campaign staff later walked back the remarks, saying the former vice president was referring only to his previously stated position that he would ban all new fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and offshore. Sanders, by contrast, has promised to ban fracking everywhere. Immediately after Biden’s statements, Republicans and the oil industry began to highlight them, saying the former vice president’s positions threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs and would put the economy at risk, among other impacts. [ read more … ]


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