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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

January 26, 2021

Top Story

Kerry, McCarthy talk climate at mayors conference

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:47:59

Biden’s White House climate duo — domestic chief Gina McCarthy and international envoy John Kerry — called for the U.S. to “set the right example” for the world, as Kerry put it. He noted that while U.S. cities led the nation’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as Trump reversed environmental regulations, those cities must now make even greater strides. “We are behind,” Kerry said, though, he noted his portfolio concerns the 88 percent of global emissions produced outside the U.S. “There are few countries that are close to perhaps achieving what we set out to do in Paris,” with the world on track for “catastrophic” global temperature increases. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

First offshore wind farm seeks second chance

By Heather Richards, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:44:34

Vineyard Wind LLC, the renewable power company proposing America’s first large offshore wind farm, is hoping to restart its stalled permit request that led to the Trump administration terminating the project proposal last month. The company, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, said yesterday it has asked the Interior Department to take up its application to raise an 800-megawatt wind installation off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, with hopes of clearing federal regulatory hurdles by the middle of the year.
[ read more … ]

Biden reverses Trump’s ‘milestone’ offshore wind plan

By David Iaconangelo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:45:13

A last-minute action hailed by the outgoing Trump administration as a “historic milestone” in promoting the first West Coast offshore wind projects was reversed by President Biden last week. The Jan. 19 move from Trump Interior Department officials would have jump-started environmental reviews of potential wind lease areas located off the central and northern coast of California — a state eyed by major developers as the nation’s biggest single source of offshore wind power. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management plan included a notice of intent filed in the Federal Register to prepare reviews for two potential offshore sites, as well as a call for nominations on a third area. [ read more … ]

Offshore wind backers send message to Biden

By Peter Behr, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:45:34

Wind power advocates are looking for faster action by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which has opened federal offshore sites for leasing but delayed the environmental review of the largest of the current projects, the Vineyard Wind development off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. The Biden administration should also clear up some tax and legal issues that have slowed project development. [ read more … ]

World’s first wind tax baffles developers

By Jonathan Gilbert, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:46:46

A one-of-its-kind plan to tax the wind in Argentina has drawn scorn from clean-energy companies, who say the move threatens climate change goals that are already looking unattainable from Latin America to Asia. Puerto Madryn, a city on the Atlantic coast where gusts are coveted by wind developers like Genneia SA, wants to tax the megawatts of energy sold by wind farms, according to the proposal. The levy would come at a time when renewables are already falling behind in Argentina. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Xcel fined $1M for delays connecting solar to grid

By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:46:02

Minnesota regulators fined the state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy Inc., $1 million in response to more than 100 complaints filed by a solar installer in 2019 over delays getting rooftop projects plugged into the grid. The Public Utilities Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to assess the fine. Xcel acknowledged delays connecting solar projects and other issues with its interconnection process but said it has taken steps to address problems and urged regulators not to impose the fine. [ read more … ]

Biden Administration

Biden EPA asks DOJ to hit pause on defense of Trump-era rules

BY REBECCA BEITSCH, The Hill  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:49:01

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking the government to pump the brakes in its defense of Trump-era environmental rollbacks in court. In a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained by The Hill, EPA’s acting general counsel Melissa Hoffer asks government lawyers to hit pause on cases where the previous administration has been challenged by environmental groups. [ read more … ]

Which Biden agencies will prioritize climate? Here’s a hint

By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:49:26

President Biden has promised to fight climate change with the full force of the federal government, but a series of confirmation hearings last week suggest the issue would be less of a priority for some agencies — particularly in the national security realm. Nominees to lead the Treasury, State and Transportation departments used their hearings to preview the administration’s clean energy agenda. The nominees said an infrastructure blitz would be the major avenue for climate policy, though many details — including how to fund it — remain unresolved. Electric vehicles would be top priority, even beyond the Transportation Department. And the world of energy financing can expect major changes. [ read more … ]

Climate

Two Trump appointees are being investigated for posting reports denying climate change.

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:50:48

The Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General said it will investigate an incident earlier this month in which two former Trump appointees posted debunked scientific reports denying the existence and significance of man-made climate change, purportedly on behalf of the United States government. Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, along with four other Senate Democrats, had requested the inquiry into potential wrongdoing around the postings and improper use of government logos. In a letter Friday to the senator, the compliance and ethics staff of the inspector general’s office wrote, “After careful consideration, we decided to review this matter further.” [ read more … ]

Climate scientist Michael Mann: Deniers are shifting tactics

By Maxine Joselow, E&E News reporterPublished: Monday, January 25, 2021  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:50:18

In 1998, Michael Mann published a landmark paper that showed rapid global warming due to human activity. Now, more than 20 years after the so-called hockey stick graph, the Pennsylvania State University climate scientist is out with a controversial new book. Published earlier this month, “The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back Our Planet” contends that the fossil fuel industry and its allies have shifted their strategies for delaying climate action. [ read more … ]

States

Evers Administration Seeks Outside Firm To Prosecute PFAS Polluters

By Danielle Kaeding, Wisconsin Public Radio  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:47:21

Gov. Tony Evers announced Friday that his administration is seeking an outside law firm to help the state prosecute companies responsible for PFAS contamination in Wisconsin. The move is part of an effort to hold corporate polluters responsible under the state’s PFAS Action Plan, which was released in December.  Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, have raised concerns because they don’t break down easily in the environment. The chemicals are found in firefighting foam and everyday products. Studies have linked PFAS to thyroid disease, reproductive health issues and kidney and testicular cancers. [ read more … ]

EVs

All EVs by 2035? Report shows roadblocks

By David Ferris, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:44:53

Even as anticipation builds that President Biden will go big on building electric vehicle infrastructure, a new study out of California shows the need might be bigger than anyone thought. This study, an update by the California Energy Commission on the state’s EV charging needs, is the first to try to game out the implications of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s earthshaking order to ban the sale of internal-combustion engines by 2035. The short answer: Charging stations will need to propagate like rabbits, and electricity demand will drastically shift. [ read more … ]

‘Blank check’ deals pull electric carmakers to public markets

By Ed Ludlow and Crystal Tse, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-01-25 15:46:23

Until June last year, Tesla Inc. was the only dedicated electric carmaker based in the U.S. on the stock market. Then special purpose acquisition companies took over Wall Street. SPACs, or blank-check companies, are shell vehicles that raise money to take a private company public via a reverse merger. Unlike traditional initial public offerings, SPAC deals allow listing candidates to market financial projections to investors, a perk for earlier stage companies that have yet to prove their business model. Electric-vehicle companies, many of which are yet to launch commercial products, have taken advantage of that. Nikola Corp. was the first high profile one to go public via a SPAC listing, followed by others including Lordstown Motors Corp., Fisker Inc. and Canoo Inc. [ read more … ]

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