U.S. Energy News

Post-pandemic future looks bleak for transit agencies

TRANSPORTATION: Transit agencies face a financial crisis that will outlast the pandemic, with shrinking service and rising fares likely if funding sources and ridership don’t rebound. (New York Times)

GEOTHERMAL: Companies that supply drilling equipment and services are lowering rates and looking for new business, which could help geothermal developers lower upfront costs. (Grist)

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TRANSMISSION: Several major transmission projects are moving ahead around the country with potential to unlock access to lots of renewable energy. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• A solar developer secures a power purchase agreement for a 132 MW project in Arkansas that would nearly double the state’s utility-scale capacity. (Greentech Media)
• A decision by the Kansas Supreme Court last week that rooftop solar fees are discriminatory took some clean energy advocates by surprise. (InsideClimate News)

STORAGE: The U.S. Department of Energy explores energy storage at fossil fuel plants to improve the facilities’ performance and flexibility. (Utility Dive)

EMISSIONS: The Virginia Clean Economy Act will force Virginia regulators to factor in the social cost of carbon — indirect costs associated with emissions — when building fossil fuel-fired power plants, which could push utilities toward renewables. (Energy News Network)

UTILITIES:
• Gov. Ralph Northam signs into law a bill that requires state regulators to scrutinize utility requests before passing on the costs of new natural gas pipelines to ratepayers. (S&P Global)
• The coronavirus pandemic is shedding more light on how many people live with energy insecurity and can’t afford utility bills. (Mother Jones)

BIOGAS: While a California natural gas utility touts the benefits of “renewable” natural gas produced from dairies, landfills and other sources, advocates say electrification is a better option. (Los Angeles Times)

EFFICIENCY:
• The energy efficiency industry seeks federal aid as firms worry they won’t be able to weather the economic shocks from the coronavirus pandemic. (Bloomberg Environment)
• A coalition of state attorneys general go to federal court to defend efficiency standards for commercial boilers. (E&E News, subscription)

OIL & GAS:
• After significantly cutting production, some U.S. oil refineries may have to shut down operations because of low prices during the pandemic. (Bloomberg)
Major U.S. banks are developing subsidiaries to become oil and gas field operators to avoid losses on loans to energy companies, including those in western shale basins, that may go bankrupt. (New York Times)
A history of safety and emission violations, fires, and fines at a Texas petrochemical complex is a cautionary tale for officials seeking to make the Ohio River Valley the next hub for ethane production. (InsideClimate News)

COAL:
• U.S. mine safety officials say they do not track data on COVID-19 cases reported by mine employees despite multiple cases emerging. (S&P Global)
The Trump administration relaxes emissions rules for power plants burning coal refuse in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. (E&E News, subscription)

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HYDROGEN: A planned hydrogen plant in Utah for the city of Los Angeles highlights the potential and challenges for the technology. (GreenBiz)

COMMENTARY:
• As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, we may well have seen the peak demand for petroleum on planet Earth, Bill McKibbon writes. (New Yorker)
• A decade after the Upper Big Branch mine disaster that killed 29 men, not much has changed in coal mining safety, an author writes. (Washington Post)

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