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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

August 14, 2020

Top Story

FERC releases low-CO2 blueprint. Will Biden follow it?

By Peter Behr and Arianna Skibell, E&E News reporters  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:28:27

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff released a report last week addressing strategies for building more high-voltage transmission lines — a path to bringing large amounts of renewable electricity online and a likely plank in presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s agenda. FERC’s “Report on Barriers and Opportunities for High Voltage Transmission” lists ways the commission could accelerate investments in multistate power lines that could link prime wind and solar energy locations like the Great Plains and Southwest with distant urban centers. Rob Gramlich, executive director of Americans for a Clean Energy Grid, said the latest FERC report “begins an important national discussion about making much greater use of highway and rail corridors as a way around some of the well-known barriers to transmission.” [ read more … ]

Wind & Solar Energy

Weak clean energy jobs report

BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:31:59

The clean energy sector added just 3,195 jobs in July, leaving a total of 511,075 clean energy workers out of work since the coronavirus pandemic began, BW Research said in analysis Wednesday. The small gains in July suggest a slowing rebound coming on the heels of June’s robust 106,000 jump, which marked the first gain in the sector after months of decline. In fact, at the current pace, BW Research said it would take nearly 15 years to recover all clean energy jobs lost since the pandemic began in February [ read more … ]

Solar is surprising itself with a rebound

By David Ferris, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:28:07

After staring into the abyss during the coronavirus lockdowns earlier this year, the solar industry is a bit startled to find itself thriving again. Many rooftop installers have hired back most of the people they furloughed. Stock prices are through the roof. The phones are ringing again with customers who want solar, this time with a side of batteries. There’s still plenty to worry about, with a recession and pandemic raging, and there’s a very real threat that customers and investors could flee at any time. The industry has advocates still asking Congress to give it some breaks. [ read more … ]

Hydrogen

Home of the Oil Sands Eyes Cleaner Future as Hydrogen Superpower

By Kevin Orland, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:31:13

The idea of producing cleaner-burning hydrogen to rid the world of fossil fuels is gaining traction in the unlikeliest of places: Alberta, home of the infamously dirty oil sands. Better known for energy companies that have been blacklisted by the Church of England for their emissions-intensive crude, the oil-rich Canadian province has attracted a growing group of researchers and entrepreneurs betting that the region’s vast resources can turn it into one of the world’s largest hydrogen suppliers. And they’re about to get some backing from federal and local governments. [ read more … ]

Energy Storage

Red bricks: A breakthrough battery for renewables?

By Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:29:31

An age-old, universal building material that might already exist in your home could one day be used to store energy, according to a new study. Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have come up with a way to retrofit wood-fired red bricks so that they are capable of storing 3 watts of electricity — enough to power a lighting device for 50 minutes, said Julio D’Arcy, corresponding author of the study. The bricks, which could be scaled up for widespread use at a reasonable price, would amass energy from residential solar panels or other renewable energy sources that require storage during intermittent times, D’Arcy said. The energy could remain in the bricks for three days. [ read more … ]

Markets

Sierra Club: MidAmerican coal-fired plants near Sioux City lost $27.5M in last 5 years

By Dave Dreeszen, Sioux city Journal  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:33:50

MidAmerican Energy Company’s coal-fired power plants south of Sioux City have lost $27.5 million over the last five years, the Sierra Club said in a study released Wednesday. Low energy prices in 2020 have only worsened the performance of MidAmerican’s Port Neal plants, which the Sierra Club says are the most expensive in the utility’s coal fleet in Iowa. [ read more … ]

U.S. coal electricity drops 30% as gas jumps — report

By Carlos Anchondo, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:29:48

Coal-fired power generation in the United States plummeted by 30% in the first half of this year, according to a report yesterday from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The agency said “historically low” natural gas prices this year have made coal uneconomical in most regions, further exacerbating the coal-to-natural gas switch. The shift was most prevalent in the PJM Interconnection and Midcontinent Independent System Operator — two regional transmission organizations the agency said constitute roughly 35% of the Lower 48 states’ power generation. [ read more … ]

Policy & Politics

Boris Johnson poised to stop UK funding overseas fossil fuel projects

By Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:33:11

Boris Johnson is poised to sign off new rules barring the UK government’s chief foreign lender from offering financial support to foreign fossil fuel projects. The new policy, which could come as soon as this week, will rule out future loans and financial guarantees for polluting projects overseas through the UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance, just weeks after it agreed to a £1bn financial package to support work on a gas project in Mozambique. [ read more … ]

Trump to Relax Rules for Showers After Complaints About Flow

By Ari Natter, Bloomberg  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:34:08

The U.S. Energy Department proposed easing water efficiency requirements for shower heads Wednesday following multiple complaints from President Donald Trump about how low water flow is impeding his ability to properly wash his hair. The plan would allow manufacturers to bypass a 2.5 gallon-per-minute maximum flow rate set by Congress in the 1990s. Under current law, each shower head in a shower counts toward that limit. If finalized, the administration plan would allow multiple shower nozzles with 2.5 gallon-per-minute heads to each meet that requirement separately. The rule comes after Trump has railed against shower heads that go “drip, drip, drip,” as well as low-flow toilets and faucets among other appliances. [ read more … ]

EVs

Xcel announces plan for thirtyfold increase in EVs

By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:28:51

Already deep into a plan to overhaul its eight-state electricity system, Xcel Energy Inc. is gearing up to take on transportation. The Minneapolis-based company yesterday announced its goal to help electrify 1 in 5 vehicles across its service area by the end of the decade. That represents a thirtyfold increase in the number of electric vehicles on the road today. CEO Ben Fowke told E&E News the plan would benefit EV owners in Xcel’s territory, who would collectively save $1 billion in fuel costs by 2030. It would also reduce carbon emissions by 5 million tons a year and contribute to cleaner air in cities like Minneapolis and Denver, he said in an interview yesterday. [ read more … ]

Campaign 2020

That time Kamala Harris sued Obama-Biden over fracking

By Adam Aton, E&E News reporter  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:30:45

In her final days as California attorney general, Harris sued the Obama administration over the Interior Department’s permitting regime for hydraulic fracturing off the Pacific coast. Environmental groups had already spent years battling offshore fracking in court, and they welcomed the state’s involvement as a boost. “We must take every possible step to protect our precious coastline and ocean,” Harris said when she announced the lawsuit. “The U.S. Department of Interior’s inadequate environmental assessment would open the door to practices like fracking that may pose a threat to the health and well-being of California communities,” she added. “We must balance our energy needs with our longstanding commitment to protecting our natural resources and public health.” [ read more … ]

With the Biden-Harris Ticket, Environmental Justice Is a Focus

By Lisa Friedman, New York Times  •    •  Posted 2020-08-13 15:32:44

Just six days before Joseph R. Biden Jr. tapped Kamala Harris to be his running mate in the presidential election, the California senator released sweeping environmental justice legislation. The timing, climate activists said, was important if not prescient. The Climate Equity Act, an expanded version of a bill Ms. Harris and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, introduced last year, puts the environmental health of low-income communities of color at the center of efforts to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gases.
[ read more … ]

 

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