U.S. Energy News

Solar industry warns pandemic slowdown could cut workforce in half

SOLAR: The solar industry is lobbying to extend federal tax credits, streamline state permitting rules, and classify its workforce as “essential” amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive, Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• A solar trade group warns that the pandemic threatens to slash the industry’s workforce in half as it tries to negotiate tax credit extensions. (Bloomberg)
Meanwhile, solar developers have been hiring installers who are new to the industry, offering on-the-job training and long-term employment for projects. (PV Magazine)

POLICY:
Efforts to address climate change and the clean energy sector are among the factors delaying a $1 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill in Congress. (NPR)
Illinois legislation backed by Ameren focuses on utility-scale solar in the southern part of the state that the utility could own. (Energy News Network)

GRID:
• Grid operators and utilities say it’s too early to determine the impact of widespread closures on the grid, but some are already seeing a drop in power demand. (Utility Dive)
• Analysts say a drop in power demand could force utilities to scale back grid investments, delay new power plant projects and put more pressure on aging plants already struggling to compete. (E&E News, subscription)

STORAGE: Nearly two-thirds of energy storage companies are seeing delays caused by coronavirus that imperil their businesses, according to an industry trade group. (E&E News, subscription required)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The oncoming recession and tanking oil prices suggest major challenges ahead for electric vehicle sales. (Grist)

MICROGRIDS: California’s plan to deploy microgrids to improve resilience in fire-prone areas are on hold due to cost and deployment complexities. (Utility Dive)

COAL:
A Tennessee Valley Authority power plant in Paradise, Kentucky, burned its last load of coal last month despite last-ditch efforts to stop it open. (Associated Press)
The Ohio Valley’s coal industry faces major slowdowns as the coronavirus pandemic impacts international exports and electricity demand. (WVPB)
• Murray Energy cancels a bankruptcy auction after it receives no qualified bids for its coal assets. (S&P Global)

PIPELINES: A federal district court declines to stop construction on the Permian Highway Pipeline in Texas despite claims that Kinder Morgan failed to follow some mitigation steps to protect endangered bird habitat. (S&P Global)

CLIMATE: A federal court in Massachusetts pauses the state’s climate lawsuit against an Exxon terminal until federal environmental regulators act on a related permit application. (Bloomberg) 

UTILITIES:
PG&E agrees to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the deadly 2018 Camp Fire. (New York Times)
• The Rocky Mountain Institute warns that utilities will collect less revenue during the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive)
Virginia lawmakers passed clean energy bills, but proposals to challenge the power of Dominion Energy gained little traction. (S&P Global)

BIOFUELS: A group representing small oil refineries predicts dire consequences for members as the White House signals it may not appeal a court ruling limiting the U.S. EPA’s ability to waive blending requirements. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY: A columnist says the toll from delayed responses to the coronavirus pandemic provides lessons for how to deal with climate change. (The Guardian)

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