POWER PLANTS: The U.S. EPA cites the coronavirus pandemic as justification for a sweeping relaxation of environmental rules that will allow power plants to determine for themselves if they are meeting air and water pollution rules. (New York Times)
• Clean energy legislation stalls in many states as legislatures cut sessions short or shift attention to other issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive)
• California sets a new emissions goal for its electric sector that would double the state’s clean energy capacity by 2030. (Reuters)
• After celebrating a major legislative victory this month, Virginia renewable companies now face uncertainty because of the pandemic. (Virginia Mercury)
WIND: The nascent offshore wind industry could see major setbacks because of the coronavirus.
POLICY: The U.S. Senate passes a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill that excludes tax credit extensions for wind and solar industries and climate provisions for bailed out airlines. (Greentech Media, Bloomberg)
• A federal judge orders an environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline nearly three years after it started transporting oil, potentially opening the door for it to be shut down. (NPR)
• A federal judge rejects a challenge by environmental groups and fishermen of permits for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana. (E&E News, subscription)
OIL & GAS:
• The oil price war and uncertainty from the coronavirus mean serious challenges for North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. (Washington Post)
• A law firm with deep ties to the Democratic Party is helping oil companies lobby for exemptions from federal greenhouse gas emission regulations.
ELECTRIFICATION: Efforts to impose natural gas bans in new construction in several states stall as activists are limited to virtual meetings and officials are preoccupied by the coronavirus pandemic. (S&P Global)
• Coal miners in West Virginia are told to keep working during the coronavirus pandemic despite the fact they’re in close quarters and many have damaged lungs. (Washington Post)
• A new study concludes that methane emissions from coal mines could be more than double previous estimates and exceed the oil-and-gas sector. (Carbon Brief)
• Another analysis finds a proposed carbon capture project at a New Mexico coal plant is not economically feasible. (E&E News, subscription)
• The chances of coronavirus causing a widespread power outage are low, experts say, with the greatest concern being infected plant workers.
SOLAR: The solar industry is lobbying to extend federal tax credits, streamline state permitting rules, and classify its workforce as “essential” amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive, Greentech Media)
• A solar trade group warns that the pandemic threatens to slash the industry’s workforce in half as it tries to negotiate tax credit extensions. (Bloomberg)
• Meanwhile, solar developers have been hiring installers who are new to the industry, offering on-the-job training and long-term employment for projects. (PV Magazine)
• Efforts to address climate change and the clean energy sector are among the factors delaying a $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill in Congress. (NPR)
• Illinois legislation backed by Ameren focuses on utility-scale solar in the southern part of the state that the utility could own.
• Utilities plan to house key personnel at power plants to ensure facilities remain online during the coronavirus pandemic. (POWER)
• New Hampshire’s Seabrook nuclear plant is operating with limited staff during the outbreak, with regulators doing some inspections remotely. (Eagle-Tribune)
• As coal-fired power plants are shut down for good, companies see opportunity in redeveloping abandoned fossil-fueled sites. (Energy News Network)
• The U.S. coal industry asks for royalty relief, tax cuts and other breaks to help companies weather the economic slowdown from coronavirus. (Associated Press)
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says coal mining is an “essential” service during the coronavirus pandemic.