U.S. Energy News

$40 billion leftover from Obama administration could help Biden push clean energy

CLEAN ENERGY: The Department of Energy still has $40 billion in unused loan authority left over from the Obama administration that President-elect Biden could use to jump-start clean energy development. (Politico)

EFFICIENCY:
• The legacy of systemic racism means many Black and other minority-owned businesses continue to struggle with access to capital, which can be particularly challenging when pursuing financing for energy efficiency projects. (Energy News Network)
• A coalition of environmental groups sued last week to block a rollback of efficiency rules for dishwashers, part of a years-long anti-regulatory push by President Trump that had few other supporters. (CNN, Washington Post)
• A New York program aims to bring older buildings into compliance with state efficiency rules, an undertaking that advocates say will cost upwards of $20 billion. (New York Times)

TRANSPORTATION:
• The EPA last week said it is finalizing its first-ever emissions rules for commercial aircraft, but is not projecting any emissions reductions as a result. (Reuters)
• A federally funded effort has contributed to the buildout of electric vehicle charging and compressed natural gas stations along an interstate highway corridor connecting Michigan and Montana. (Energy News Network)

OIL & GAS:
• Records show that two Texas billionaires received $35 million in coronavirus relief funds as they bought out rival oil and gas companies. (Wall Street Journal)
• A new Trump Administration rule makes it easier for liquified natural gas to be shipped by rail, raising safety concerns along densely populated rail corridors. (NPR)
• While roughly 580,000 Los Angeles County residents live less than a quarter-mile from a drilling site, many may not realize it because the wells are concealed by fake buildings and other structures. (Gizmodo)

PIPELINES: The Red Lake and White Earth Bands of Ojibwe ask the Minnesota Court of Appeals to halt construction on the Line 3 replacement until lawsuits challenging the project can be heard. (MPR News)

COAL: The bankruptcy of central Appalachian and Wyoming coal operator Blackjewel will stretch into 2021 after a federal judge blocked a request to liquidate the company. (Casper Star-Tribune)

OVERSIGHT: The Georgia runoff for a seat on the state’s utility regulation commission has focused on whether the Republican incumbent is too friendly to Georgia Power at the expense of consumers. (Associated Press)

OHIO:
• The Ohio Supreme Court postpones the collection of $170 million to support Ohio nuclear plants under a law at the center of a bribery scandal. (Cleveland.com)
• Newly revealed emails and text messages show the extent of lobbying pressure lawmakers faced to support HB 6. (Columbus Dispatch)

CLIMATE:
• President Trump’s effort to undermine the National Climate Assessment does not appear to have been successful. (New York Times)
The Defense Department could be an ally in President-elect Biden’s push for climate action. (Politico)
• After five months of negotiations, Massachusetts legislators release a final version of a climate law that creates a roadmap for net-zero emissions by 2050. (CommonWealth Magazine)
A Massachusetts city becomes the first in the nation to post climate warnings on gas pumps. (Grist)

WIND:
Construction is expected to begin this year on Montana’s largest wind farm, a 750 MW facility that will tap into the grid near the struggling Colstrip coal plant. (Billings Gazette)
• Minnesota regulators approve Xcel Energy’s $750 million plan to repower and extend the life of several large-scale wind projects, which the utility says will result in ratepayer savings. (Star Tribune)
• A new prototype wind turbine from GE is capable of generating 13 MW of electricity, roughly enough to power 12,000 homes. (New York Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Tesla reports it delivered nearly 500,000 electric vehicles last year, and tests its autonomous driving feature on a long-distance drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times, Tech Times)

MEDIA: E&E News is purchased by Politico, which publisher Robert Allbritton says is part of a “doubling down on our policy coverage.” (The Hill)

COMMENTARY: A writer says that including unproven carbon capture technology in climate plans is “a big gamble” that benefits fossil fuel producers. (The New Republic)

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