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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

September 15, 2020

Top Story

New Research Shows Disproportionate Rate of Coronavirus Deaths in Polluted Areas

By Lylla Younes, ProPublica, and Sara Sneath  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:03:08

COVID-19 can be made more serious — and, in some cases, more deadly — by a specific type of industrial emission called hazardous air pollutants, or HAPs, according to new peer-reviewed research by ProPublica and researchers at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The study, published Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, found this association in both rural counties in Louisiana and highly populated communities in New York. The analysis examined air pollution and coronavirus deaths in the roughly 3,100 U.S. counties and found a close correlation between levels of hazardous pollutants and the per-capita death rate from COVID-19. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Offshore Wind Promised New Jobs and Economic Development. Where Are They?

By TOM JOHNSON, NY Spotlight  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:02:51

With New Jersey ramping up its efforts to develop a robust offshore wind program, new doubts have been raised over when and whether the projects will deliver the significant economic benefits and jobs touted by developers. The issue became public Wednesday when the state opened a second solicitation to build offshore wind farms off the Jersey coast and prominent legislators unexpectedly called on state regulators to immediately suspend its review of the first and only offshore wind project to be approved by the Board of Public Utilities. [ read more … ]

Climate Change

A Secret Recording Reveals Oil Executives’ Private Views on Climate Change

By Hiroko Tabuchi. New York Times  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:00:20

Last summer, oil and gas-industry groups were lobbying to overturn federal rules on leaks of natural gas, a major contributor to climate change. Their message: The companies had emissions under control. In private, the lobbyists were saying something very different. At a discussion convened last year by the Independent Petroleum Association of America, a group that represents energy companies, participants worried that producers were intentionally flaring, or burning off, far too much natural gas, threatening the industry’s image, according to a recording of the meeting reviewed by The New York Times. [ read more … ]

End of Combustion Engine Moves Closer With EU Climate Plan

By Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:00:35

The European Union’s executive will unveil an ambitious emissions-cut plan this week that’ll leave no sector of the economy untouched, forcing wholesale lifestyle changes and stricter standards for industries. Under a new climate target for 2030, European automakers would need to embrace tougher pollution standards, with new rules that could retire combustion engines to science museums. Energy will grow increasingly cleaner, with an additional 350 billion euros ($415 billion) per year required for investment in production and infrastructure. And to help cut greenhouse gases in agriculture, Europeans would be encouraged to eat less meat. [ read more … ]

To Save the Planet, We’ll Have to Plug More Things In

By Jeremy Hodges, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:00:51

Dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be hard enough, but to do it without hooking many more things up to batteries or electrical cords would be just about impossible. Almost all the scenarios for moving from fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives rest on using electricity in more parts of the economy. In Europe, which has the most ambitious plans in this area, widespread electrification combined with moving generation to renewable sources could slash emissions by 60% by 2050, according to a BloombergNEF analysis. But doing so will require a major overhaul of millions of systems that currently run cheaply and reliably, bringing with it immense upheaval. [ read more … ]

Judges consider Big Oil’s ‘efforts to mislead’ on climate

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:02:20

A panel of judges last week grilled an industry attorney about whether a Rhode Island lawsuit truly raises federal concerns as the bench grappled with another attempt by oil and gas companies to throw a climate damages case to federal court. The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Friday in the case, which is one of multiple climate actions seeking to hold the oil and gas industry financially accountable for global warming effects like sea-level rise through state nuisance, trespass and product liability laws. [ read more … ]


GOP-led Minnesota Senate ousts a second Walz commissioner

By Briana Bierschbach, Minneapolis Star Tribune  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:03:31

Senate Republicans ousted Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley on Friday, the second agency head in two months to get the boot in an intensifying power struggle between GOP leaders and Gov. Tim Walz during a series of pandemic-triggered special sessions. Kelley, appointed by Walz in 2019, was rejected on a narrow 33-31 vote after taking heat from Republicans for his agency’s role in legal challenges to Line 3, Enbridge Energy’s project to replace a deteriorating pipeline in northern Minnesota. [ read more … ]


Pandemic, unpaid bills test utilities’ social justice vows

By E&E News staff  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:01:10

They may not march with Black Lives Matter, but you wouldn’t know it from the tone struck by chief executives of some of the largest U.S. electric companies. “As we power the lives of our customers, we will also continue to advocate for change, stand up for justice and ensure the communities where we work and live are provided with equal opportunities,” CEO Lynn Good of Duke Energy Corp. told analysts and investors last month. [ read more … ]


Panel to question FERC picks on climate, infrastructure

By Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:01:52

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will this week consider a pair of nominations — one Republican, one Democratic — to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The hearing launches the confirmation process for Democratic pick Allison Clements and Republican nominee Mark Christie. [ read more … ]


BP Says the Era of Oil-Demand Growth Is Over

By Rakteem Katakey, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:02:34

BP said the relentless growth of oil demand is over, becoming the first supermajor to call the end of an era many thought would last another decade or more. Oil consumption may never return to levels seen before the coronavirus crisis took hold, BP said in a report on Monday. Even its most bullish scenario sees demand no better than “broadly flat” for the next two decades as the energy transition shifts the world away from fossil fuels. [ read more … ]

Google aims to run on carbon-free energy by 2030

By Paresh Dave, Reuters  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:03:56

Alphabet Inc’s Google aims to power its data centers and offices 24-7 using solely carbon-free electricity by 2030, its chief executive told Reuters, building on its previous goal of matching its energy use with 100% renewable energy.

The “stretch goal,” as CEO Sundar Pichai described it, will force Google to move beyond the tech industry norm of offseting carbon emissions from electricity use and require technological and political breakthroughs to achieve. [ read more … ]


Nikola fraud accusations rattle EV truck investors

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:01:28

A report accusing electric truck startup Nikola Corp. of fraud has set off a firestorm of counteraccusations, threats of legal action and wild stock price swings. Concern about how it all shakes out could spread to the wider field of aspiring electric vehicle makers, including General Motors Co. Nikola, based in Phoenix, has been considered a rising star in a newly crowded field of battery-electric and fuel cell-powered trucks. It started last week with a big splash after announcing GM had agreed to a $2 billion stake in the company, including access to GM’s engineering and manufacturing muscle (Energywire, Sept. 9). Nikola has never sold a vehicle, but it has struck deals to supply thousands of zero-emissions trucks for companies like Anheuser-Busch Cos. LLC and waste management firm Republic Services Inc. [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

Wildfires force Biden and Trump to reckon with climate

By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-09-14 17:02:06

Deadly wildfires in the western United States have nudged climate change back into the arena of the 2020 presidential election. The fires have killed more than two dozen people, forced tens of thousands to flee and painted the sky an ominous shade of orange. The carnage prompted President Trump to schedule a visit to California today. Democratic nominee Joe Biden will also speak about the wildfires this afternoon from Delaware, and he is expected to use the blazes and other extreme weather events to press the case for his climate agenda. [ read more … ]

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