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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

February 1, 2021

Top Story

G.M. Announcement Shakes Up U.S. Automakers’ Transition to Electric Cars

By Neal E. Boudette and Coral Davenport, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:48:12

A new president took office this month determined to fight climate change. Wall Street investors think Tesla is worth more than General Motors, Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford put together. And China, the world’s biggest car market, recently ordered that most new cars be powered by electricity in just 15 years. Those large forces help explain the decision by G.M.’s chief executive, Mary T. Barra, that the company will aim to sell only zero-emission cars and trucks by 2035. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Biden’s call for ‘doubling’ offshore wind puzzles experts

By David Iaconangelo and Heather Richards, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:47:37

The Biden administration promised Wednesday to double offshore wind energy by 2030 as part of a sweeping series of actions to kick-start the federal government’s response to climate change. But that promise — plucked with few alterations from President Biden’s campaign climate platform — left some experts scratching their heads. [ read more … ]

UMaine to use 3D printer to make wind turbine blades

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:44:28

The University of Maine will receive more than $2.8 million to use a 3D printer to manufacture wind turbine blades, Maine’s senators said. The grant is from the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, and it represents an investment in “cutting-edge research that helps to support our forest products industry, create good-paying jobs, and strengthen our clean energy economy,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King said.
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Minnesota lawmakers begin work on renewable energy bill

By MOHAMED IBRAHIM, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:45:54

Minnesota lawmakers are beginning work on clean energy legislation that would require utilities to generate 100% of their electricity from carbon-free resources by 2040, as a renewed focus on climate change ramps up with a new administration in the White House. The Minnesota bill, authored by Rep. Jamie Long, an environmental lawyer who chairs the House climate committee, would raise the requirement for the share of a utility’s retail electric sales generated by renewable energy sources to 40% by 2025 and 55% by 2035. Under the bill, 100% of electricity generated by utilities must be carbon-free by 2040. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission would be required to evaluate the environmental impacts should a utility request a delay. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

New Mexico community solar proposal clears first hurdle

By Susan Montoya Bryan, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:45:18

A proposal that would allow community solar programs to be established in New Mexico cleared its first legislative hurdle yesterday despite questions from some lawmakers about costs and concerns raised by investor-owned utilities. The bill cleared the Senate Conservation Committee on a party-line vote, with Democrats saying it would complement state mandates for generating more electricity from renewable resources by expanding access to solar energy for businesses and residents who can’t install their own solar panels for any number of reasons. [ read more … ]

This inventor hopes to make solar arrays work in blackouts

By John Fialka, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:47:13

The wildfires that roared across California over the last two years prompted surprise among homeowners with solar arrays: Why was their power failing during blackouts? Those questions put a spotlight on a problem that Eric Cummings, an inventor, had been thinking about for years. He is a former Department of Energy laboratory scientist who was hoping that somebody else would make a device to fix this mess.
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Biden Administration

Biden’s Freeze on Drilling Leases Disrupts New Mexico

by Collin Eaton and Dan Frosch, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:46:53

Lance Wilbanks was looking forward to a rebirth for his trucking company, which saw its business hauling drilling rigs across southeastern New Mexico drop from around two dozen a month to just a handful during the pandemic. But with President Biden moving Wednesday to halt new oil and gas leasing on federal land, Mr. Wilbanks is worried that the bounceback might never come. The freeze is “a gut punch to follow up the worst year we’ve had since the early 2000s,” he said, noting that he has already had to cut down from 300 to 100 employees over the past year. “I expected there to be changes, but to move this fast, I didn’t expect it at all,” he added. [ read more … ]

Biden is canceling fossil fuel subsidies. But he can’t end them all.

By Shannon Osakaon, Grist  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:49:00

Climate activists have been waiting to hear those words for years. Fossil fuel subsidies, they argue, keep oil and gas companies in business and help them spew planet-warming carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The problem is that not everyone agrees on what counts as a fossil fuel subsidy and what doesn’t. Subsidies aren’t blank checks from the government: They usually take the form of tax breaks, regulatory loopholes, or anything else that gives a particular industry a leg up. The estimates for the U.S. run from around $20 billion to as much as $650 billion a year, if you think fossil fuel companies should be paying the government for all the damages from their pollution. [ read more … ]

Biden’s orders and DOE: What to know

By Lesley Clark, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:50:05

President Biden’s nominee for Energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, is poised to play a key role in the administration’s efforts to curb climate change, including finding ways for the United States to stop the international financing of fossil fuels — a longtime goal of many green groups. The climate executive order Biden signed Wednesday calls for the incoming Energy secretary to be part of various new interagency councils and federal groups, including ones on environmental justice, renewable energy on public lands and procurement of electric vehicles. [ read more … ]

EVs

Electric Cars Are Coming, and Fast. Is the Nation’s Grid Up to It?

By Brad Plumer, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:48:33

General Motors said Thursday that it aims to stop selling new gasoline-powered cars and light trucks by 2035 and will pivot to battery-powered vehicles. California’s governor has set a goal of phasing out sales of new combustion engines statewide in just 15 years. Automakers like Tesla, Ford and Volkswagen plan to introduce dozens of new electric models in the years ahead, spurred on by plummeting battery prices and concerns about climate change. That shift will have sweeping implications for the companies that produce and sell electricity and manage the grid. Analysts generally agree that it is entirely feasible to power many millions of new cars with electricity, but it will take careful planning. Here are four big things that experts say need to happen. [ read more … ]

GM’s all-EV plan could shake the energy industry

By David Ferris, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:49:28

General Motors Co., pioneer of the automobile and a pillar of American manufacturing, declared that it will stop making cars that run on gas. That day won’t come until 2035, according to GM, but that hardly lessened the impact of an announcement set to shake the oil industry; the automotive supply chain that suffuses the economy; and the electric grid, which would need dramatic changes to fuel the onrush of electric vehicles. [ read more … ]

Truck maker to finish first prototypes in March

By Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-01-31 14:49:47

A fledgling electric vehicle maker in Ohio expects to complete the prototypes of its new pickup truck in March and remains on target to start full production in the fall, the company said yesterday. Lordstown Motors Corp. said it already has begun metal stamping and welding for the Endurance all-electric pickup truck prototypes, which will be used for testing.
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Note: News clips provided do not necessarily reflect the views of coalition or its member governors.