U.S. Energy News

Record year for renewable investment, but still not enough to curb climate change

RENEWABLES: Global investment in renewable energy hit a world record of $286 billion in 2015, yet even more is needed to make sharp carbon emission cuts to address climate change. (Climate Central)

SOLAR: Renewable energy standards will continue to play a smaller role in driving new solar development. (Greentech Media)

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FINANCE: SunEdison, the world’s largest clean-energy developer, has a “big issue coming” with its $11.7 billion debt. (Bloomberg Business)

COAL:
• The U.S. government looks to increase royalty payments by 50 percent on coal extracted from massive strip mines on public lands. (Associated Press)
• A Peabody Energy spokesman declares: “Coal is going to be around for a long time, and Peabody is going to be around for a long time.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

EFFICIENCY: Since 2012, New York has announced 112,000 energy efficiency projects resulting in $341 million in customer savings. (Utility Dive)

MICHIGAN: Emails released as part of the ongoing Flint water crisis also shed light on Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s energy policy and the attorney general’s “awkward” pursuit of an injunction against the Clean Power Plan. (Midwest Energy News)

MERGERS:
• California regulators approve a $12 billion merger, making Southern Co. the second-largest combined gas and electric utility in the U.S. (Utility Dive)
However, Moody’s Investor Services says these types of high-profile mergers with gas companies are not without risk. (Utility Dive)

WIND: The Obama administration clears the way for up to six turbines off Virginia’s coast.(Associated Press)

DIVESTMENT: The Rockefeller Family Fund’s divesting from fossil fuels — and particularly Exxon Mobil — carries symbolic weight as the nonprofit trust was born of oil wealth. (Huffington Post)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Uncertainty clouds the timeline of meeting goals following the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay and states are questioning whether they will be “caught flat-footed if they stop planning.” (ClimateWire)

FRACKING: Industry attorneys say the negative publicity around “frackquake” lawsuits may do more damage to the industry than any legal outcomes. (Forbes)

COMMENTARY:
• The U.S. has “dithered” on the “clear and present danger” of radioactive waste from nuclear plants for far too long. (Scientific American)
Subsidies for the U.S. coal industry are “bigger than anyone knew.” (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

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