ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A rapid transition to electric vehicles could save U.S. drivers $2.7 trillion in vehicle, fuel, and maintenance costs by 2050, according to a new University of California, Berkeley study. (Guardian)

ALSO: President Biden’s plan to electrify the federal fleet is complicated by the fact that the government owns more cars than there were electric vehicles sold in 2019 and 2020 combined. (E&E News, subscription)

***SPONSORED LINK: 2021 IPF Registration is now open! This year, IPF will be both in-person and virtual. IPF Together will be held August 24-26 in Richmond, VA (space is limited due to COVID guidelines). IPF Virtual will be taking place April 22, May 13, and June 17. Learn more and register today!***

CLIMATE:
• Senate Democrats plan to introduce legislation today linking climate change and U.S. diplomacy, proposing assessments of how climate change will affect global security, a program to fight deforestation, and other investments in global climate action. (Axios)
• White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says an upcoming climate summit likely won’t be a “bilateral deal-making venue” even as the U.S. seeks to ramp up its own emissions reduction goals and secure agreements with other countries ahead of the meeting. (E&E News, subscription; New York Times) 

TRANSITION:
• Union workers who maintain fossil fuel plants are skeptical of President Biden’s assurance that a transition to clean energy would create good-paying jobs. (NPR)
• Illinois lawmakers advance a clean energy bill backed by labor groups that includes requiring advance notice of coal plant closures and support for displaced workers. (Energy News Network)

RENEWABLES: Battery storage advancements and other technology improvements are driving down the cost of renewable energy sources and accelerating their replacement of fossil fuels, a report forecasting the future of the U.S. power sector suggests. (PV Magazine)

OIL & GAS:
• New reports suggest Appalachian communities can create more than 30,000 new jobs by reclaiming abandoned mine lands and plugging 538,000 abandoned oil and gas wells. (WTVQ, Ohio River Valley Institute)
Thousands of abandoned “zombie” oil wells proliferate in west Texas’ Permian Basin, creating a looming environmental problem likely to cost nearly $1 billion to clean up. (Guardian)
• A New Mexico Sandia Pueblo member and environmental advocate says “meaningful tribal consultation hasn’t been fulfilled, nor has it been respected” regarding federal oil and gas leasing on culturally significant areas near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. (Albuquerque Journal)

PIPELINES:
A Pennsylvania judge has denied Philadelphia-area residents’ request to shut down the Mariner East natural gas pipeline despite acknowledging numerous violations of state and federal regulations. (Law360, subscription)
A decision last week allowing the Dakota Access pipeline to remain open could be a short-lived victory for the project ahead of a federal court ruling expected next month, analysts say. (S&P Global)

GRID: Texas’ power grid is still strained with roughly a quarter of the state’s power plants offline, but amid mockery and public skepticism, grid managers have avoided calling for additional energy conservation measures. (Austin American-Statesman)

EMISSIONS:
• A startup company looks to build the first zero-emission natural gas plants that capture emissions on site and bury them underground. (Bloomberg)
U.S. emissions dropped 1.7% from 2018 to 2019, the EPA reports, crediting a reduction in fossil fuel combustion. (The Hill)

COAL: The EPA should reconsider an issued permit and require water cooling towers at New Hampshire’s Merrimack Station coal plant, environmental groups say. (Energy News Network)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Building Decarbonization Coalition via Fresh Energy is hiring for a Manager of Building Policy and Technology contractor to play a lead role in developing strategy and resources in support of local, state, and regional advocates. Learn more.***

TRANSMISSION: Québec has approved an interconnection project to bring hydropower to the U.S.-Canadian border, where it will be carried by Central Maine Power’s New England Clean Energy Connect transmission line. (Hydro Review)

COMMENTARY:
President Biden’s focus on clean energy spending “may be more politically effective” than mandates, but it may not do enough to combat climate change, an editorial board writes. (Washington Post)
Offshore wind developers must ensure equitably procured contracts to enable minority- and women-owned businesses to share the wealth of the burgeoning industry, says the head of a renewable energy-focused urban planning firm. (Energy News Network)
World leaders need to rapidly accelerate their transitions to clean energy today instead of pushing goals to faraway target dates, a reporter writes. (Rolling Stone)