Solar, wind projected to dominate new capacity in 2021

RENEWABLES: Solar and wind will account for most new U.S. electricity generating capacity in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest projections. (U.S. EIA)

EMISSIONS: U.S. greenhouse gas emissions plummeted more than 10% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but experts expect them to bounce back unless policymakers take stronger action. (New York Times)

POLITICS:
• “Nobody is going to cater to the president anymore or his people”: An oil executive says the industry is unlikely to hire Trump staff or loyalists following the president’s efforts to overturn the election. (Politico)
• Two EPA officials are among the wave of political appointees stepping down from the Trump administration following last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol. (E&E News, subscription)
• Several major oil companies are pausing political donations in response to the failed insurrection; Dow Chemical says it will halt contributions to members of Congress who sought to overturn the election.

AEP weighs future of West Virginia coal plant

COAL: American Electric Power subsidiaries consider whether to close a West Virginia coal-fired power plant in 2028 or make investments to keep it open longer. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

COAL ASH: Texas’ push to take over regulation of coal ash disposal could insulate the coal industry from more aggressive regulation under President-elect Biden. (Texas Tribune)

UTILITIES:
• The Jacksonville City Council releases an investigation showing the Florida city’s former mayor skirted sunshine laws during a three-year effort to sell JEA, the taxpayer-owned electric utility. (Jacksonville Daily Record)
• Dominion Energy begins making its case for higher rates to South Carolina regulators in hearings expected to run from today through Friday. (The State)

OIL & GAS:
• The outgoing Trump administration extends five natural gas export licenses for terminals in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas through 2050.

Climate mayors optimistic about Biden administration

CLIMATE: U.S. “climate mayors” are hopeful that a Biden administration will help cities accelerate progress toward climate goals. (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• Under pressure from investors, Exxon announces a pledge to reduce emissions, but the plan doesn’t represent any significant departure from fossil fuels. (Inside Climate News)
• Oil companies are pushing to have state climate lawsuits heard in federal courts, where they are more likely to win a favorable ruling. (Houston Chronicle)
• China, the UK and the European Union announced accelerated emissions reduction targets at a recent summit, which the U.S. did not attend. (The Hill)

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Global emissions growth slowing but still not declining

CLIMATE: The head of the United Nations says five years after the Paris Agreement “we are still not going in the right direction” on climate change. (The Hill)

ALSO:
• Annual global carbon emissions do appear to be leveling off, but now they need to rapidly decline to avert catastrophic climate change, experts say. (Discover)
• U.S. carbon emissions increased surprisingly little under President Trump, whose climate legacy may be four wasted years of inaction. (National Geographic)

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Biden pick returns U.S. to global climate discussion

Note to readers: U.S. Energy News is taking a break for the holiday and will be back on Monday, Nov. 30. Thank you for reading! CLIMATE: The naming of former Secretary of State John Kerry to a newly created position of top climate diplomat signals that President-elect Biden is serious about climate change. (Washington Post)

ALSO:
• The former secretary of state’s role will involve trying to restore the world’s trust in the United States after Trump’s rejection of climate diplomacy.