U.S. Energy News

Democrats tighten timeline for eliminating carbon emissions

CLIMATE: A Democratic Party “unity task force” unveils a climate plan that calls for 100% carbon-free power by 2035 — 15 years earlier than former Vice President Joe Biden’s previous position. (The Hill) 

GRID: U.S. economic growth appears to be decoupling from energy generation, with electricity production increasing 40% since 1990 as the GDP more than doubled, according to a new McKinsey study. (Quartz)

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COAL:
• U.S. power sector carbon emissions fell 8% from 2018-2019 as a result of coal plant closures, according to a new report. (Utility Dive)
• Peabody Energy and Arch Resources challenge the Federal Trade Commission’s claim that a proposed merger would cause “anticompetitive harm.” (Wyoming Public Media)

PIPELINES:
• The owner of the Dakota Access pipeline says it has no immediate plans to stop pumping oil through the line as it seeks an appeal of a judge’s order that it be shut down by August 5. (Associated Press)
Legal experts say developers’ strategy to build pipelines first and then sort out legal challenges no longer works in light of the Dakota Access ruling. (E&E News, subscription)
• After victories this week against three major pipelines, activists are expected to shift attention to these five oil and gas projects. (Earther)

SOLAR:
• Solar companies are turning to online marketing, drone inspections, and new financing plans as they struggle to survive the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)
• A merger with its largest rival makes Sunrun look “less like a hawker of panels and more like a new breed of electric utility.” (Quartz)
• Washington, D.C.’s Metro transit agency sells 13 football fields’ worth of parking lot and garage space for the region’s largest community solar project. (Washington Post)
• Nebraska developer Tenaska partners with a Swiss firm on a planned 4,800 MW solar buildout in the Midwest and Southeast. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A University of California, Davis, study finds that replacing gas-powered Uber or Lyft vehicles with electric cars delivers three times the carbon benefits of a personally owned electric vehicle. (UC Davis)

BUILDINGS: Some electrification backers consider retiring the phrase “gas ban” in favor of language and policies that encourage or require all electric new construction. (S&P Global)

FINANCE: Connecticut’s green bank unveils $1,000 “mini green bonds” that allow the public to help fund clean energy projects. (Energy News Network)

UTILITIES: Cash from the sale of natural gas assets to Berkshire Hathaway is expected to help accelerate a transition to renewable energy for Virginia’s Dominion Energy. (Forbes)

TRANSMISSION:
• The New York Power Authority releases a transmission plan to “unbottle” about 1,000 MW of proposed renewable energy projects. (E&E News, subscription)
• Grid operator PJM dusts off a never-used mechanism to allow states to pay for transmission needed to meet renewable energy goals. (RTO Insider, subscription)
Oklahoma utility officials say they plan to move forward with a major wind transmission project despite its rejection by Texas regulators. (Oklahoman)

OIL & GAS: Alaska Native advocates continue to complain that the Bureau of Land Management is limiting public input into the agency’s plans to massively expand oil and gas drilling along the North Slope. (ABC News)

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BIOFUELS: Amazon announces plans to buy 6 million gallons of jet fuel made from agricultural waste fats and oils as part of an effort to cut emissions. (GreenBiz)

COMMENTARY:
While it appears to be more difficult to build large oil pipelines in the U.S., the same is true for major transmission projects that can move renewable energy to population centers, a columnist writes. (Forbes)
• As states consider new investments in renewable natural gas, a sustainability researcher says the climate benefits might not be as large as advocates claim. (The Conversation)

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