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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

November 17, 2020

Top Story

Biden’s energy agenda hinges on FERC, red states

By Peter Behr, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:29:52

The last time President-elect Joe Biden was in the White House, many of the Obama administration’s clean energy policies he championed were derailed by a Republican Senate majority and lawsuits by a swath of red-state governors. Those same forces appear aligned against Biden on the climate issue unless victories in two runoff races in Georgia in January give Democrats control of the Senate. Even then, the former vice president would need a unified Democratic caucus to support his daunting goals for a carbon-free grid by 2035, and cracks within his coalition have already opened. [ read more … ]

The Transition

On climate, Biden urged to follow the ‘California agenda’

By Anne C. Mulkern, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:32:27

California sees itself as a national leader in the fight against climate change, especially during the Trump administration. Now, postelection, green advocates see the state as a guidebook President-elect Joe Biden can follow. The Golden State seeks to shrink climate pollution through a slew of laws, such as mandating 100% clean electricity by 2045. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) following extreme fires this summer called for faster action. In an executive order, he banned sales of new gas-fueled passenger cars after 2035, a first-in-the-nation move [ read more … ]

The Energy 202: Here are some of the contenders to become Biden’s top environmental officials

By Dino Grandoni, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:32:44

Unwinding President Trump’s rollbacks of anti-pollution rules is going to take a lot of work. And much of it is going to fall on whomever Joe Biden chooses as his main deputies on environmental issues. Just a week after victory and without a formal concession of defeat from Trump, the president-elect is forging ahead with building a Cabinet that will have to contend with multiple crises at once — including climate change. [ read more … ]

Meet a progressive favorite for EPA chief

By Jean Chemnick, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:32:09

When progressive advocates released their wish list for Cabinet secretaries under President-elect Joe Biden, the suggestions barely overlapped with top-tier candidates being discussed by political insiders. One of the exceptions was Heather McTeer Toney, an Obama-era regional EPA administrator for the Southeast who now heads Moms Clean Air Force, which campaigns against air pollution. [ read more … ]

Trump Rushes Environmental Regulations That Could Handcuff Biden

By Jennifer A Dlouhy, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:31:06

The Trump administration is rushing to issue permits, finalize major environmental regulations and even sell the rights to drill for oil in Alaskan wilderness before Inauguration Day in a push that could complicate Joe Biden’s climate and conservation agenda. The 11th-hour regulatory race underscores the extent to which federal agencies are anticipating Biden’s swearing-in as U.S. president on Jan. 20 even as President Donald Trump refuses to concede the election. It also reveals a widespread effort by Trump officials to leave their imprint on federal policy and — at least temporarily — tie the hands of their successors. [ read more … ]


Minn. transmission fight reaches Supreme Court

By Niina H. Farah, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:30:33

An electric utility is calling for the Supreme Court to weigh in on a “protectionist” Minnesota state law that the power company argues could hinder regional shifts toward clean energy. The 2012 law grants utilities with an in-state presence the “right of first refusal” for certain projects, which LSP Transmission Holdings LLC (LS Power) says violates the Constitution’s “dormant” commerce clause because it discriminates against interstate commerce. Such claims have also driven legal battles over pipeline building and coal exports. [ read more … ]


FERC in focus

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:29:14

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will meet this week to consider the nominations of Allison Clements and Mark Christie to become FERC commissioners — nominations that have been on hold for weeks as the White House reconfigured the makeup of the energy regulator before the Biden administration takes over. But even if the nominees move forward this week, the Senate only has a handful of weeks left to confirm them before Joe Biden takes office. If the nominees don’t receive a full Senate confirmation, it would be up to Biden to decide whether to renominate Clements and Christie next year. Should the Senate install both nominees before then, it would give the regulatory agency a full quorum of five members — three Republicans and two Democrats. Biden would likely elevate one of the Democrats to the chairmanship, but they would be in the minority, which would give them limited room to maneuver. [ read more … ]

Power Sector

CEOs outline 3 trends hitting electricity

By Edward Klump, Kristi E. Swartz and Arianna Skibell, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:36:41

For major power companies that held earnings calls in recent weeks, much of the focus was on issues such as expanding renewables and the role for hydrogen under a national push for 100% clean electricity. On natural gas, major companies are approaching investments in different ways as emission concerns simmer. And the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening to delay solar projects and defer grid maintenance, although some companies are faring better financially than expected. [ read more … ]

Methane Rule

Greens take 2nd shot at Trump methane rule

By Niina H. Farah, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:33:32

Environmental organizations are calling for a federal court to temporarily block EPA’s rule easing standards for checking and repairing leaks from the oil and gas sector. The coalition of green groups previously made an unsuccessful bid to freeze the Trump administration’s rollback of an Obama-era “policy rule” regulating methane from the sector and limiting emissions controls for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to the production and processing segments of the industry. [ read more … ]


TVA approves plan to boost EVs

By Kristi E. Swartz, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:31:25

The Tennessee Valley Authority’s board has approved a proposal aimed at putting more electric vehicles on the road. The nation’s largest public power utility adopted a plan Friday to set a new commercial rate structure and expand the number of fast chargers across the Tennessee Valley. Drivers’ so-called range anxiety — stemming from the lack of options to charge EVs quickly — is a chief barrier to EV adoption, said Joe Hoagland, TVA’s vice president of enterprise relations and innovation, during the utility’s board meeting last week. [ read more … ]

GM recalls 68K EVs. Are batteries safe?

By Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:30:49

General Motors Co. announced a voluntary recall last week of more than 68,000 electric vehicles worldwide due to five reports of potential battery fires. The move adds to a string of fire incidents involving batteries used in electric vehicles and with energy storage. In August, a utility in Arizona released a report finding a defective battery cell sparked an explosion in an energy storage facility last year. BMW and Hyundai also issued EV recalls this year because of battery fire concerns. [ read more … ]

Johnson to unveil plan that may halt sales of petrol cars

By Jessica Shankleman and Alex Morales, Bloomberg.  •    •  Posted 2020-11-16 15:31:48

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a green 10-point plan Wednesday, as he weighs controversial proposals to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars within a decade. The much anticipated policy document has already been delayed at least twice and could be moved again. It is currently scheduled for Nov. 18, people familiar with the matter said. [ read more … ]

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