After legislative win, Virginia’s clean energy momentum threatened by pandemic

RENEWABLES: After celebrating a major legislative victory this month, Virginia renewable energy companies now face an economic slump due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Virginia Mercury)

WIND: The nascent offshore wind industry, including projects off the coast of Virginia, could see major setbacks because of the coronavirus. (InsideClimate News)

COAL:
• The United Mine Workers of America asks federal regulators to set guidelines to help protect coal miners from contracting coronavirus. (WVPB)
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signs into law a bill that gives power companies tax breaks for keeping coal-fired power plants open. (Bloomberg Tax, subscription)
• The coal industry will not receive direct assistance from the $2 trillion bill to bring economic relief to individuals and industries affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prayer and precautions: Coal miners fear coronavirus impact

BIOMASS: With a public hearing on a proposed wood pellet plant in North Carolina canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, community members worry they are running out of time to get answers from state regulators. (Energy News Network)

COAL: Former and current coal miners in Appalachia who suffer from black lung disease take extra precautions to avoid getting coronavirus, which is especially dangerous for them. (Earther)

PIPELINES: A federal judge rejects a challenge by environmental groups and fishermen of permits for the Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana, saying the judgment had already been decided in previous rulings. (E&E News, subscription)

SOLAR: A Texas solar company is promoting installations and offering discounts for residents who want to go solar while they’re at home under lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic. (KSAT)

NUCLEAR: The Tennessee Valley Authority delays planned outages at a nuclear reactor this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coal miners told to keep working during pandemic despite close quarters

UTILITIES: Campaign contributions by Duke Energy’s political action committee in North Carolina closely aligned with lawmakers’ votes on a controversial bill that would have allowed the utility to collect upfront, multi-year rate increases. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• Consumer advocates pressure Texas regulators to suspend electricity shutoffs during the coronavirus pandemic due to layoffs and furloughs. (Dallas Morning News)
• Pensacola, Florida’s mayor says he will not take a paycheck during the coronavirus pandemic and instead donate it to help residents pay utility bills. (CNN) 

COAL: 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)

OIL & GAS: 
• Louisiana’s oil and gas industry profits off of work release programs that put prisoners to work servicing offshore drilling companies.

Kentucky coal plant shuts down despite last-ditch lobbying effort

COAL: The Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Paradise, Kentucky, burned its last load of coal last month despite last-ditch efforts by the state and federal governments to stop it from closing. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• The Ohio Valley’s coal industry faces major slowdowns as the coronavirus pandemic impacts international exports and electricity demand. (WVPB)
• West Virginia doctors are checking on patients with black lung disease over the phone to help protect them from the coronavirus. (WVN)

PIPELINES: A federal district court declines to stop construction on the Permian Highway Pipeline in Texas despite claims that Kinder Morgan failed to follow some mitigation steps to protect endangered bird habitat. (S&P Global)

OIL & GAS: Houston liquified natural gas company Tellurian negotiates deferred payments on a $75 million loan until November 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Reminiscent of BP oil spill, coronavirus shuts down Gulf Coast

OIL & GAS: The coronavirus pandemic is shutting down Gulf Coast businesses and tourist attractions, reminding many residents of economic impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill 10 years ago. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• The Texas Railroad Commission becomes integral to international policy as it weighs whether the state should curb crude oil production. (Bloomberg)
• Gulf Coast state lawmakers ask the Interior Department to temporarily reduce the royalty rate oil and gas companies pay for offshore drilling operations. (New York Times)

UTILITIES: Utilities in Kentucky, Georgia and elsewhere plan to house key personnel at power plants to ensure facilities remain online during the coronavirus pandemic. (POWER)

COAL:
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice says coal mining is an “essential” service during the coronavirus pandemic.