U.S. Energy News

Utility regulators on the ballot in 10 states

OVERSIGHT: Voters in 10 states are casting ballots for electric utility regulators who could play a critical role in deciding their state’s energy futures. (E&E News)

ALSO: Democrats are looking at U.S. EPA veterans and West Coast state regulators as candidates to lead the agency under a Joe Biden presidency. (HuffPost)

CLIMATE: Ruth Reck, the scientist who tried to warn General Motors executives about climate change in the 1970s, faced sexism and gender bias throughout her career, a common experience for women in the field. (E&E News)

GRID:
• Grid operators and federal regulators still need to work out several thorny issues before opening power markets to distributed energy. (Greentech Media)
• Maine officials and renewable developers say more transmission capacity will be needed to meet the state’s clean energy goals. (Energy News Network)
• Underground superconducting power cables being installed by ComEd in Chicago will test a new approach to grid resiliency. (E&E News, subscription)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• A study by a power producers trade group says states in the PJM Interconnection could save billions of dollars by taking a regional approach to clean energy development. (S&P Global)
• An analysis by S&P Global says the annual rate of U.S. solar deployment could nearly double under a Joe Biden presidential administration. (Utility Dive)

OIL & GAS:
• A Louisiana ballot measure could exempt oil and gas projects from property taxes forever in return for smaller up-front payments. (Drilled News)
• North Dakota redirects $16 million in pandemic relief funds from cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells to drilling new ones instead. (InsideClimate News)
• A federal court ruled last week that the Bureau of Land Management did not adequately consider how leasing Western public land to oil and gas companies could impact climate change. (Casper Star-Tribune)

COAL:
• Arch Resources’ “systemic winding down” of thermal coal mining foreshadows an even steeper decline for the industry in Wyoming, a state that still lacks a coordinated plan to help communities adapt. (WyoFile)
• University of North Dakota researchers are studying the potential for extracting and processing rare earth elements from lignite coal, potentially buoying the state’s lignite mining industry. (Prairie Public News)

TRANSPORTATION:
• Fiat Chrysler plans to launch an electric version of its Ram pickup truck, adding to an increasingly competitive market. (Detroit Free Press)
• Joe Biden has said he wants to phase out gasoline-powered cars but has stopped short of setting a date to end their sale. (E&E News)

WIND:
• Grid operator Southwest Power Pool says it expects wind to be its biggest electricity generator during the coming year. (Arkansas Business)
• MidAmerican Energy is working with wind turbine maker Vestas to determine the root cause of four broken blades over the past year. (Utility Dive)
• Orsted is hoping that larger offshore wind turbines can help it reduce the impact of federal permitting delays. (Greentech Media)
• The wind industry has pumped $100,000 into a Kansas state senate race where the incumbent Republican has railed against wind energy. (E&E News, subscription)

SOLAR:
• Baltimore solar entrepreneur Kristal Hansley talks about her efforts to expand clean energy opportunities to Black communities. (Vogue)
• Americans’ fixation with “magic bullet” solutions has helped relegate solar hot water heaters to the sidelines in the United States, experts say. (Ensia)

EFFICIENCY: Connecticut’s weatherization goals may be limited by the need for costly remediation of mold and asbestos in many older properties, which is not covered under state efficiency incentives. (Energy News Network)

EQUITY: A New York official says the state is “putting equity at the center” of its climate plans. (Axios)

COMMENTARY:
• The cruel reality of millions of Americans facing utility shutoffs during a pandemic should be a rallying cry for justice, a Sierra Club leader writes. (The Hill)
• The oil industry is probably overestimating how much plastics will drive demand growth as the public wakes up to its costs, a writer says. (Vox)
• Federal stimulus funding for advanced energy would boost Michigan’s economy and generate a significant return on investment, an advanced energy industry group says. (Energy News Network)

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