U.S. Energy News

Climate inaction taking a toll in the Southeast

CLIMATE: The Southeast is facing major impacts from climate change, but utilities and cities have been slow to adopt clean energy or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (InsideClimate News)

ALSO: Hundreds of Amazon employees risk their jobs to publicly criticize the company’s record on climate change. (Associated Press)

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TRANSPORTATION: Several Northeast governors are reluctant to join a regional initiative to cap tailpipe emissions, citing its impact on gasoline prices; supporters say those fears are overblown. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• At an auto show in Washington state, consumers and industry offer competing narratives about who’s to blame for low electric vehicle sales. (E&E News)
• Electric truck startup Rivian invested nearly $30 million in recent weeks on a production facility in Normal, Illinois. (Bloomington Pantagraph)
• Rivian says it will unveil prices for its pickup truck soon, and that they will be lower than previously announced. (Reuters)

WIND:
• Wind energy has grown rapidly because of federal tax credits, but as they phase out, states like Texas could see a drop in projects. (PBS Newshour)
• A draft of federal rules governing offshore wind is expected early this year but it’s unclear what impact it will have on a project logjam. (Newsday)
• Some residents raise concerns over the potential impacts on bald eagles from wind development in northern Ohio. (Toledo Blade)

STORAGE: NextEra Energy says it wants to add battery storage to existing solar projects across the country like it has in Florida. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• Connecticut regulators relent to protests from solar advocates and will allow more transparency as they draft a study to determine the value of solar energy. (Energy News Network)
• An influx of large solar projects in upstate New York generates backlash among neighbors, leading to court battles and local moratoria. (Albany Times Union)

EFFICIENCY:
• After years without a sustainability leader, Chicago Public Schools is again identifying cost-saving opportunities through efficiency. (Energy News Network)
• Utilities would earn bonuses or face penalties based on efficiency performance targets under a proposal by New Jersey regulators. (Utility Dive)

GRID: A company helps identify ways to relieve transmission congestion, which has cost ratepayers billions of dollars and stymied renewable energy projects in the Midwest. (E&E News, subscription)

EMISSIONS: The large amount of electricity consumed by Xbox users will be among the biggest challenges for Microsoft’s “carbon negative” goal. (Grist)

PIPELINES: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases a draft $13.4 million plan designed to protect the endangered rusty patched bumblebee, which has habitat along the route of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

COAL: Utility officials in Illinois say retiring coal units this year will lead to a rate decrease rather than costing millions of dollars to keep the plants online. (NPR Illinois)

COAL ASH: President Trump’s rollback of protections for streams and wetlands could have dire consequences for North Carolina waterways threatened by coal ash and other pollutants. (NC Policy Watch) 

CLEAN ENERGY: Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker says the state needs to address clean energy this session, though it will be complicated in the wake of a lobbying controversy involving utility ComEd. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

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BIOFUELS: A U.S. appeals court rules that the EPA must reconsider three biofuel waivers it recently granted to small oil refineries. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• Energy efficiency slows climate change, saves money, and should be embraced more, writes a director for the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. (USA Today)
• Prohibiting solar panels on rooftops of historic buildings shows how preservation culture has run amok, writes an editorial board member. (New York Times)
• Midwest governors have an opportunity to lead on clean energy as they prepare annual “state of the state” speeches. (Union of Concerned Scientists)

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