Energy

Essential energy industry news & intel to start your day.
April 13, 2021
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Top Stories

  • The executives of more than 300 corporations have written to President Joe Biden, pushing the administration to nearly double the country’s Paris Agreement goal for cutting carbon dioxide, methane and other emissions, to at least 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. With the letter, the business — including Google, McDonald’s Corp. and Walmart Inc. — have roughly aligned themselves with the goals of most major environmental groups, and the target is also in the range of what Biden is considering announcing during his virtual summit next week, according to two administration officials familiar with the deliberations. (The New York Times)
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has named Peter Lake, current chair of the Texas Water Development Board, as the new chair of the Texas Public Utility Commission, pending state Senate confirmation. All three of the PUC’s members resigned in recent months after a deadly storm caused a statewide energy crisis in February. (The Texas Tribune)
  • New York state’s pension fund — among the largest in the country, valued at about $248 billion —  will divest more than $7 million in securities from six Canadian oil sands companies and will not make any further investments in them. Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the companies have not shown they are prepared for the energy transition, a decision that comes mere months after the fund set a 2040 target for pivoting its investments to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. (Reuters)
 

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Events Calendar (All Times Local)

Tuesday, April 13
AFPM 2021 Annual Meeting Read More
UT Austin Energy Week 2021: Energy Transition: Agents of Change, Changing Agents Read More
S&P Global Platts 36th Annual Global Power Markets Virtual Conference Read More
Bloomberg BNEF Summit Read More
MIT Energy Initiative webinar: Energy @MIT Read More 10:00 am
U.S. Institute of Peace event: The Nexus of Climate Change, Fragility, and Peacebuilding Read More 10:00 am
RMI event: Decarbonizing America’s Buildings: Preparing for a Carbon Neutral Future Read More 10:00 am
Republicans of the House Energy and Commerce Committee event: President Biden’s Cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline and American Jobs Read More 4:30 pm
Wednesday, April 14
The Hill virtual event: The Sustainability Imperative Read More
UT Austin Energy Week 2021: Energy Transition: Agents of Change, Changing Agents Read More
S&P Global Platts 36th Annual Global Power Markets Virtual Conference Read More
Bloomberg BNEF Summit Read More
Green Building seminar series: Getting Ready for the new Building Energy Performance Standards Read More
Atlantic Council event: Securing the cybersecurity of energy networks on the maritime edge Read More 10:00 am
SEIA and NREL event: Solar TRACE and SolarAPP+ Roundtable Read More 1:00 pm
ICF event: A utility-regulator discussion on the future of the industry Read More 1:00 pm
USEA event: Unlocking CCUS Commercialization for Success Read More 1:30 pm
Smart Electric Power Alliance event: Utility Transformation Challenge Read More 4:00 pm
 
View Full Calendar
 
 

What Else You Need to Know

General
 

European CEOs, lawmakers add to pressure on Biden to hike climate target

Kate Abnett, Reuters

European politicians, companies and trade unions on Tuesday called on the United States to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% this decade, adding to mounting pressure on the Biden administration ahead of a climate summit next week.

 

EPA Watchdog to Probe Alleged Retaliation Against Scientists

Stephen Lee, Bloomberg Law

The EPA’s internal watchdog will examine allegations that managers under previous administrations retaliated against scientists, officials said during an internal staff meeting on Monday.

 

Biden’s SEC Faces Uphill Battle to Form ESG Reporting Body

Andrew Ramonas et al., Bloomberg Law

The Securities and Exchange Commission is poised for a fight with Republicans and business interests as it looks to develop uniform rules for how public companies report environmental, social, and governance matters to investors.

 

Nixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role 

Rachel Frazin, The Hill

An official who President Biden originally wanted to nominate to be the second-in-command at the Interior Department has found a new political position in the agency after reported opposition from swing-vote senators. 

 

House GOP’s planned environmental bills drop Democratic priorities

Zack Budryk, The Hill

Congressional Republicans are set to unveil environmental legislation in the coming weeks that eschews the Biden administration’s focus on energy and carbon emissions in favor of reducing U.S. dependence on so-called critical minerals and an initiative to plant 1 trillion trees worldwide.

 
Climate Change and Emissions
 

Lobbying for good? New campaign asks Big Tech to push for bold climate action

Maddie Stone, Grist

The top five U.S. tech firms devote very few resources to lobbying for climate policy, but a new employee-driven campaign could change that.

 

‘I’m hopeful’: Jerome Foster, the 18-year-old helping to craft US climate policy

Oliver Milman, The Guardian

The New York teenager has been included among a group of advisers to the president – a remarkable journey from protesting in front of the White House.

 

The Moms Who Are Battling Climate Change

Lizzie Widdicombe, The New Yorker

A new initiative seeks to tap into mothers’ concern for the world their children are inheriting.

