U.S. Energy News

Coronavirus outbreak begins to reshape electricity demand

CORONAVIRUS: The coronavirus outbreak is starting to warp power grid patterns, with weekday demand predicted to resemble typical weekend days as offices and schools close and more employees work remotely. (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• The outbreak poses a threat to long-term climate action by undermining investment in clean energy, a global energy watchdog warns. (The Guardian)
• Oil and gas market analysts say coronavirus could be the “nail in the coffin” for smaller oil companies as they expect a wave of job cuts and bankruptcies. (Grist)
• Cheap gas from the oil price collapse shouldn’t undercut electric vehicles, analysts say, but economic disruption might. (Axios)

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OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Senate confirms a third Republican to join one Democrat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, breaking with bipartisan norms as the board faces criticism for aiding fossil fuels in key decisions. (Greentech Media)

EFFICIENCY: Efficiency advocates and Massachusetts utilities credit aggressive goals and financial incentives in the state for the utilities’ top ranking in a national survey. (Energy News Network)

RENEWABLES: Republican-controlled states like Texas are becoming more interested in transitioning to affordable wind and solar. (The Economist, subscription)

TRANSPORTATION: An auto analyst says General Motors’ commitment to new EV models and cheaper batteries suggest the company is serious about leading in the EV market after previous attempts. (InsideClimate News)

OFFSHORE WIND: New England may be the cradle of the U.S. offshore wind industry, but advocates wonder if it can keep jobs associated with it after the announcement of a large blade manufacturing plant slated for Virginia. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR: The head of a major rooftop solar company in Houston says he would back the oil industry’s bid for federal aid as long as it’s part of a package that restores federal tax credits for solar. (E&E News, subscription)

STORAGE: A new report indicates California led the market for residential and non-residential energy storage in 2019, driven by power shutoffs to cut wildfire risk. (Axios)

HYDROPOWER: A new federal lawsuit filed by environmental groups says a Columbia River Basin water reallocation project violates the Endangered Species Act. (Bloomberg Environment, subscription)

COAL: A Trump administration rule would maintain existing coal electricity but reduce coal consumption due to increased efficiency, an analysis says. (Axios) 

OIL & GAS: Oil companies like Exxon and BP pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions but continue to flare natural gas in the Permian Basin in Texas. (Reuters)

PIPELINES: Contractors hired by Enbridge to build a Line 5 pipeline tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac have faced legal action related to infrastructure projects; Attorney General Dana Nessel calls for an investigation. (Michigan Advance)

CLIMATE:
• A lawyer representing Rhode Island and several California municipalities urges two federal appeals courts to keep the cases in state courts. (Drilled)
• A federal judge dismisses two of the Trump administration’s key arguments against California’s cap-and-trade agreement with Quebec. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• A climate council in New York formed to develop recommendations for how the state will meet its climate goals will meet in secret because it is an advisory panel not subject to the state’s open meetings law. (Politico) 

COMMENTARY: Virginia voters “figured out the one weird trick” for passing good climate and clean energy legislation: They put Democrats in charge, David Roberts writes. (Vox)

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