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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

July 31, 2020

Top Story

E.P.A. Inspector General to Investigate Trump’s Biggest Climate Rollback

By Coral Davenport and Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 14:58:06

The Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog said it had opened an investigation into the agency’s weakening of Obama-era regulations that would have limited automobile emissions by significantly raising fuel economy standards. The inspector general demanded that top E.P.A. officials turn over briefing materials and other documents pertaining to the regulation, which was finalized in late March as the Trump administration’s single largest rollback of federal climate change rules. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

U.S. has 7 ocean turbines. Companies see hundreds soon

By John Fialka, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 14:59:46

When construction was completed last month on two wind turbines in the rolling Atlantic waters off the Virginia coastline, it marked the passage of a key milestone. It was the first commercial project built in federal waters and also the boldest plunge yet into this European-dominated business by a U.S. energy company. “It’s part of our commitment to be the cleanest energy company in the United States,” announced Dominion Energy Inc., a Richmond, Va., company that serves over 5 million customers. [ read more … ]

Clean Energy

Biden calls for 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. Here’s how far we have to go.

By John Muyskens and Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:02:52

This month the Democratic presumptive presidential nominee, Joe Biden, outlined an ambitious plan for tackling climate change that shows how far the party has shifted on the issue since it controlled the White House. President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan had called for the electricity sector to cut its carbon pollution 32 percent by 2030, and did not lay out a trajectory for phasing out oil, coal or natural gas production. [ read more … ]

Transmission

A Totally Green Electric Grid Will Dramatically Speed Up Climate Action

By David R Baker , Brian Eckhouse , and Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:02:17

The perfectly green electricity grid sought by Joe Biden isn’t the end of the fight against global warming. It’s the beginning. Today, 40% of America’s electricity comes from carbon-free sources. The Democratic presidential candidate has made getting that to 100% by 2035 a centerpiece of his $2 trillion plan to address climate change and create jobs. Getting there would take an enormous expansion of solar and wind capacity in the U.S., backed by mass adoption of energy-storage technologies and hanging onto existing hydroelectric and nuclear plants.
[ read more … ]

Transmission: No Easy Fix

By Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:03:13

 Reaching any ambitious decarbonization goal requires massive investments in transmission power lines to deliver wind and solar power, but there is no easy fix to upgrade the nation’s processes for building the lines, FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said Thursday. “Everyone understands the need for additional investments in our transmission system,” Chatterjee, a Republican, said in a keynote address to WIRES, a transmission industry group that held its summer meeting remotely. “It is one of the areas where there is bipartisan support in a divided Washington. Congress is aware decarbonization goals are totally dependent on new transmission investment.” [ read more … ]

Maine’s most expensive ballot fight ever unites natural gas companies and environmentalists

By Abby Smith, Energy and Environment Reporter, Washington Examiner  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:03:38

The fight has put Texas-based natural gas companies on the same side as many local environmentalists, staunchly opposed to the project but for different reasons. Current and former Maine state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have criticized the project, whereas Democratic Gov. Janet Mills and former GOP Gov. Paul LePage, who rarely see eye-to-eye, have both supported it. At a high level, the fight shows how challenging it could be to build clean energy transmission lines across the United States, which energy experts say will be critical to decarbonizing the power grid. [ read more … ]

States

N.M. shuns gas, chooses renewables to replace coal

By Edward Klump, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 14:59:13

Supporters of renewable energy and carbon-capture technology found reason to cheer in New Mexico yesterday as regulators endorsed a plan for the state’s largest electric utility to use solar and battery storage to replace capacity from a coal-fueled power plant. But the utility itself — Public Service Co. of New Mexico, or PNM — didn’t get the outcome it sought. [ read more … ]

