U.S. Energy News

Paris climate negotiations underway; updated biofuel standard expected today

PARIS:
• As climate negotiations kick off today in Paris, observers note that any agreement would not save the planet, “but only be a strong first step.” (New York Times)
• Microsoft founder Bill Gates and other billionaires unveil a clean-energy research and development program today in partnership with leading countries. (Greenwire)
• As world leaders arrive for the negotiations, tension mounts between protesters and police over restrictions put on protests in the wake of the terrorist attacks. (CNN)
• The U.N. secretary-general says countries’ climate pledges should be reviewed by 2020. (Associated Press)
• Washington Gov. Jay Inslee goes to Paris to show his state’s commitment to fighting climate change. (Seattle Times)

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BIOFUELS:
• The Obama administration will issue an updated ruling on the federal Renewable Fuel Standard today, which is widely expected to increase the requirements for biofuels through 2016. (Reuters)
Meanwhile, a new report shows ethanol production hit record levels this month. (Bloomberg News)
Nevada researchers look to turn a common roadside weed into a valuable biofuel. (Albuquerque Journal)

UTILITIES: Minnesota’s e21 plan is unique because, at a time when other states and utilities seem to want to maintain the status quo, the state’s electricity industry appears willing and prepared to embrace change. (EnergyWire)

FRACKING:
• An advisory board takes issue with an EPA draft report on the impacts of fracking, raising questions about the research and lack of robust data. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
An industry database of chemicals used in fracking is disclosing a lot less than it set out to share when launched in 2011. (InsideClimate News)

EXXON MOBIL:
• The same environmental coalition that fought to block Keystone XL is now directing its efforts against ExxonMobil’s efforts to mislead the public on climate change. (Politico)
In the lead-up to the company’s efforts to sow confusion about climate research, it defunded a majority of innovative research programs. (Inside Climate News)

WIND:
• Three grid operators set new wind generation records this month. (RTO Insider)
Federal regulators take the first steps toward leasing areas off South Carolina’s coast for commercial wind farm development. (SNL Energy)

NATURAL GAS: Observers say “gas is the new coal” in California, where the fuel source is expected to play a smaller role in transitioning from coal compared to other regions. (Utility Dive)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: A new study says Arizona could meet its requirements under the Clean Power Plan with large-scale solar and wind projects already under review by the state. (Arizona Republic) 

COAL: A federal appeals court rules that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy does not have to give a deposition in a coal company’s lawsuit over the impact of regulations on jobs. (Associated Press)

EMISSIONS: A new report from Maryland’s Department of the Environment shows the state is on track to beat its goal of reducing its emissions 25 percent below 2006 levels by the year 2020. (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions)

LAS VEGAS: The Nevada city plans to run all of its operations on renewable energy, the first U.S. city of its size to do so. (Bloomberg)

NUCLEAR:
• Federal regulators will soon decide whether it’s safe to operate nuclear plants for 80 years, twice as long as initially allowed. (Bloomberg News)
California’s nuclear industry reaches a crossroad as plants get more expensive to operate and solar and wind become a bigger part of the energy future. (Associated Press)

INCENTIVES: New research shows that a large majority of energy tax incentives are inequitable and go to mostly affluent consumers. (Vox)

CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY: Leading companies based or operating in Ohio say they are moving forward with efficiency and renewable energy plans despite a lack of interest by state officials. (Midwest Energy News)

COMMENTARY:
• 
The utility “death spiral” predicted in 2013 due to distributed generation was not only wrong, it was “wildly, spectacularly wrong.” (Forbes)
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell writes in the Washington Post that global leaders shouldn’t work with President Obama in Paris based on a domestic energy plan “that is likely illegal … and that his successor could do away with in a few months’ time.”
• Washington Gov. Jay Inslee should join a broad coalition of groups in opposing an oil company’s plans for expanding an oil-by-rail terminal. (Seattle Times)

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