Morning Consult Energy: Nevada Governor Signs Bill to Raise Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030

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  • Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed legislation to require the state to increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard gradually to 50 percent by 2030, double from the current level. The bill’s enactment comes two years after Sisolak’s predecessor, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) vetoed a bill that would have raised the RPS to 40 percent by 2030.  (The Nevada Independent)
  • Exxon Mobil Corp. announced a 20-year agreement to provide China’s Zhejiang Energy with 1 million metric tons of liquefied natural gas annually. The agreement, which comes after a framework deal announced in October, includes no specifics on price, timing or sourcing, though Exxon said last year it would begin deliveries in the early 2020s to China from its global portfolio. (Reuters)
  • Public Service Co. of New Mexico, the state’s largest electric utility, announced a target for emissions-free generation by as soon as 2040 — a goal it said is the first such target for an investor-owned utility. The utility’s announcement follows New Mexico’s recent passage of legislation requiring investor-owned utilities and cooperatives to source at least half of their electricity from renewables by 2030, increasing to 80 percent by 2040. (The Associated Press)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

NextEra Energy Inc. and NextEra Energy Partners LP Conference Call
Nuclear Regulatory Commission Strategic Programmatic Overview of the Fuel Facilities and the Nuclear Materials Users Business Lines 10:00 am
Columbia University Event: Women in Energy and Development: A Practitioner’s View 6:00 pm
Electric Power Conference and Exhibition
North American Carbon World
Utility Energy Forum
The National Capital Area Chapter of the United States Association for Energy Economics Annual Spring Conference 8:00 am
POLITICO Event on Disaster Relief in an Era of Extreme Weather 8:00 am
SEIA Codes & Standards Symposium 8:30 am
DTE Energy Company Earnings Conference Call 9:00 am
FirstEnergy Corp. earnings release 10:00 am
U.S. Energy Association and SPE International joint briefing on energy sustainability: the pride of the oil and gas industry 11:30 am
Environmental and Energy Study Institute Event on Hydropower: A New Look at Opportunities for America’s First Renewable Energy Resource 2:00 pm
Tesla Inc. earnings webcast 2:30 pm
University of Chicago Panel on Lower Emissions, Competitive Prices: Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver? 5:30 pm
North American Carbon World
California Solar Power Expo
Utility Energy Forum
Xcel Energy earnings conference call 9:00 am
Valero Energy Corp. earnings call 10:00 am
Wilson Center Event on Ambitions Beyond Growth: Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the UN 10:00 am
Information Technology & Innovation Foundation Event on the End of the Road for Gas Taxes: The Case for Switching to Road User Charges 10:00 am
Nuclear Regulatory Commission open house on the Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant Performance and Construction Inspection of New Units 6:00 pm
North American Carbon World
California Solar Power Expo
Utility Energy Forum
Exxon Mobil Corp. earnings conference call 8:30 am
Chevron Corp. earnings conference call 11:00 am
Global CCS Institute, Carbon Capture Coalition and Carbon Utilization Research Council Carbon Capture 101 Briefing 11:30 am
American Gas Association Natural Gas Roundtable Panel Discussion on the Resilience and Reliability of Natural Gas 12:00 pm
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Annual Member Meeting
Milken Institute Global Policy Conference
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Annual Member Meeting
Milken Institute Global Policy Conference
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Annual Member Meeting
Environmental and Energy Study Institute Event: What Can Congress Do to Build Better Buildings 2:00 pm
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Environmental Review and Compliance for Natural Gas Facilities Seminar
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Annual Member Meeting
California Renewable Energy Procurement Summit
Illinois Energy Market Summit
2019 State Energy Conference of North Carolina
Energy Department Wind Energy Technologies Office 2019 Project Peer Review 8:00 am
U.S. Energy Association briefing on microgrids for enhanced grid reliability and resilience 10:00 am
House Environment Subcommittee hearing on the NOAA FY2020 budget request 10:00 am
FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee speaks at American Council for Capital Formation event on the 2019 FERC Agenda 12:15 pm
House Research and Technology Subcommittee hearing on emerging technologies in plastics recycling 2:00 pm
Northeast-Midwest Institute and the Asian Carp Regional Coordination Committee congressional briefing on Asian carp mitigation in the Great Lakes region 3:00 pm
View full calendar

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Dem senators launch Environmental Justice Caucus
Michael Burke, The Hill

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) made the announcement on Earth Day and said the caucus will work to raise awareness of environmental issues that have impacted low-income communities and people of color.

Oil hits highest since November as U.S. to tighten Iran sanctions
Noah Browning, Reuters

Oil prices hit their highest since November on Tuesday after Washington announced all waivers on imports of sanctions-hit Iranian oil would end next week, pressuring importers to stop buying from Tehran and further tightening global supply.

Oil and Natural Gas

A threat in Trump’s back pocket: Shaking up the global oil industry
Eli Okun, Politico

His administration’s Monday announcement on ending sanctions waivers for buying Iranian oil risks pushing prices higher and could rev up congressional calls to push OPEC harder. Now Trump’s saber-rattling on OPEC has oil producers and traders unnerved by the prospect he could back cartel-busting legislation that sends prices into a tailspin.

Halliburton sees signs of price recovery, shares dip
Debroop Roy and Arathy S. Nair, Reuters

Better-than-expected revenue in North America, along with the company’s claim that prices were bottoming out, initially drove shares in the oilfield services giant almost 5 percent higher after it published first quarter results.

