U.S. Energy News

Solar, wind projected to dominate new capacity in 2021

RENEWABLES: Solar and wind will account for most new U.S. electricity generating capacity in 2021, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest projections. (U.S. EIA)

EMISSIONS: U.S. greenhouse gas emissions plummeted more than 10% in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but experts expect them to bounce back unless policymakers take stronger action. (New York Times)

POLITICS:
• “Nobody is going to cater to the president anymore or his people”: An oil executive says the industry is unlikely to hire Trump staff or loyalists following the president’s efforts to overturn the election. (Politico)
Two EPA officials are among the wave of political appointees stepping down from the Trump administration following last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol. (E&E News, subscription)
• Several major oil companies are pausing political donations in response to the failed insurrection; Dow Chemical says it will halt contributions to members of Congress who sought to overturn the election. (Houston Chronicle The Hill)

OVERSIGHT:
• The courts and incoming Biden administration are likely to erase “almost all” of Trump’s attempts to deregulate, which were either marred by sloppy work or initiated too late in his presidency, experts say. (E&E News)
• Environmental groups filed a lawsuit Monday to block the U.S. EPA from adopting a rule that would restrict the use of scientific studies that protect some data for participant’s privacy. (The Hill)

FOSSIL FUELS:
• A group of activists, policy experts and academics are promoting a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to deter nations from doubling-down on coal, oil and gas as other countries work to cut climate pollution. (Grist)
• The U.S. Supreme Court denies a petition seeking to overturn a Minnesota county’s ordinance banning frac sand mining. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

COAL: More states are considering laws that allow utilities to refinance coal plants in a way that lessons the financial loss of retiring them. (E&E News, subscription)

NUCLEAR:
• A New York law to tax storage of nuclear waste at closed power plants could be a national model for states trying to recover revenue from plants that shut down. (Bloomberg Tax)
• Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration hires an outside firm to scrutinize Exelon’s claims that some of its Illinois nuclear plants are losing money. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

PIPELINES: The U.S. Forest Service approves the Mountain Valley Pipeline’s passage through 3.5 miles of Jefferson National Forest, and environmental groups sue to appeal the decision. (Roanoke Times, WDBJ)

GRID: A report by clean energy groups says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should overhaul its grid policies to make it easier to connect large wind and solar farms. (E&E News, subscription)

SOLAR:
• A public-private partnership involving Amazon and Dominion Energy will enable a northern Virginia county to obtain at least 80% of its municipal electricity from a solar farm. (Energy News Network)
• Illinois solar developers and advocates are united in pushing for a short-term “funding bridge” for the state’s depleted solar incentives during a brief lame duck session that could end tonight. (Energy News Network)

TRANSPORTATION:
• Berkeley, California is considering banning the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2027, but the city’s mayor and other officials don’t think the proposal is realistic. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• Minnesota automobile dealers and defiant Senate Republicans are building opposition against the state’s plan to adopt a zero-emission vehicle mandate. (Star Tribune)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Apple is reportedly set to agree to a partnership deal for autonomous electric cars by March and begin production around 2024, according to a South Korea media report. (Reuters)
• California-based electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors is reportedly in talks to go public. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY:
• An Alaska-based conservation biologist says the The Trump administration’s rush to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a humiliating act of desperation. (Anchorage Press)
• Enbridge is “hell-bent on jamming through their Line 3” pipeline under small northern Minnesota towns and the homeland of the Anishinaabe, writes author and activist Winona LaDuke. (The Nation)

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