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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

January 6, 2021

Top Story

117th Congress opens to new energy, environment fights

By Nick Sobczyk, Geof Koss and Kelsey Brugger, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:35:46

The new Congress will have a relatively clean slate after lawmakers passed a long-awaited energy innovation bill and a federal phase-down of climate-polluting hydrofluorocarbons as part of the year-end spending and stimulus package last month. Here are a few of the energy and environmental battles that will play out in the coming weeks and months. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Home Solar Is Growing, but Big Installers Are Still Losing Money

By Peter Eavis and Ivan Penn, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:35:23

The home solar business is growing fast as thousands of homeowners install panels on their roofs to save money. Yet the biggest companies that install and finance home solar systems are reporting hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. Those losses are an ominous reminder of how hard it can be to make money in an industry widely viewed by political leaders and business executives as an important part of the global effort to address climate change. Solving this problem could help determine whether the use of residential solar power is quickly and widely adopted. [ read more … ]


N.M. sets U.S. record with renewable project launch

By Edward Klump, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:32:51

San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group LP announced yesterday that it has wrapped up financing and is ramping up construction on the Western Spirit Transmission line and a 1,050-megawatt-plus group of Western Spirit Wind projects. The wind element represents “the largest single-phase construction of renewable power in U.S. history,” Mike Garland, Pattern’s CEO, said in a statement. Commercial operation is expected by the end of this year. Pattern said the Western Spirit Wind projects will be eligible for federal production tax credits.Western Spirit is happening as New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) prioritizes climate action in the state. She signed the Energy Transition Act in 2019 that includes renewable energy standards and put New Mexico on a path toward zero-carbon resources from investor-owned electric utilities by 2045. Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), the state’s biggest electric utility, has said it plans to provide 100% emissions-free power by the end of 2040.

[ read more … ]

Oil and gas regulator begins public meeting on methane rules

By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:33:34

New Mexico oil and gas regulators yesterday kicked off a public hearing on proposed rules for managing venting and flaring by the industry, as environmentalists, residents and some religious leaders said the practices are affecting the environment and resulting in lost royalties and revenues for the state. Oil and gas revenues underpin the state’s budget, but Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has promised that her administration would adopt some of the toughest rules in the U.S. for cracking down on methane and other emissions. Under the proposal, operators would need to reduce their waste by a fixed amount every year to achieve an ultimate gas capture rate of 98% by December 2026. [ read more … ]

Historic climate, renewable plan heads to Mass. governor

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:32:25

A slate of controversial clean energy policies is set to advance in Massachusetts this year after state lawmakers passed sweeping climate legislation last night and the governor’s office released new plans. On Sunday evening, a bipartisan legislative committee announced a compromise on a long-debated climate package that would codify the state’s goal of zeroing out CO2 emissions by 2050, with new interim targets every five years. By 2030, emissions would have to fall by 50% over 1990 levels, followed by a 75% decrease by 2040. The legislation passed the Massachusetts Legislature last night by large margins in both chambers. [ read more … ]


EPA finalizes rule to limit science behind public health safeguards

By Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:36:26

The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to limit what research it can use to craft public health protections, a move opponents argue is aimed at crippling the agency’s ability to more aggressively regulate the nation’s air and water. The “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule, which the administration began pursuing early in President Trump’s term, would require researchers to disclose the raw data involved in their public health studies before the agency could rely upon their conclusions. It will apply this new set of standards to “dose-response studies,” which evaluate how much a person’s exposure to a substance increases the risk of harm. [ read more … ]


Climate action at stake as Trump, Biden cap bitter Ga. races

By Timothy Cama and Adam Aton, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:37:05

The nation’s leading Republican and Democratic figures held little back in stumping for their parties’ respective candidates in Georgia’s U.S. Senate runoffs, characterizing Tuesday’s elections as no less than decisions on the country’s future direction. Both outgoing President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden held rallies in the Peach State on the last day before regular voting in the races, although early and mail-in votes started weeks ago. [ read more … ]

Study: Warming already baked in will blow past climate goals

By Seth Borenstein, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:37:16

The amount of baked-in global warming, from carbon pollution already in the air, is enough to blow past international agreed upon goals to limit climate change, a new study finds. But it’s not game over because, while that amount of warming may be inevitable, it can be delayed for centuries if the world quickly stops emitting extra greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, the study’s authors say. [ read more … ]

The Transition

Ga. could decide if the U.S. gets clean cars

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:34:20

Biden campaigned on a climate platform that called for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Meeting that goal depends on slashing emissions from transportation, the country’s largest source of greenhouse gases, by getting more people into clean cars and onto public transit. A key policy lever for reducing the cost of clean cars is the federal EV tax credit, which allows EV buyers to receive up to $7,500 back after filing their tax returns. The credit expires after an automaker has sold 200,000 eligible vehicles. Both Tesla Inc. and General Motors Co. have reached the cap.
[ read more … ]

Carbon Capture

Mining the sky for CO2 with metal trees, towers and pumps

By John Fialka, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:33:56

In the 1990s, a physicist at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory made a prophetic discovery that might help reverse today’s climate change. Klaus Lackner was helping his daughter, Claire, with an eighth grade science project. She was using an aquarium air pump and a chemical, sodium hydroxide, to pull carbon dioxide out of the air. It worked. She won a prize. That got Lackner thinking about ways to pull billions of tons of CO2 out of the air, which, he envisioned, might be the cheapest way to tackle the climate change problem.
[ read more … ]


OPEC, allies adjourn meeting over oil production levels

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:33:11

Members of the OPEC oil cartel and allied countries including Russia yesterday adjourned a meeting weighing whether to increase production further next month as the pandemic continues to sap demand for energy and create uncertainty about when recovery might come. The oil-producing countries were to meet again today. In December, the group decided to add back a modest 500,000 barrels per day to the oil market, and to review production monthly with a goal of restoring 2 million barrels a day. [ read more … ]


Former Cuomo adviser heads to FERC

By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:34:47

An energy analyst and former policy adviser for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced today that he’s joining the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a legal adviser to new Commissioner Allison Clements. “New year, new job,” Miles Farmer said on Twitter, adding that he was excited to announce the move to the five-member panel charged with overseeing regional energy markets and large-scale natural gas infrastructure. [ read more … ]

FERC at 5

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:35:05

Virginia utility regulator Mark Christie was sworn in at FERC Monday, bringing the commission to its full five members for the first time since 2018, Eric also reports. Christie, who just wrapped up his term as chair of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, now gives Republicans a majority on the commission. [ read more … ]


4 ways 2021 could be the year of the EV

By David Ferris, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-06 06:32:38

Whether you look to the manufacturing floor or the Oval Office, 2021 is shaping up as pivotal year for the electric vehicle. “I’m becoming more optimistic that 2021 could become a breakout year for EVs,” said Nick Nigro, the founder of Atlas Public Policy, echoing a common view among industry observers. The billions of dollars that major automakers have sunk into vehicle development are starting to manifest into mainstream vehicles with features people want. And the EV will have an ally in President-elect Joe Biden, who has made it a centerpiece of his plan to combat climate change. Yet several factors could make the party fizzle. [ read more … ]

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