U.S. Energy News

States seek to block climate liability lawsuits

CLIMATE: As more local governments consider suing fossil fuel companies for climate damages, some states are considering outlawing such lawsuits. (Drilled)

ALSO:
The number of cities setting — and meeting — rigorous climate goals is growing, according to an international ranking released this week. (Bloomberg)
Tonight’s Democratic presidential debate will feature for the first time ever a climate journalist among the moderators. (Earther)
A candidate forum Sunday featured robust discussion of climate change and infrastructure but little support for raising the federal gas tax. (E&E News)

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SOLAR:
• Solar industry employment increased 2% nationally last year, with big gains in the South, an industry survey shows. (CNBC)
• An exploration of the impact of California’s law requiring rooftop solar on new homes finds division in its environmental community. (Sacramento Bee)

RENEWABLES: Under two Virginia bills, consumers would be allowed to buy renewable energy from competitive service suppliers instead of their utilities, even those that offer green tariff programs. (Energy News Network)

EFFICIENCY: The Trump administration has promoted a once-outspoken critic of renewable energy to become a deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency. (E&E News)

STORAGE:
• Power plant developers are moving quickly to take advantage of growing demand and falling costs for battery storage projects. (Greentech Media)
• An analyst says the disruption to lithium-ion battery production in China from coronavirus “is going to be a very big deal.” (Utility Dive)

NUCLEAR: President Trump’s nominee for Energy deputy secretary openly contradicts the president and says the administration is still trying to find a path to permanent nuclear waste storage at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. (Axios)

OIL & GAS:
• Texas regulators defend the state’s high rate of natural gas flaring while also naming the companies that burn off the most and least gas. (Reuters)
• A federal judge rules that parts of a South Carolina lawsuit seeking to block expanded offshore oil and gas exploration may proceed. (Reuters)

PIPELINES:
• The Sierra Club wants New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to force a state commission to redo a vote that allows a pipeline to be built through the Pinelands National Reserve. (Burlington County Times)
• Activists are rallying against a pipeline through three Brooklyn neighborhoods that would be paid for in a pending rate case before state regulators. (Gothamist)

GRID:
• State agencies and private research firms are only beginning to produce specific numbers about whether a carbon-free grid by midcentury is feasible. (E&E News)
A variety of stakeholders say there needs to be better communication between electric grid and natural gas pipeline operators. (Utility Dive)

COAL:
Morgan Stanley says Ameren and AEP are among the top utilities in the U.S. to benefit financially from retiring coal and investing in renewables. (S&P Global)
New England’s largest coal plant not slated to retire will stay open through May 2024 after successfully bidding into a regional power grid auction. (Concord Monitor)

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TECHNOLOGY: Google’s parent company is shutting down its power-generating kite firm Makani, which was developing airborne wind turbines that could be tethered to floating offshore buoys. (Los Angeles Times)

EQUITY: An author and journalist discusses how well-meaning environmentalists helped drive up housing costs, making the most climate-conscious cities also the least affordable. (Grist)

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