U.S. Energy News

‘Open license to pollute’ as EPA relaxes power plant rules

POWER PLANTS: The U.S. EPA cites the coronavirus pandemic as justification for a sweeping relaxation of environmental rules that will allow power plants to determine for themselves if they are meeting air and water pollution rules. (New York Times)

CLEAN ENERGY:
Clean energy legislation stalls in many states as legislatures cut sessions short or shift attention to other issues due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive)
California sets a new emissions goal for its electric sector that would double the state’s clean energy capacity by 2030. (Reuters)
After celebrating a major legislative victory this month, Virginia renewable companies now face uncertainty because of the pandemic. (Virginia Mercury)

WIND: The nascent offshore wind industry could see major setbacks because of the coronavirus. (InsideClimate News)

TRANSMISSION: A planned underground transmission line that would follow railroad rights-of-way through Iowa and Illinois hasn’t faced the same organized opposition that has dogged overhead transmission lines in the region. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR:
The U.S. solar industry could be facing a crisis due to uncertainty over the Investment Tax Credit as projects face delays. (E&E News, subscription)
Elon Musk says Tesla’s New York solar panel factory will convert to manufacturing ventilators “as soon as is humanly possible.” (Energy Live News)
Tesla tells its employees that two workers have tested positive for the coronavirus, though it did not indicate which business unit or location. (Reuters)
The country’s largest solar manufacturer says Ohio’s “stay-at-home” orders do not apply to its module factories near Toledo. (Greentech Media)

PIPELINES:
A federal safety agency eases training requirements for pipeline operators to help companies prepare for the coronavirus pandemic. (Bloomberg Environment)
Mountain Valley Pipeline developers say construction won’t be further slowed by the coronavirus pandemic. (Roanoke Times)

OIL & GAS:
An analysis concludes that a sudden drop in travel due to the coronavirus could cut demand for oil by more than 50%. (The Hill)
• The pain from plunging oil prices is spreading beyond the Permian Basin to small towns across the country. (Bloomberg)
Texas regulators consider a cap on oil production because of low prices, but several regulatory and practical hurdles remain. (Grist) 

COAL:
The United Mine Workers of America asks federal regulators to set guidelines to help protect coal miners from contracting coronavirus. (WVPB)
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signs legislation that gives power companies tax breaks for keeping coal-fired power plants open. (Bloomberg Tax, subscription)
The coal industry will not receive direct assistance from the $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

NUCLEAR: Nuclear plant operators consider potential changes to refueling practices to protect the health and safety of workers. (Utility Dive)

GRID:
State and federal energy regulators urge states to designate utility workers as “essential” to critical infrastructure during the coronavirus outbreak. (E&E News, subscription) 
Analysts say an increased demand for distributed storage is likely during the coronavirus pandemic, citing California as an example. (Utility Dive) 

BIOFUELS: Ethanol producers say the federal government is blocking their plans to produce a grade of alcohol that could be used for sanitizers. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: An Illinois architect discusses the challenges of reaching higher percentages of energy efficiency levels in new buildings and retrofits. (Energy News Network)

COMMENTARY: The oil and gas industry was headed for broke long before COVID-19, and now the Trump administration wants to use the pandemic to put it on life support. (Drilled)

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