U.S. Energy News

Report: Pandemic wipes out five years of solar job gains

SOLAR: The U.S. solar industry has lost 65,000 jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, erasing five years of job gains, according to an industry group’s analysis. (Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• North Carolina’s solar industry is weathering the pandemic better than those in most states, in part because of the prevalence of large-scale projects. (Energy News Network)
• The Nature Conservancy is seeking a partner to help develop solar on 13,000 acres of cleared minelands in southwest Virginia. (Energy News Network)

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POLLUTION: Studies show low-income communities of color near refineries, power plants and other air pollution sources are more at risk for lung disease and other ailments that put people at higher risk for Covid-19, though scientists are still trying to understand the connections. (New York Times)

RENEWABLES:
• The Trump administration has ended a two-year rent holiday for solar and wind projects on federal lands, sending out retroactive rent bills at a time when the industry is struggling from the pandemic. (Reuters)
A recent study finds that Facebook’s new data center in New Mexico is accelerating the state’s transition toward renewable electricity. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

UTILITIES:
Ameren Missouri joins a small group of utilities tying a portion of top management bonuses to the company’s progress on clean energy. (Energy News Network)
• Memphis officials and residents have a major decision ahead: whether or not to leave the TVA and buy power elsewhere. (Commercial Appeal)
Essential utility workers who practice social distancing during Covid-19 offer a glimpse into what work will be like for others returning to employment as the economy reopens. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

OIL & GAS:
• A watchdog group says the federal coronavirus stimulus served as a “stealth bailout” for dozens of oil and gas companies. (Bloomberg) 
• The coronavirus crisis is widening the climate rift between U.S. and European oil companies, the latter of which are more aggressively pivoting to clean energy projects. (Reuters)
• Diversified Oil & Gas, started by a businessman from West Virginia, now owns more than 60,000 wells in Appalachia. (BBC)
• A plunge in Texas oil prices in the 1980s had ramifications for economies across the state, even without a pandemic. (Texas Tribune)

PIPELINES: Developers abandon plans for an undersea pipeline linking New Jersey and New York as regulators in both states again reject key permits. (NJ Spotlight)

COAL: The global coal industry will never recover from the coronavirus pandemic, industry observers predict, because it has proven that renewable energy is cheaper for consumers and safer for investors. (The Guardian)

TRANSPORTATION: Northeastern states delay the release of plans for a transportation emissions compact until the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Gloucester Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Industry analysts disagree on the impact that low gas prices will have on electric vehicle sales. (ABC News)

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GRID: PJM’s market monitor says New Jersey leaving the grid operator over policy disputes could cost residents up to $386 million in the 2021-22 capacity year. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY: Solar and wind will need continued policy support or significant changes to the grid as falling electricity prices offset gains from technological progress, write two professors at the Rochester Institute of Technology. (Greentech Media)

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