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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

April 15, 2021

Top Story

Wyoming sets aside money to sue states, like Colorado, for their renewable energy policies

By Judith Kohler, Denver Post  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:39:31

A new Wyoming law that sets aside money to sue states whose policies hamper the use of Wyoming coal was passed in part with Colorado in mind, the sponsor said. The bill recently signed into law allocates $1.2 million to the governor’s office for lawsuits against states with laws and regulations that impede Wyoming’s ability to export coal or force the early closures of coal-fired plants in the state. Wyoming is the country’s No.1 coal producer and the move to more renewable energy because of dropping prices of wind and solar power and concerns about climate change has battered the Cowboy State’s coal industry. [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

What can you do with old wind turbine blades? One option: Upcycle them

By Stephanie Manuzak, Yale Climate Connection  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:36:47

Wind turbine blades are huge and strong, so they’re difficult to grind up and reuse. And they’re made of a mix of glass and plastic fibers that are tough to separate, so most end up in landfills. “It causes the problem of filling up the landfill, and it also causes the problem of placing a non-biodegradable material in the landfill, which will be sitting there for hundreds if not thousands of years,” says Lawrence Bank of Re-Wind, a research group with partners from four universities, including the Georgia Institute of Technology.
[ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Secrecy and Abuse Claims Haunt China’s Solar Factories in Xinjiang

By Dan Murtaugh in Singapore, Colum Murphy and James Mayger in Xinjiang, China, and Brian Eckhouse in Los Angeles, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:38:20

In the wilderness of the Gobi Desert sit two factories that churn out vast quantities of polysilicon, the raw material in billions of solar panels all over the world. It’s a four-hour drive from Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region at the center of China’s crackdown on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. The only structures that rise up among miles of rolling snow-covered fields are the chimneys of coal-fired power plants, belching white smoke. [ read more … ]

Grid

Biden Rushes to Protect Power Grid as Hacking Threats Grow

By Shaun Courtney and Michael Riley, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:40:27

A White House plan to rapidly shore up the security of the U.S. power grid will begin with a 100-day sprint, but take years more to transform utilities’ ability to fight off hackers, according to details of a draft version of the plan confirmed by two people. The plan is the policy equivalent of a high-wire act: it provides incentives for electric companies to dramatically change the way they protect themselves against cyber-attacks while trying to avoid political tripwires that have stalled previous efforts, the details suggest. [ read more … ]

Comparing the actual US grid to the one predicted 15 years ago

By John Timmer, ARS Technica  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:40:43

On Monday, the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Lab released a report entitled “Halfway to Zero,” referring to a goal of a zero-emission US electric grid. The report’s headline claim is a bit bogus, in that we’ve not cut our emissions in half relative to any point in history. Instead, they’re down to half of where they were projected to be in a report issued back in 2005.
Still, despite this sleight of hand, the report makes for interesting reading in that it shows how rapidly the energy market has changed and where the trends that are driving those changes might lead us in another 15 years. [ read more … ]

Clean Energy Standard

Granholm: Reconciliation possible for clean energy standard, but no decisions made

By KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:36:16

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said Tuesday there is a potential pathway for a clean energy standard under Senate reconciliation — a tool that allows passage of some bills with a simple Senate majority — but cautioned no final decisions have been made. “I think there still are versions of a clean energy standard that work for Senate reconciliation rules,” she said Tuesday. [ read more … ]

Biden Administration

Biden’s Global Climate Debut Risks Falling Short on New Goals

By Jess Shankleman, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:37:34

John Kerry has been flying around the world trying to get some of the biggest polluters to step up their fight against climate change in time for a White House summit on April 22. If new goals are the measure of success, the meeting is shaping up to be a disappointment. U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate envoy this week touched down in Shanghai, China—the most high profile stop on a tour that’s so far included India, the U.K., Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates. Later he’ll travel to Seoul, South Korea. [ read more … ]

Biden Wants Leaders to Make Climate Commitments for Earth Day

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:39:55

The Biden administration is nearing agreements with Japan, South Korea and Canada to bolster carbon emission reduction targets in all four countries ahead of a closely watched summit of global leaders on Earth Day, April 22. But in the latest sign of how difficult it will be for President Biden to make climate change a core part of his foreign policy, similar deals with China, India and Brazil, economic powerhouses that together produce more than a third of global emissions, remain elusive. [ read more … ]

Blackouts

Texas Nearly Went Dark Because Officials Misjudged Weather

By Brian K Sullivan and Josh Saul, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:38:02

Texas came uncomfortably close to another round of rolling blackouts Tuesday night because grid operators misjudged the weather. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages most of the state’s grid, had counted on a mild cold front sweeping the state, lowering demand for power. It didn’t happen. As a result, demand on the grid was about 3,000 megawatts higher than anticipated — or the equivalent of 600,000 homes. [ read more … ]

Markets

U.S. Startup Plans to Build First Zero-Emission Gas Power Plants

By Akshat Rathi, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-04-15 16:37:16

A new kind of power plant that doesn’t add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere is being built in the U.S., potentially providing a way for utilities to keep burning natural gas without contributing to global warming. Net Power intends to build two natural-gas power plants in the U.S. that will have all its emissions captured and buried deep underground. The startup licensed its technology to developer 8 Rivers Capital LLC, which will work with agriculture giant Archer-Daniels-Midlands Co. to replace some emissions from a coal power plant in Illinois. [ read more … ]

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