CLIMATE: Sources expect a plan to rejoin the Paris Agreement to be among President-elect Joe Biden’s first executive actions as he takes office next week. (E&E News, subscription)

ALSO:
• Analysts say Democrats gaining control of the U.S. Senate “almost doubles” what the Biden administration can accomplish on climate change. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
• A federal report finds 2020 was among the costliest years on record for weather- and climate-related disasters. (The Hill)

POLITICS: Republican members of Congress who helped encourage last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol have been recipients of millions in oil company donations, as banks and other major donors put political contributions on hold. (Earther, Washington Post)

OIL & GAS: Energy companies have obtained enough oil and gas drilling permits for public lands to continue operations for years even if the Biden administration moves to impose restrictions. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Eight people were arrested over the weekend in northern Minnesota as a couple hundred people gathered to protest construction of the Line 3 pipeline replacement. (MPR News)

OHIO:
• Sam Randazzo, the former chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, helped draft language in the state’s nuclear plant bailout law that would have made it more difficult to develop renewable energy projects while benefiting a former client, emails show. (Cleveland.com)
• FirstEnergy made significant contributions to a dark money group supporting Gov. Mike DeWine and his daughter’s bid for a county prosecutor job, according to 2019 tax records. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

GRID:
• A state economic development study says Iowa needs stronger policies or incentives to boost energy storage in the coming years to support growth in wind and solar power. (Energy News Network)
• As data centers adopt batteries as a backup power system, experts say they could be used as a resource to help manage the grid. (Grist)

SOLAR:
• An Appalachian Virginia county considers a proposed 300 MW solar farm, which would be by far the largest in the region and one of the largest in the state. (Roanoke Times)
• Maryland companies are developing a solar-powered barge to bring oyster farming to deeper waters of the Chesapeake Bay. (Washington Post)
• At least 15 solar projects of 1,000 acres or more are slated to come online in Indiana by 2024, drawing opposition from some rural residents. (The Republic)

TRANSPORTATION: Motor vehicles are a key driver of air pollution in Minnesota, which is disproportionately affecting low-income areas and communities of color, a state agency reports. (MPR News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: General Motors launches a new marketing campaign to reshape its image as a clean vehicle company as it prepares to roll out more than two dozen new EV models in the coming years. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
An advocate says understanding systemic inequities will be key to advancing clean energy. (The Revelator)
A former member of Alaska’s state legislature says Republicans are ready to lead on clean energy and climate change. (Anchorage Daily News)

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.