Report documents oil industry’s billion-dollar rebrand

OIL & GAS: Major oil companies have spent more than a billion dollars on branding and lobbying since the signing of the Paris Agreement, including $2 million on social media ads before the midterm election, a report finds. (Grist, The Guardian)

ALSO:
• Several high-profile drilling projects under development in Alaska are likely the next legal targets for environmentalists challenging the Trump administration’s push to open public lands to oil and gas development. (InsideClimate News)
• The Marcellus and Utica shale regions in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania will supply nearly half of the nation’s natural gas by 2040, according to a new study. (Oil & Gas 360)

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Judge blocks Wyoming drilling until feds study climate impact

OIL & GAS: A federal judge blocks drilling on 300,000 acres in Wyoming, saying the government failed to adequately consider the impact on climate change before auctioning off federal land to oil and gas drillers. (Reuters)

ALSO:
• Occidental Petroleum’s CEO says she wants her oil-drilling company to eventually be carbon neutral, which critics called “absurd.” (CNN)
• Fracking is banned in Maryland, but a newly converted $4.4 billion export facility in the state is a gateway to ship natural gas around the world. (Baltimore Sun)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Amnesty International says the electric vehicle industry relies on fossil fuels and unethically sourced minerals to make many of its batteries.

U.S. renewable generation doubled in last decade

RENEWABLES: The amount of renewable electricity generated in the U.S. doubled over the last decade, with almost all of the growth coming from wind and solar. (Grist)

ALSO:
• An Illinois bill would increase the state’s renewable portfolio standard and let utilities raise rates to pay for renewable projects. (Energy News Network)
• A Nevada lawmaker files legislation proposing to raise the state’s renewable energy standard to 50 percent by 2030. (Greentech Media)

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Solar policy in flux as states go separate ways on net metering

SOLAR: Kentucky lawmakers’ decision to roll back net metering bucks pro-solar legislation passed in several other states. (Utility Dive)

ALSO:
• Meanwhile, Maine lawmakers approve a bill to restore net metering, while the Iowa Senate passes a bill to add a new fee for most utility customers with solar panels. (Utility Dive, Radio Iowa)
• In response to a lawmaker’s social media post, a developer says snow build-up on solar panels can temporarily reduce production but it is not a major hindrance. (Energy News Network)
• Rural electric cooperatives have sharply increased their solar capacity in recent years as they transition from coal contracts. (E&E News, subscription)
• California regulators are reviving efforts to create more community solar opportunities.

Oil industry stakes out its role in a changing climate

OIL & GAS: At a major energy conference in Houston, some oil and gas executives talked about climate change and clean energy, but others doubled down on the need for fossil fuels. (InsideClimate News)

ALSO: The Trump administration officially scraps protections for the endangered sage grouse, opening nearly 9 million acres to drilling and mining operations. (Washington Post)

***SPONSORED LINK: Interested in pollinator-friendly solar development? Join us April 1 at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut, for Agrivoltaics: Harvesting Multiple Benefits from Solar Sites. Explore how projects are unfolding across the country, who’s driving them, as well as what the co-benefits look—and taste—like.***

POLICY:
• Virginia lawmakers approve a bill to support research for pumped-storage hydro and renewables in hopes of making the state’s coalfields an energy hotbed again.