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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

September 9, 2020

Top Story

New Blackouts Darken California

By Katherine Blunt, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:29:37

PG&E Corp. said late Monday it started cutting power in parts of Northern California to reduce wildfire risks, a day after the state narrowly averted rolling blackouts to relieve strain on its electric grid during a heat wave. The San Francisco-based utility, which serves 16 million people in Northern and Central California, said the outages will affect about 172,000 customers in 22 counties, stretching from wine country to the Sierra foothills. “PG&E will be able to use temporary generation and islanding to enable about 69,000 customers and several medical facilities to stay energized,” the company said.
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Blackouts loom as record heat and fires blast Calif.

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:29:22

Electricity blackouts, historic heat and record-busting fires walloped California over the holiday weekend, and the crisis isn’t over yet. San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) announced last night it planned to shut off lines connecting about 172,000 customer accounts, saying incoming high winds with low humidity and high temperatures raised the threat of wildfire. The utility expected peak wind gusts of 45 to 50 mph. Fast winds can knock vegetation into power lines, causing them to snap and ignite blazes. [ read more … ]

FERC

FERC blocks N.Y. grid operator’s bid to support clean energy

By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:30:51

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission moved late Friday to block proposed market changes by New York’s grid operator aimed at better aligning with the state’s clean energy goals.
Republicans on the commission rejected the New York Independent System Operator’s proposal in a 3-1 vote — prompting sharp criticism from the agency’s lone Democratic commissioner, Richard Glick, as well as calls from environmentalists for New York to pull out of FERC-backed capacity markets.
[ read more … ]

FERC rejects BY request to add renewables into capacity market

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:32:01

FERC late Friday issued an order that rejected an effort by the New York Independent System Operator to accommodate renewables in its capacity market. FERC called NYISO’s request “unjust and unreasonable and unduly discriminatory” because it favored resources supported by state policy — notably nuclear power plants and renewables — over those that did not receive such support, meaning fossil fuel generators. [ read more … ]

NEPA

Judge questions motivation behind NEPA overhaul

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:30:38

A federal judge last week told government attorneys to stay in “political reality” during arguments over whether conservation groups will be irreparably harmed once new implementing rules for a bedrock environmental statute go into effect. Judge James Jones of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia heard arguments Friday on a request by green groups to stall the Trump administration’s new National Environmental Policy Act regulations. [ read more … ]

EPA

Wheeler’s Environmental Justice Pledge Leaves Activists Cold

By Stephen Lee, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:32:34

Environmental justice leaders say they are perplexed by EPA chief Andrew Wheeler’s commitments to low-income communities of color—one of the main themes of a speech he gave in California. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Wheeler laid out his views in a Thursday speech about the agency’s future, arguing the nation’s environmental policies have been a problem for frontline communities for decades, stretching back before the Trump administration. He said past policies haven’t done a thorough enough job of cleaning up such communities, and have pounded them economically. [ read more … ]

Hydrogen

Utilities Look to Green Hydrogen to Cut Carbon Emissions

By Katherine Blunt, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:32:18

U.S. utilities are increasingly exploring the use of what is called green hydrogen made from wind and solar energy to reduce emissions from power plants and pipelines. The early investments by companies including NextEra Energy Inc. and Dominion Energy Inc. are expected to help commercialize a costly technology that has been slow to develop despite its ability to provide a steady source of carbon-free power. Utilities and policy makers are beginning to view the technology as necessary to support ambitious renewable-energy goals. [ read more … ]

FirstEnergy

Ohio House takes step to repeal law tied to bribery scandal

By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:31:14

The Ohio House is set to begin formal discussions this week on a bill to repeal an energy law that federal prosecutors allege was at the center of a $60 million racketeering scheme orchestrated by former House Speaker Larry Householder (R). New House Speaker Bob Cupp (R) scheduled a hearing for Thursday on H.B. 746, which would effectively overturn last summer’s passage of H.B. 6. The new bill would not only undo subsidies for Ohio’s two nuclear plants but also restore previous utility laws, including reviving clean energy standards. [ read more … ]

EVs

Jeep reveals 1st U.S. battery-powered vehicle

By Tom Krisher, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:31:30

Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand is starting to offer gas-electric hybrid and eventually full electric powertrains across its lineup. The company rolled out the first of them for the U.S. on Thursday, a plug-in rechargeable Wrangler to go on sale in America, Europe and China early next year. The Wrangler 4xe can go 25 miles on electricity before a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine takes over. Drivers can choose to have an engine-powered generator recharge the batteries (at a higher fuel consumption rate), although it would take about 2.5 hours at 45 to 55 mph to fully replenish them. [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

Climate advisers take key roles in Biden transition team

By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:30:22

The team includes a pair of key advisers who have played major roles in developing Biden’s climate change and clean energy policies: Cecilia Martinez, executive director at the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy and a University of Delaware research professor, and Lonnie Stephenson, president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The four co-chairs, 15 advisory board members and eight staff members announced Saturday are a major addition to the team led by Ted Kaufman, a longtime political adviser to Biden. The team previously had only a handful of members. [ read more … ]

U.S. utilities say Biden plan to cut CO2 hinges on breakthroughs

By Nichola Groom, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2020-09-08 14:32:54

The U.S. power industry would struggle to meet presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s proposed mandate that it become carbon neutral by 2035 without some big breakthroughs in clean energy technology, according to a Reuters analysis of planning documents and a survey of top utilities. The country’s top power producers said rapid advances in nascent technologies – such as batteries to store power for lean times, carbon capture to trap waste from fossil fuels and advanced nuclear power – will be critical to reaching net-zero carbon dioxide emissions. [ read more … ]

 

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