Climate

John Kerry Backs New Carbon-Price ETF in Climate Change Fight

By Miles Weiss, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:01:25

The former U.S. secretary of state and one-time presidential candidate is throwing his weight behind the KFA Global Carbon ETF, an exchange-traded fund tracking the three most robust markets for carbon credits. Based on an index developed by IHS Markit Ltd. and Climate Finance Partners, the ETF begins trading Thursday under the symbol KRBN. The fund offers retail investors exposure to the carbon credit market, one of the chief mechanisms for limiting greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate accord Kerry helped negotiate in 2015. Kerry is also hoping the ETF will help set a single worldwide price for carbon — a crucial steppingstone the framers of the Paris agreement couldn’t agree on. [ read more … ]

EVs

Test a Tesla or Buy a Bolt With Help From Your Electric Company

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:01:47

Power companies are loaning out Teslas in Washington, electrifying bus fleets in Virginia and lobbying for electric vehicle tax credits on Capitol Hill. San Diego Gas & Electric Co. even went so far as to help train salespeople on how to convince consumers to buy electric cars and then paid them as much as $500 per sale. It’s all part of a $1.5 billion effort by utilities such as Exelon Corp.and Dominion Energy Inc. to promote vehicles that run on electricity. The companies see it not just as a chance to sell more power, but to balance electricity demand and meet sustainability goals. [ read more … ]

LA accelerates efforts to make its famous traffic electric

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 14:59:30

Electric buses are hitting Los Angeles streets. Low-income residents can access discounted electric car-sharing. And electric vehicle charging stations are multiplying. Those changes are part of LA’s effort to cut the number of gas-fueled vehicles from its streets. The region, famous for its traffic, wants to get more people in EVs, trains and buses and on bikes before the Summer Olympics come to LA in 2028. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti touted the first zero-emissions bus produced for the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, known as Metro, earlier this week. [ read more … ]

Legislation would create California EV boss

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:00:36

Proposed legislation aims to speed the adoption of electric vehicles in California. A bill being drafted by state Sen. Henry Stern (D) would create the California Electric Vehicle Authority in the governor’s office. It would help find funding to move the nation’s most populous state to a “zero emissions transportation system” and coordinate work among the state, local and regional governments toward accomplishing the goal. Right now, EVs comprise about 9% of new car sales in a state with about 15 million cars on its roads. [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

‘We’re back.’ Trump shrugs off grim oil outlook in Texas

By Lesley Clark and Mike Lee, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 14:58:29

President Trump announced a pair of energy initiatives as he stood before a Texas oil rig yesterday, courting an oil and gas industry reeling from the coronavirus as polls suggest a close race this November in a reliably red state. Trump, who raised $7 million for his campaign and other Republicans before arriving at Midland’s Double Eagle Energy Holdings III LLC’s Rig No. 43 in West Texas, said to applause that he had signed orders extending certain exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas through 2050 and allowing exports of Texas crude to Mexico. [ read more … ]

‘No more energy.’ Trump warns of depression under Biden

By Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:00:18

President Trump used a trip to the nation’s largest oil field yesterday to accuse “Washington radical-left crazy Democrats” of trying to end the U.S. energy industry. The visit, which comes less than 100 days before Election Day, also doubled as a chance for Trump to take credit for a boom of oil and gas development in the Permian Basin over the last three years. At a stop at a Double Eagle Energy oil rig, Trump made the case that the good times would end if he wasn’t reelected. [ read more … ]

Off Topic

Wealthy novelist donates $1.7B to charity, including climate

By Sophie Alexander, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-07-30 15:00:57

MacKenzie Scott said she has donated about $1.7 billion to several causes including racial equity, climate change and public health, as the world’s 13th-richest person works to fulfill a pledge to give away a majority of her wealth. The novelist’s $59.3 billion fortune derives from a 4% stake in Amazon.com Inc., which she received as part of her divorce from Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man. In a blog post Tuesday, she outlined her philanthropy and said the global turmoil in the first half of 2020 spurred her to call attention to organizations and leaders driving change and addressing inequities. She wrote under what she said was her new last name, Scott. She still uses Bezos on her Twitter account. [ read more … ]

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