U.S. Energy News

Push to ban new natural gas hookups stalls amid coronavirus pandemic

ELECTRIFICATION: Efforts to impose natural gas bans in new construction in several states stall as activists are limited to virtual meetings and officials are preoccupied by the coronavirus pandemic. (S&P Global)

COAL:
Coal miners in West Virginia are told to keep working during the coronavirus pandemic despite the fact they’re in close quarters and many have damaged lungs. (Washington Post)
A new study concludes that methane emissions from coal mines could be more than double previous estimates and exceed the oil-and-gas sector. (Carbon Brief)
Another analysis finds a proposed carbon capture project at a New Mexico coal plant is not economically feasible. (E&E News, subscription)

GRID:
• The chances of coronavirus causing a widespread power outage are low, experts say, with the greatest concern being infected plant workers. (Boston Globe)
• New England’s grid operator says power demand has dropped as much as 5% during the pandemic, resembling usage patterns on snow days. (Granite Geek)

OIL & GAS: Louisiana’s oil and gas industry profits off of work release programs that put prisoners to work servicing offshore drilling companies. (Southerly, Scalawag)

UTILITIES: Campaign contributions by Duke Energy’s political action committee in North Carolina closely aligned with lawmakers’ votes on a controversial bill that would have allowed the utility to collect upfront, multi-year rate increases. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem signs a bill increasing penalties for “riot boosting,” which critics say could have a chilling effect on peaceful pipeline protests. (Associated Press)

POWER PLANTS: A power plant just commissioned in Pennsylvania is capable of using a blend of natural gas and ethane, a fracking byproduct used in the petrochemical industry. (Utility Dive)

RENEWABLES: In lieu of extending federal tax credits for wind and solar, some experts say the IRS could provide certainty by clarifying that existing law protects projects from losing access to the credits amid supply disruptions. (Greentech Media)

WIND:
The world’s wind power capacity grew by almost a fifth in 2019 with record offshore wind growth and a boom in U.S. onshore projects. (The Guardian)
The U.S. wind industry could be among the most disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, though some developers express hope they can weather shocks to global supply chains, according to a new report. (E&E News, subscription)
A proposed wind farm in southern Idaho could be as large as 1,000 MW, which would place it among the largest in the world. (Times-News)

STORAGE: Solar and storage systems providers are busier than ever under California’s COVID-19 “shelter in place” directive. (Energy Storage News)

BIOFUELS: The deadline has passed for the U.S. EPA to appeal a ruling that limits the agency’s use of waivers for exempting small refineries from biofuels regulations, signaling a win for ethanol producers. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• A former federal policy analyst writes that U.S. leaders need to support workers and communities but stop bending to the oil and gas industry. (DeSmog)
• The executive director of the International Energy Agency writes that clean energy should be at the heart of coronavirus stimulus plans. (Ensia)
• Energy efficiency workers are on the front lines of the coronavirus response, maintaining and updating critical equipment at healthcare facilities, writes the interim president of an industry association. (Alliance to Save Energy)

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