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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

May 24, 2021

Top Story

How Pay-to-Play Politics and an Uneasy Coalition of Nuclear and Renewable Energy Led to a Flawed Illinois Law

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News and Brett Chase, Chicago Sun-Times  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:28:53

The Future Energy Jobs Act brought together environmental groups, the owner of the nuclear plants—Exelon Corp., unions and consumer advocates. The result was a plan marrying nuclear subsidies with support for renewable energy that purported to create tens of thousands of solar power jobs as well as put the state on track to move away from fossil fuels and meet its pre-existing target of having 25 percent renewable energy by 2025. But the law sputtered from the start and now state leaders are racing to meet a May 31 legislative deadline to fix some of its biggest problems, like the impending loss of more than $300 million in funding for renewable energy programs. The 2025 target is far out of reach, the jobs expectations went unmet and the solar industry is laying off workers as promised funding dries up.  [ read more … ]

Wind Energy

Green Finance Goes Mainstream, Lining Up Trillions Behind Global Energy Transition

By Scott Patterson and Amrith Ramkumar, Wall Street Journal  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 09:28:01

Some of the world’s biggest companies and deepest-pocketed investors are lining up trillions of dollars to finance a shift away from fossil fuels. Assets in investment funds focused partly on the environment reached almost $2 trillion globally in the first quarter, more than tripling in three years. Investors are putting $3 billion a day into these funds. More than $5 billion worth of bonds and loans designed to fund green initiatives are now issued every day. The two biggest U.S. banks pledged $4 trillion in climate-oriented financing over the next decade. [ read more … ]

Solar Energy

Biden’s solar ambitions collide with China labor complaints

By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:27:11

The Biden administration’s solar power ambitions are colliding with complaints the global industry depends on Chinese raw materials that might be produced by forced labor. A big hurdle is polysilicon, used to make photovoltaic cells for solar panels. The global industry gets 45% of its supply from Xinjiang, the northwestern region where the ruling Communist Party is accused of mass incarceration of minorities and other abuses. Other parts of China supply 35%. Only 20% comes from U.S. and other producers. Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, says Washington is deciding whether to keep solar products from Xinjiang out of U.S. markets. That sets up a conflict with President Joe Biden’s plans to cut climate-changing carbon emissions by promoting solar and other renewable energy while also reducing costs.
[ read more … ]

Solar Power’s Decade of Falling Costs Is Thrown Into Reverse

By Dan Murtaugh and Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:28:11

A key selling point that made solar energy the fastest-growing power source in the world—rapidly decreasing costs—has hit a speed bump. Solar module prices have risen 18% since the start of the year after falling by 90% over the previous decade. The reversal, fueled by a quadrupling in the cost of the key raw material polysilicon, threatens to delay projects and slow uptake of solar power just as several major governments are finally throwing their weight behind it in an effort to slow climate change. [ read more … ]

State Initiatives

‘Watershed moment’ as NM gears for clean energy transition

By Kevin Robinson-Avila, Albuquerque Journal  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:27:54

New Mexico’s economic foundations are rumbling with change as the state and nation embark on an accelerated path to a non-carbon economy, inspiring local leaders to seize the moment in collaborative efforts to embrace the forthcoming transformation. Dan Arvizu, New Mexico State University chancellor and former director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, called it a once-in-a-generation “tipping point.” “It’s a watershed moment in history, and we can’t afford to miss the opportunity,” Arvizu told the Journal. “It’s too important not to pay attention and do something. We need to put things in place with the objectives, strategies and means to embrace it.” [ read more … ]

Emissions

Fetal Exposure to Ultra-Fine Air Pollution Could Raise Asthma Risks

By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:30:27

Exposure to a certain type of air pollution while pregnant may up the odds that your child will develop asthma, a new study says. Children born to mothers exposed to high levels of ultra-fine particle air pollution during pregnancy have a significantly increased risk of asthma, researchers found. Many of the women lived in areas near highly trafficked major roadways where there’s greater exposure to ultra-fine particle air pollution. [ read more … ]

Biden Administration

The latest on infrastructure

BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:29:48

The White House is standing firm in its push for major investments in electric vehicles, replacing lead pipes and energy credits to transition away from fossil fuels. The White House sent Capito’s team a memo after their meeting Friday highlighting areas it views as critical but that the GOP proposal “excludes entirely,” including new investment tax credits for building transmission lines and tax credits for clean energy technology, such as carbon capture. [ read more … ]

Getting on the grid

BY MATTHEW CHOI, Politico  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:29:28

 President Joe Biden’s push for a zero-emission electricity sector by 2035 and the steep declines in the cost of renewables have made the future for clean energy brighter than ever.  But actually hooking up renewable generation to the grid is another story. Wind and solar energy often operate on tighter margins than conventional sources and are typically located in rural areas far from transmission infrastructure. And getting the needed lines out to the new generating sites can place a major financial burden on the developers, who need to abide by rules set nearly two decades ago with major fossil fuel projects in mind. [ read more … ]

Markets

The fight for the soul – and the future – of ExxonMobil

By Steven Mufson, Washington Post  •    •  Posted 2021-05-24 15:30:58

The revolt is being led by a hedge fund, called Engine No. 1, which has charged the company not only with poor financial governance but with failing to come up with a viable strategy for dealing with the existential threat of climate change. Their campaign has built momentum by winning widespread backing from pension funds and shareholder advisory services for its proposal to install four new independent directors at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting next week over the objections of the oil giant’s management. [ read more … ]

 

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