U.S. Energy News

Spending bill won’t extend tax credits for solar, EVs

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POLICY: Renewable energy groups are dismayed that a U.S. spending bill that passed the House Tuesday does not extend solar tax credits and extends wind credits for just a year. (Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• The spending bill also does not extend a $7,500 tax credit for electric vehicles that General Motors and Tesla had sought. (Reuters)
• The year-end tax deal struck this week in Congress would benefit rural electric cooperatives and maintain a fee paid on coal production to cover health care costs for miners. (E&E News, subscription)

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TRANSPORTATION: A coalition of Northeast and mid-Atlantic states releases a draft plan for an ambitious cap-and-trade program aimed at curbing tailpipe emissions from cars, trucks and other forms of transportation. (New York Times)

CLIMATE:
• As global climate negotiations faltered in Madrid, major financial institutions back off from financing some fossil fuel projects. (The Atlantic)
• Major fossil fuel companies continue providing financial support for groups that regularly attack climate scientists. (Huffington Post)
• Art museums around the world are working to protect their collections from climate-related disasters, efforts whose funding is often closely linked to fossil fuel companies. (Grist) 

EFFICIENCY:
• A Virginia nonprofit distributes tiny model homes that help educate about the benefits of energy efficiency. (Energy News Network)
A new study says wider use of heat pumps for heating and cooling homes and buildings could sharply reduce emissions, but the solution receives little policy support and is poorly understood by consumers. (E&E News, subscription)

PUBLIC LANDS: U.S. House Democrats unveil a bill aiming to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from public lands by 2040, including halting fossil fuel production for at least one year. (Vox, The Hill)

EQUITY: Researchers find time-of-use rates that charge more for electricity during peak times can disproportionately harm vulnerable groups. (Scientific American)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A global partnership between suppliers and automakers seeks to bring transparency to the origins of the raw materials used in electric vehicles. (Detroit News)
Eight western governors sign a memorandum of understanding to voluntarily enhance the region’s electric vehicle infrastructure. (Colorado Politics)

SOLAR:
Minnesota recently became the first state to adopt new interconnection standards that solar installers say will make it easier to connect projects to the grid. (Energy News Network)
Tesla appears to be keeping its solar power work under wraps by putting “canopy covers” over its solar roof test structures in California. (CNBC)

WIND: General Electric sells its stake in an 812 MW portfolio of wind projects. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES: Texas’ rapidly growing renewable portfolio is raising concerns among energy experts about grid reliability. (E&E News, subscription)

COAL:
Robert Murray, former CEO of now-bankrupt Murray Energy, gave himself and other executives millions in bonuses and earmarked $1 million for climate change denial groups, according to court filings. (New York Times)
Environmental groups urge a judge in Blackjewel’s bankruptcy case to prioritize environmental cleanup, citing more than 400 violations at the company’s mines and raising questions about reclamation costs. (Ohio Valley Resource)

OIL & GAS: Environmentalists and the natural gas industry issue contrasting accounts about the impact of burning off excess natural gas in the Permian Basin and other U.S. shale plays. (Houston Chronicle)

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UTILITIES: PG&E agrees to a $1.7 billion settlement with California regulators for deadly and destructive wildfires caused by the utility’s equipment. Separately, a bankruptcy judge approved two settlements totalling $24.5 billion for PG&E wildfire victims and insurance companies. (New York Times, NPR)

COMMENTARY:
• Vox’s David Roberts says presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg “could help shift the national landscape” if he brings the same discipline and credibility to the anti-natural gas movement that he did for coal.
• There is mounting evidence that the Green New Deal and related policies would have a net positive effect on jobs, writes a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Public Policy. (Scientific American)
• A research analyst says after cost declines in the 2010s, the solar industry is poised to improve technology to enhance long-term performance. (Greentech Media)

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