BIOMASS: The wood pellet business is booming across the Southeast, driven by European policies that reward burning wood due to what scientists say is a dangerous carbon accounting loophole. (InsideClimate News)
• A remodeled McDonald’s designed to generate all of its own power on site opens near Disney World with over 1,060 rooftop solar panels. (Orlando Sentinel)
• Duke Energy says it’s open to changes to its popular rooftop solar rebate program to make it more effective. (Triad Business Journal, subscription required)
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OIL & GAS: The future of the U.S. oil and gas boom is in doubt after recent setbacks involving major pipeline projects. (Associated Press)
• A federal appeals court rules that drilling can resume in a sensitive Alaskan reserve without updating an environmental assessment that was completed four years before oil was discovered in the area. (Courthouse News)
• As Microsoft vows to eliminate its carbon footprint within a decade, its retirement program is pumping millions into the fossil fuel industry. (E&E News)
• Texas residents raise concerns about a law that allows oil and gas drilling to take place in backyards, vacant lots and other urban areas. (Houston Chronicle)
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CLIMATE: A Democratic Party “unity task force” unveils a climate plan that calls for 100% carbon-free power by 2035 — 15 years earlier than former Vice President Joe Biden’s previous position. (The Hill)
GRID: U.S. economic growth appears to be decoupling from energy generation, with electricity production increasing 40% since 1990 as the GDP more than doubled, according to a new McKinsey study. (Quartz)
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• U.S. power sector carbon emissions fell 8% from 2018-2019 as a result of coal plant closures, according to a new report.
PIPELINES: Climate activists sense a turning point as three major pipeline projects are either stalled or canceled, and environmental and Indigenous groups mount increasingly sophisticated legal attacks. (InsideClimate News, New York Times)
• Court decisions this week together highlight and raise the energy stakes of November’s election, which could decide the fate of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. (Axios)
• A federal judge declines to reverse his decision ordering the Dakota Access pipeline to be shut down. (The Hill)
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PIPELINES: Southeast activists who spent six years fighting the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline celebrate developers’ decision over the weekend to abandon the project amid mounting delays and legal uncertainty. (NBC News)
• On Monday, a federal judge ruled the Dakota Access pipeline must be shut down and emptied of oil by Aug. 5 pending an environmental review. (NPR)
• Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a Trump administration request to allow construction on parts of the Keystone XL pipeline. (New York Times)
• The Supreme Court also reinstated an Army Corps of Engineers program that’s used to fast-track water crossing permits for pipelines.