CLIMATE: The Trump administration unexpectedly removes the head of a federal program that oversees the National Climate Assessment, and is expected to appoint a climate science denier in his place. (New York Times)

• The Federal Reserve for the first time identifies climate change as a financial risk in its biannual stability report. (Reuters)
• The climate coalition that helped President-elect Biden win the White House could become strained as progressives push for aggressive action and centrist Democrats worry about losing further ground in the House. (E&E News)
• Recently demoted FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee reflects on his tenure and the prospects for market-based policies to address climate change. (Utility Dive)
• The outgoing Trump administration moves quickly to dismantle regulations before the inauguration, as climate advocates look to executive orders that President-elect Biden can overturn soon after he takes office. (E&E News, The Hill)

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EFFICIENCY: Thirteen states and six environmental groups sue the Department of Energy for failing to update energy efficiency standards for appliances. (The Hill)

• Six Midwest utilities plan to spend a combined $15 billion on roughly 8,600 MW of wind, solar and battery storage while retiring nearly 6,000 MW of coal through 2023. (S&P Global)
• The International Energy Agency says global renewable energy deployment will set a new record this year despite the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)

• Utah solar advocates plan to challenge a regulatory decision last week to lower utility compensation for solar power, saying it will be “difficult, if not impossible” to project customers’ savings under new rules. (Salt Lake Tribune)
• A scaled-back solar project is approved by Connecticut regulators but opponents say it still presents an erosion threat to a watershed. (Energy News Network)
• A 16-kilowatt array on the roof of a southwest Virginia bike shop is the first successful project for a regional group trying to seed solar projects across seven coalfield counties. (Energy News Network)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Ford plans to invest $100 million in a Kansas City assembly plant to build its new electric transit van, part of a broader investment in electric vehicle manufacturing. (Detroit Free Press)

• Peabody Energy reports another quarter with multimillion-dollar losses and warns it may consider bankruptcy for the second time in five years. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• An eastern Kentucky coal company receives a CARES Act loan to continue operating during the pandemic. (Harlan Enterprise)

PIPELINES: A federal appeals court freezes construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline across 1,000 waterways in Virginia and West Virginia as it considers whether to overturn the pipeline’s federal permit for stream and river crossings. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

• Ohio utility FirstEnergy dismisses two more executives — its chief legal officer and chief ethics officer — as investigations continue into the company’s alleged role in the power plant subsidy law scandal. (WKSU)
• A coalition to oppose ratepayer subsidies for nuclear plants in New Jersey reappears and now also opposes utility proposals to change the way the state procures electricity supply. (NJ Spotlight) 

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HYDROPOWER: A Washington tribe and utility agree that a dam that has not generated electricity since 1958 needs to come down, and are taking new steps to do so after more than a decade of obstacles. (Seattle Times)

• A California solar energy advocate says the state needs more storage and renewable energy investments to prevent blackouts. (Energy News Network)
President-elect Biden’s stance against fossil fuels did not appear to hurt his election chances in Pennsylvania and other states. (The Conversation)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.