U.S. Energy News

Report: pandemic wipes out 600,000 clean energy jobs

CLEAN ENERGY: The U.S. clean energy sector lost 17% of its workforce, nearly 600,000 jobs, during March and April due to the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report. (Reuters)

ALSO:
• Nationwide, most job losses are coming from the energy efficiency sector, and the outlook is bleaker than earlier expected. (Bloomberg Law)
• The U.S. is falling behind other countries in the transition to clean energy, according to a new annual report from the World Economic Forum. (CNN)
The country is on track for the first time ever to produce more electricity this year from renewables than from coal, federal projections show. (New York Times)

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CLIMATE:
• Joe Biden’s presidential campaign names former Secretary of State John Kerry and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to lead a climate policy task force that one analyst called “the Climate Dream Team for Democrats.” (InsideClimate News)
Political analysts say governors experiencing high favorability for their handling of the pandemic could be in a better position to pass ambitious climate legislation. (E&E News)

EFFICIENCY: A bipartisan bill in Minnesota would reward utilities for encouraging customers to switch to less carbon-intensive fuels for heating, cooling and transportation while boosting programs for low-income customers. (Energy News Network)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Alameda County officials in California agree to let Tesla reopen as early as next week if it agrees to certain safety conditions. (San Francisco Chronicle)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom avoids answering questions about Elon Musk defying a shelter-in-place order to resume operations at his Tesla plant. (SFist)

STORAGE:
Utilities are increasingly finding that massive storage projects like those approved for California and Nevada are useful in keeping the lights on and tackling climate change and air pollution. (News York Times)
Ventura County, California officials used Zoom to sign off on a solar provider’s proposal for a 100-megawatt/400-megawatt-hour battery plant. (Greentech Media)

GRID: Texas’ electric grid operator expects record-breaking peak electricity use this summer because of the heat, even though people are using less electricity because of the pandemic. (KUT)

PIPELINES: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman rejects a request from 10 attorneys general to pause approvals for gas pipelines, claiming it would be “short-sighted and impractical.” (The Hill)

OIL & GAS:
Dozens of oil tankers stranded off the coast of Southern California are still generating daily carbon emissions the equivalent of driving roughly 16,000 passenger cars. (Grist)
• Exxon Mobil faces pressure from activist shareholders calling for an independent board chairman as the company fights climate proposals. (Reuters)
• The U.S. Department of Energy plans to buy 1 million barrels of oil from U.S. producers after Congress rejected a 77 million barrel purchase. (The Hill)

OFFSHORE WIND: Large majorities of New Jersey residents support offshore wind, saying they would continue to vacation on the shore even if turbines were visible. (ROI-NJ)

COAL:
• The Trump administration proposes to relax federal involvement in investigations of coal mine violations and allow states to address complaints instead. (E&E News, subscription)
• In the first quarter of 2020, central Appalachian coal mines had their lowest quarterly output in 25 years. (S&P Global)

UTILITIES: Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good says she is “disappointed to learn that the tool of natural gas is under such assault” amid tough questions from shareholders about the company’s clean energy plans. (Utility Dive)

TRANSMISSION: The parent of Central Maine Power sues Maine to halt a fall referendum against its proposed power line, saying the vote violates the state constitution. (Bangor Daily News)

BIOFUELS: A COVID-19 relief bill proposed by U.S. House Democrats would provide cash payments to biofuel producers. (E&E News, subscription)

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OBIT: S. David Freeman, a champion of clean energy who advised presidents on energy policy and served on the board of TVA, dies at 94. (Washington Post)

COMMENTARY: A regulatory economist says it’s time for utility regulators to reconsider whether energy efficiency programs should “continue in their present form, be scaled down, or even exist at all.” (Utility Dive)

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