 
Renewables and Storage
 

Secrecy and Abuse Claims Haunt China’s Solar Factories in Xinjiang

Dan Murtaugh et al., Bloomberg

The world’s green power surge depends on polysilicon made in China’s remote Northwest. No one really knows what’s going on inside the facilities.

 

The battle over net metering 3.0 in California: Energy equity and the future of rooftop solar

Jeff St. John, Canary Media

Utilities and solar groups are fighting over the cost shift. But both agree the next stage in policy must bring low-income customers and fundamental grid needs into balance.

 
Oil, Gas and Alternative Fuels
 

U.S. Oil Output Nears Levels Not Seen Since Pandemic’s Start

Sheela Tobben, Bloomberg

The Permian Basin, the U.S.’s most prolific shale patch, will produce crude oil at levels not seen since the start of the pandemic in the latest sign the global economy is heating back up.

 

Joe Biden’s oil clean-up plan slammed as bailout for fossil fuels

Myles McCormick, Financial Times

Critics say the $16bn provision in the infrastructure package spurs drillers to shirk obligations.

 

Texas has a cautionary tale for Biden’s infrastructure plan

Tim McDonnell, Quartz

Orphaned wells are poised to overwhelm the US. Millions of oil and gas wells have been abandoned by drilling companies around the country. More are expected as bankruptcy or dwindling oil supplies leave companies unable to pay for their clean up.

 

Giant Copper Mines Start to Get Serious About Green Hydrogen

James Attwood, Bloomberg

All the talk about how green hydrogen will help heavy industries kick their fossil fuel habit is starting to turn into action in the biggest copper-producing nation.

 

TC Energy requests info on renewable energy proposals for its U.S. pipelines

Nia Williams, Reuters

Canada’s TC Energy on Monday requested information from around 100 renewable development companies to identify wind energy investment opportunities that would generate 620 megawatts of electricity for its U.S. pipeline business.

 
Transportation
 

The Case For a Transit-First Infrastructure Plan

Simon Berrebi, Bloomberg CityLab

President Biden’s $2 trillion jobs plan would double the federal contribution to public transit. But to fight climate change and broaden access to opportunity, that won’t be enough.

 
Electricity, Utilities and Infrastructure
 

Transmission strategy takes shape as Congress, FERC press ahead with reforms

Zack Hale, S&P Global Market Intelligence

A package of far-reaching reforms to expand the nation’s high-voltage electric transmission system is coming into focus as congressional Democrats begin drafting legislation in line with U.S. President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure vision.

 
Environment, Land and Resources
 

California Approves More Than $500 Million for Wildfire Efforts

Emily C. Dooley, Bloomberg Environment

California legislators Monday approved more than $500 million for wildfire resiliency projects to try to avoid a repeat of more than 4.2 million acres burned in the 2020 season, the most destructive in state history.

 

Black marks for aluminium as mining remains behind on climate goals

Camilla Hodgson, Financial Times

None of the world’s most carbon-intensive sectors are doing enough to meet 2050 targets, a report finds.

 

How computer mapping could help Biden find and fix polluted neighborhoods

Valerie Volcovici, Reuters

Diagnosed with asthma at 8 years old, Karlaine Francisco grew up thinking everyone had it.

 

Endangered US rivers at grave risk from dams, mining and global heating

Nina Lakhani, The Guardian

Dams, mining, factory farms and global heating are among the gravest threats facing America’s endangered rivers, according to a new report.

 

Airborne plastic pollution ‘spiralling around the globe’, study finds

Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Microplastic pollution is now “spiralling around the globe”, according to a study of airborne plastic particles.

 

The hottest number in conservation is rooted more in politics than science

Benji Jones, Vox

The goal to protect 30 percent of the Earth is more arbitrary than you might think.

 
Coal/Nuclear
 

U.S. Friends Join China in Ripping Japan Plan on Fukushima Water

Aaron Clark, Bloomberg

U.S. partners South Korea and Taiwan joined China in opposing Japan’s plan to release radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean starting in about two years.

 

How hybrids fit into that conversation… is it easier for car companies to start by leaning into that as opposed to EVs? 

Yuka Obayashi and Aaron Sheldrick, Reuters

Japan plans to release into the sea more than 1 million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear station, the government said on Tuesday, a decision that is likely to anger neighbours such as South Korea.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

The Green New Deal, in Disguise

The Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal

Biden’s ‘infrastructure’ bill is really a plan to remake the economy.

 

We Need an Infrastructure Package for Nature

Paul Greenberg and Carl Safina, The New York Times

The long-term needs of ecosystems should come before our knee-jerk demands to get back to life.

 

Sea levels are going to rise by at least 20ft. We can do something about it

Harold R. Wanless, The Guardian

To avoid the grimmest outlook posed by warming oceans, we need to extract heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere.

 

A carbon registry leaves polluters with nowhere left to hide

Mark Campanale, Financial Times

Fossil-fuel producers’ lack of transparency is hampering our chances of halting global warming.

 






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