Grid limitations may hold back clean energy in Maine

TRANSMISSION: Renewable energy developers and state officials in Maine say more transmission capacity will be needed to meet the state’s clean energy goals. (Energy News Network)

• Vineyard Wind has reached a deal with New England’s grid operator for a transmission interconnection for its 800 MW offshore wind farm. (ReNews)
• Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit seeking a more rigorous review of the proposed Clean Energy Connect project, as developers and union leaders encourage people to apply for jobs working on the project. (Associated Press, Sun Journal)

EFFICIENCY: Connecticut’s weatherization goals may be limited by the need for costly remediation of mold and asbestos in many older properties, which is not covered under state efficiency incentives. (Energy News Network)

WIND: Orsted is hoping that larger offshore wind turbines can help it reduce the impact of federal permitting delays.

UN plan offers U.S. a low-cost path to net zero emissions

CLIMATE: A United Nations initiative releases a plan that would help the U.S. reach net-zero emissions by 2050, projected to cost 0.4% of GDP while creating 2.5 million new jobs. (The Hill)

• A new analysis projects $11 trillion will be spent developing clean energy in the coming decades but will still not be enough to limit warming to 2 degrees celsius by 2100. (Bloomberg)
• The Trump administration is taking further steps to limit climate change communications from NOAA in the runup to the election. (New York Times)
• Advocates push Joe Biden to use financial regulation to help fight climate change if he is elected president. (Reuters)

SOLAR: A U.S. trade court rejects President Trump’s effort to expand solar tariffs, saying that proposed fees on two-sided panels could not be enforced.

Energy Department burying dozens of clean energy studies

CLEAN ENERGY: Two key changes in the Energy Department have helped the agency block, delay or bury more than 40 clean energy studies, a media investigation finds. (InvestigateWest/Grist) 

• Private equity investors are reportedly turning away from fracking and focusing on renewable energy. (Axios)
• In a television interview, American Electric Power’s CEO says “we’ll continue moving toward a clean energy economy” regardless of the outcome of the election. (CNBC)
• Climate advocates in Boulder, Colorado are divided over whether to continue with a costly municipalization effort or accept a deal from Xcel Energy; voters will decide the issue next week. (Energy News Network)

EQUITY: All three coalitions pushing for Illinois clean energy legislation say equity needs to play a role, though the approaches and accountability measures vary.

Ford and GM knew about climate change 50 years ago

TRANSPORTATION: Documents reveal that scientists at Ford and General Motors knew as early as the 1960s that vehicle emissions contributed to climate change, producing groundbreaking research before the companies launched a decades-long push against emissions regulation. (E&E News)

• As the U.S. and Europe improve vehicle efficiency, older cars are being shipped to poorer countries, posing a pollution and safety hazard, a UN report warns. (New York Times)
• The coronavirus pandemic accelerates a trend in Boston to turn roadways into public spaces for pedestrians, bicycles and businesses for cleaner urban environments. (Energy News Network)

• Amy Coney Barrett is expected to be confirmed to the Supreme Court tonight, creating a 6-3 conservative majority. (NPR)
• More than 70 science and climate journalists cosign an op-ed saying Barrett “has displayed a profound inability to understand the ecological crisis of our times.” (Rolling Stone)

• Democrats will face challenges enacting major climate legislation even if they win the White House and Senate.

What will Barrett’s confirmation mean for clean energy policy?

SUPREME COURT: As a Senate committee plans to advance Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court, she continues to elude questions on climate change. (The Hill)

• While some Democratic senators plan to boycott today’s committee vote, it won’t prevent Republicans from moving ahead with a Senate confirmation vote expected Monday. (Los Angeles Times)
• The impact that Barrett will have on environmental cases isn’t entirely clear, but it is likely the court will be more skeptical of regulatory powers, creating a potentially significant obstacle to climate policy. (Vox)

***SPONSORED LINK: The University of Minnesota Law, Policy, and Business Conference on Equity and Electrification of Transportation, Friday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m., will discuss broader reforms to our transportation systems through the lens of law, policy, and business.