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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

October 23, 2020

Top Story

The EPA Refuses to Reduce Pollutants Linked to Coronavirus Deaths

By Lisa Song and Lylla Younes, ProPublica  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:31:41

In April, as coronavirus cases multiplied across the country, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected scientists’ advice to tighten air pollution standards for particulate matter, or soot. In the next few weeks, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler likely will reaffirm that decision with a final ruling, despite emerging evidence that links particulate pollution to COVID-19 deaths. There was enough evidence to support a stricter standard before the pandemic, said Christopher Frey, an environmental engineering professor at North Carolina State University who studies air pollution. The added threat from the coronavirus is like “icing on the cake,” he said, and should compel Wheeler to adopt an even more stringent limit. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Japan to Use Wind, Batteries to Meet Lofty 2050 Carbon Goal

By Aya Takada, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:32:29

Japan will promote the use of offshore wind generation and battery storage in its new effort to become carbon neutral by 2050, according to a government official, indicating how the nation might change its policies to meet the ambitious goal. The world’s fifth-biggest greenhouse gas emitter, which is expected to formally announce the emissions pledge Monday, is aligning itself with commitments made by other major economies including the European Union and China, after lagging peers through its continued reliance on coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

NextEra announces record renewables, world’s largest battery

By Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:34:38

The world’s largest renewable energy developer says it has more projects in the works than it has connected to the grid — including plans for the biggest-ever stand-alone battery storage system. Renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Inc.’s competitive wholesale power unit has inked deals for more than 15,000 megawatts of wind, solar and storage projects, the utility giant announced yesterday. [ read more … ]


Cities’ actions fall short of lofty climate goals

By Peter Behr, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:37:57

Most major American cities that have signed on to the climate fight with pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions are failing to meet their goals or haven’t even started to track local progress, according to a survey by the Brookings Institution. The report, “Pledges and Progress,” looked for climate policy and actions in the nation’s 100 most populous cities, finding that two-thirds have made commitments to address citywide emissions. [ read more … ]

Hundreds of cities unprepared for climate disasters — report

By Daniel Cusick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:38:30

Hundreds of U.S. cities, already facing social and economic challenges, must bolster resilience to climate change if they are to remain competitive and grow economically, according to new research from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, or C2ES. “Cities are well aware the burden of preparing for climate change is theirs. They’re also learning that addressing those challenges can make them more competitive and economically sound across the board,” C2ES President Bob Perciasepe said in a statement.
[ read more … ]


Peak Gas Is Coming to the U.S. Sooner Than Anyone Expected

By Naureen Malik, Brian Eckhouse, Dave Merrill and Jeremy C.F. Lin, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:31:12

One of the largest utilities in the U.S. put $8 billion into a bet that natural gas would dominate American electricity much like coal had before. “We really consider this to be a growth play,” Tom Fanning, chief executive officer of Southern Co., said in an interview just five years ago, as his company set on its landmark acquisition: natural-gas distributor AGL Resources Inc. Now those expansive time horizons are in deep doubt. In fact, there are flashing signs that the U.S. power sector is approaching peak gas, with demand topping out decades ahead of schedule. “The era of robust growth in the U.S. natural gas market is likely coming to a close,” says Devin McDermott, an analyst at Morgan Stanley.
[ read more … ]

$4.3B deal forms third-largest U.S. renewable power company

By Edward Klump, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:33:47

Avangrid Inc. is planning to acquire New Mexico’s largest electric utility company in a $4.3 billion transaction that could accelerate development of renewables in the state and beyond.
The tie-up, announced yesterday, would cement Avangrid as the third-largest renewable energy operator in the U.S. with a foothold in 24 states, according to Iberdrola SA, the Spanish parent of Connecticut-based Avangrid. [ read more … ]

Exxon CEO announces layoffs, cites climate ‘challenge’

By Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:34:55

Exxon Mobil Corp. announced job cuts yesterday due to the coronavirus pandemic and the destruction it’s caused the global oil and gas sector. Speaking at an employee forum, Exxon CEO Darren Woods praised workers for their personal sacrifices before noting that staff reductions are necessary at the Texas-based oil giant. He did not specify how many employees would be laid off. [ read more … ]

The Oil Lobby’s COVID-19 Wish List

By Chris D’Angelo and Alexander C. Kaufman, Huffington Post  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:36:39

As the coronavirus pandemic upended the U.S. economy, the head of the oil and gas sector’s leading trade association declared that fossil fuel companies weren’t looking for government handouts to stay afloat.  “This is an industry that believes in the free market, it believes in supply and demand as the best arbiter of price,” Mike Sommers, CEO and president of the American Petroleum Institute, told Yahoo Finance in an April 23 interview. “So we’re not asking for any extra help from the federal government. We’re not interested in any bailouts.” 
[ read more … ]


EVs dealt major blow in building code ruling

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:33:23

In a setback to clean energy advocates, gas industry and homebuilder associations blocked an effort this month to prepare new homes and commercial buildings for a future wave of electric vehicles, stoves and heaters. The effort came before the International Code Council, an association that says its model codes for building safety are the “most widely used and adopted set … in the world.” [ read more … ]

Climate Litigation

5 global climate cases to watch

By Jennifer Hijazi, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:35:24

It’s been a busy summer of climate battles in courts across the globe. Judges around the world have been moving full steam ahead on challenges against big polluters and national governments as action in U.S. courts remains stymied amid lengthy procedural battles and divisive judicial nominations. [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

Climate change isn’t the only environmental crisis Biden wants to confront

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:37:09

“We need to hit the ground running undoing the damage of the Trump administration,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), a Biden surrogate and one of the leading advocates in Congress for a national “30 by 30” goal, said in an interview this month. “But we can’t stop there because that would be like putting a Band-Aid on a life-threatening wound.” Udall and his Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.) introduced a resolution laying out the objective last year. But the idea of protecting a certain percentage of the planet was planted by the biologist and writer E.O. Wilson in his 2016 book “Half Earth.” [ read more … ]

In the hot seats

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:32:00

Peterson represents the reddest district currently held by a Democrat (it voted for Trump by more than 20 points), but he’s defied its partisan drift thanks in large part to his championing agricultural interests. He faces former Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach in a contest that’s drawn millions in outside spending. Peterson often votes against his party on regulatory matters but could play a role in shaping agriculture-related provisions in future climate change legislation. This race is considered a “Tossup” by the Cook Political Report. [ read more … ]

What dueling Biden, Trump plans mean for energy jobs

By Mike Lee and Lesley Clark, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:32:53

Donald Trump has touted his enthusiastic support for the oil and gas industry as a selling point in battleground states where the November election will be won or lost. He’s bragged that his efforts to roll back environmental safeguards imposed by the Obama administration have created a “lot of jobs” — and that they’ll be threatened by a Biden presidency. Conversely, Democratic nominee Joe Biden has pledged a $2 trillion plan to tackle climate change that invests heavily in wind, solar and other forms of clean energy. [ read more … ]

Off Topic

Vatican mints environment-themed coin

By Avery Ellfeldt, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-10-22 14:35:42

The Vatican has minted a coin that carries the image of a young woman who is pregnant — with the Earth. Unveiled last Friday, the coin is worth €10 and was designed by the Italian sculptor Luigi Oldani. The Vatican commissioned the Catholic artist to create an ecologically themed coin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Oldani told the Catholic News Agency. [ read more … ]

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