California confronts diversity barrier on electric cars

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Data shows the majority of electric vehicle buyers in California are white or Asian men, and advocates say overcoming the “Silicon Valley dudes” perception will be key to more widespread adoption. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ALSO:
• Fremont, California’s police department says its Tesla Model S patrol car has been more reliable and cheaper to operate than gasoline vehicles, and the department has since added another Tesla to its fleet. (KPIX)
• “It worked better than I expected”: Alaska’s first electric school bus is performing well, even in temperatures reaching -35°F. (KTOO)
• City officials in the coastal town of Newport, Oregon approve four measures to advance electric vehicle charging. (Newport News Times)

POLICY: Senators from coal-producing states including Wyoming are expected to hold three out of four leadership posts in the chamber’s energy and environment committees.

GM: ‘We want to be part of the solution’ on climate

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: General Motors CEO Mary T. Barra announces plans for 20 new electric vehicle models in the U.S. by 2025: “We are all-in to establish leadership in electric vehicles.” (New York Times)

ALSO:
• Data shows the majority of electric vehicle buyers in California are white men, and advocates say overcoming the “Silicon Valley dudes” perception will be key to more widespread adoption. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• Fremont, California’s police department says its Tesla Model S patrol car has been more reliable and cheaper to operate than gasoline vehicles, and the department has since added another Tesla to its fleet. (KPIX)

OVERSIGHT: Outgoing EPA administrator is booking a taxpayer-funded trip to tropical destinations during the final days of the Trump administration in January. (Associated Press)

CLIMATE:
• Democratic lawmakers condemn President Trump’s “destabilizing” and “politicizing” of the National Climate Assessment. (The Hill)
• Progessive members of Congress hold a climate rally outside the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

Portland utility aims for net zero emissions by 2040

UTILITIES: Portland General Electric accelerates its emissions target to an 80% reduction by 2030, with an “aspirational goal” of net-zero by 2040. (Portland Business Journal)

ALSO: California utility PG&E acknowledges it “could have and should have” done better in implementing power outages in 2019, but argues it shouldn’t be subject to $166 million in fines as proposed by a state watchdog. (Press Democrat)

POLLUTION:
• A new study finds that air pollution in Utah results in 2,500 to 8,000 premature deaths per year, and reduces median life expectancy by as much as 3.6 years. (Salt Lake Tribune)
• While U.S. carbon emissions will be lower overall in 2020, nearly a third of that has been canceled out by pollution from Western wildfires. (Washington Post)

COAL:
• Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality orders owners of the Colstrip coal plant to remove all coal ash from ponds that are contaminating groundwater.

Biden seeking to rebuild U.S. credibility on climate

CLIMATE: Climate change has been a major focus in President-elect Joe Biden’s outreach with world leaders, with the topic coming up in 12 of 14 calls so far. (E&E News)

ALSO:
• Republicans now hold attorney general positions in 26 states, and are “developing strategies to push back” against the Biden administration on climate. (E&E News)
• The American Farm Bureau says it has “broken through historical barriers” in joining a coalition of environmental groups to cut emissions in the agricultural sector. (InsideClimate News)
• While U.S. carbon emissions will be lower overall in 2020, nearly a third of that has been canceled out by pollution from Western wildfires. (Washington Post)
• A media analysis explores the financial risks that climate change poses to utilities.

‘A new era’: Deal reached for historic Northwest dam removal

HYDROPOWER: A new agreement among tribes, PacifiCorp, and the states of Oregon and California will advance plans to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, which, if approved by federal regulators, would be the largest dam removal in U.S. history. (Associated Press)

ALSO: Some local officials and Oregon lawmakers oppose the dam removal agreement, with one state senator calling it an “unconstitutional power grab.” (Klamath Falls News)

ELECTRIFICATION: Utah lawmakers advance a bill that would prohibit cities from banning natural gas hookups in new buildings. (Salt Lake Tribune)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• California regulators are embarking on a process to use electric vehicles as a grid resource. (Utility Dive)
• New Mexico is seeking $1 million to add 28 new electric vehicles to the state fleet. (news release)
• California increases incentives for new electric vehicles to up to $1,500, depending on battery size.