U.S. Energy News

Wind projects delayed by pandemic may get more time to claim tax credits

WIND: The Trump administration says it will make rule changes to allow wind farm owners more time to claim renewable energy tax credits for projects stalled by the pandemic. (Reuters)

ALSO: The head of American Electric Power expects a decision from Louisiana and Texas regulators soon on a major wind project. (Utility Dive)

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UTILITIES:
• California regulators hit PG&E with a record $1.9 billion penalty for failing to properly maintain power lines, which sparked some of the deadliest wildfires in the state’s history. (Bloomberg)
• A Minnesota utility will close a major coal plant in North Dakota several years early while adding storage and 1,100 MW of wind to its portfolio. (Star Tribune)
Duke Energy’s CEO defends the utility’s use of natural gas, saying the fuel is “under assault” and necessary to use alongside renewables. (WFAE)

GRID:
• A recent order limiting use of foreign-made electrical equipment could have a “chilling effect” and raise costs on smart grid devices, experts say. (Utility Dive)
On-peak power prices in April plunged by about one-third from the year before in PJM due to coronavirus shutdowns and cheap natural gas. (S&P Global)
Wind and solar are playing a larger role in grid operator MISO’s territory as energy demand shifts and declines due to COVID-19. (WBOI)

SOLAR:
• Solar manufacturer First Solar says it has not yet felt any major impacts from the pandemic but also pulled most guidance for 2020. (Greentech Media)
• The two main suppliers of residential solar inverters in the U.S. grew sales in the first quarter but warned investors of reduced demand. (Greentech Media)

STORAGE:
A Minnesota utility will pilot an “aqueous air” battery system, a long-duration storage technology that can discharge power for up to 150 hours in an effort to achieve baseload renewables. (Greentech Media)
• An analyst says that Southern California Edison’s plans to build most of its seven new storage projects next to existing solar arrays could demonstrate the potential of retrofitting solar projects that might otherwise be delivering low- or negative-priced solar to the grid. (InsideClimate News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Electric pick-up trucks and larger EV models could help usher in a new era for the industry. (New York Times)
• Tesla is planning to reopen a Bay Area assembly plant despite a county shutdown order remaining in effect. (Bloomberg)

OIL & GAS:
• Sen. Elizabeth Warren tells the Treasury Department that the oil and gas industry should not receive any pandemic relief funds. (The Hill)
Attorneys general from 10 states write to federal regulators requesting a moratorium on new natural gas infrastructure during the pandemic. (The Hill)
• A Louisiana Senate committee approves legislation that would kill lawsuits filed against oil companies by parish governments over the loss of coastal wetlands. (The Advocate)

COAL: Grid operator MISO finds 12% of the coal-fired power in its territory was dispatched uneconomically from 2017-2019. (Utility Dive)

TRANSMISSION: Maine’s supreme court affirms a state official’s decision to allow an anti-transmission referendum on the November ballot. (Bangor Daily News)

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GEOTHERMAL: California’s climate goal is stimulating the growth of geothermal power in the state. (New Republic)

COMMENTARY: The ousting of ExxonMobil’s former CEO from a prominent post on JPMorgan Chase’s board is a sign “Big Oil’s reign is finally weakening,” Bill McKibbon writes. (The New Yorker)

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