FERC chair ‘optimistic’ on climate compromises for new LNG projects
Marissa Luck, Houston Chronicle

In an interview Friday, FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said he is optimistic that the commission has developed a strategy for reaching a compromise on how to account for climate change when evaluating new projects.

China’s Sinopec resumes U.S. oil imports after six-month halt: sources
Florence Tan, Reuters

Asia’s largest refiner Sinopec is set to receive its first U.S. crude oil cargo this week since halting imports from the country in September, two sources with knowledge of the matter said on Tuesday.

Saudi ability to blunt Iran sanctions impact complicated by output cut talks, disruptions: analysts
Brian Scheid, S&P Global Platts

The expected oil supply impact of a slashing of Iranian oil exports to zero would be largely countered by increased production from Saudi Arabia, the Trump administration indicated Monday, but analysts said global output cooperation would be more challenging.

China complains to U.S. over end to Iran oil sanction waivers
Martin Pollard et al., Reuters

China’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it has formally complained to the United States over its decision to end waivers on sanctions on Iranian oil imports, adding another fault line to already complicated Beijing-Washington ties.

Iraq to still depend on Iranian gas, power despite end to oil waivers: ministry
Staff, S&P Global Platts

While the Trump Administration announced on Monday would end sanctions waivers for buyers of Iranian crude, Iraq’s Electricity Ministry is set to increase natural gas imports from its neighbor to meet the extreme summer demand.

Utilities and Infrastructure

PG&E Shuffles Board to End Investor Challenge
Katherine Blunt, The Wall Street Journal

PG&E Corp. on Monday settled a dispute with an activist investor by restructuring its board to include another director with utility experience, and adding a safety specialist to advise its chief executive.

Utilities, charger vendors find interconnection best practices to propel EV growth
Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Gasoline-fueled vehicles would not get far without easy-to-access gas stations and, for the same reason, electric vehicles (EV) will need easy-to-access charging stations for the U.S to transform its transportation system.


Sempra wraps up sale of wind power assets
Rob Nikolewski, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Sempra Energy completed the sale of wind farms and assets in seven different states Monday to a power company in the Midwest for $584 million, which represents the last chunk of a series of sales that will net the San Diego-based Fortune 500 company about $2.5 billion.

Republicans trump Evers’ charging station plan
Todd Richmond, The Associated Press

Assembly Republicans worked Monday to trump Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to spend $10 million on electric vehicle charging stations in the state budget, announcing their own bill to set up the stations. Republicans and Evers have been stealing each other’s ideas for months in a battle to rob the other side of headlines and campaign talking points.

Electric vehicle study sees opportunity for utilities
Paul Lienert, Reuters

Increasing demand for electric vehicles in the United States over the next decade will create revenue opportunities for electric utilities that invest in greater grid capacity and offer EV charging and related services, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Elon Musk Predicts Tesla Driverless Taxi Fleet Next Year
Neal E. Boudette, The New York Times

On Monday, Mr. Musk said the company was on the cusp of making cars that could drive themselves safely on any road.


Scott Pruitt’s mission: Keep Ind. coal-fired power alive
Timothy Cama, E&E News

It’s a return to form for Pruitt, who spent much of his nearly 17 months at EPA railing against Obama administration policies that he characterized as a “war on coal.” He resigned in July 2018 under the cloud of accusations that he violated ethical conflict-of-interest standards and improperly used his office for personal gain.

Indiana chamber rejects ex-EPA chief Pruitt effort to keep coal-fired plants online
Valerie Volcovici, Reuters

The leading business lobby group in Indiana on Monday rejected a plea from former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt to back legislation that would keep aging coal-fired power plants online because it would raise electricity rates for local businesses and homeowners.


Amid bailout talk, Gov. Mike DeWine signals support for nuclear energy
Andrew J. Tobias, Cleveland.com

Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday that nuclear energy needs to play a role in the state’s energy policy — significant comments given state lawmakers’ ongoing debate over whether to impose an extra fee on all Ohio electricity customers to financially rescue two financially troubled nuclear plants.


Cap and trade migrates south
Benjamin Storrow, E&E News

Virginia regulators voted 5-2 Friday to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade regime covering the power sector in nine East Coast states. The only step remaining: a decision from Gov. Ralph Northam (D).

Bloomberg donates $5.5 million to fill in Paris agreement gap
Miranda Green, The Hill

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will donate $5.5 million to the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, the second year in a row he has provided funding to make up for lapsed commitments under the Trump administration.

Global Wealth Gap Would Be Smaller Today Without Climate Change, Study Finds
Somini Sengupta, The New York Times

Global temperatures have risen nearly 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, since the start of the industrial age, and the study was aimed at quantifying what effect that increase has had on national economies and the global wealth gap.

NHL to purchase carbon offsets to counter playoff travel
Zack Budryk, The Hill

The NHL will purchase offsets for all four rounds of the postseason, the equivalent of roughly 2,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, according to the league.

This Is Why These States Aren’t So Chill About What’s Inside Air Conditioners
Alayna Alvarez, Stateline

As summer scorchers draw closer, more Americans will be cranking up their air conditioners, desperate for swaths of cool air. But the comfort comes with an environmental cost — one a growing number of states are trying to reduce by phasing out the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives

Fighting climate change requires political collaboration and immediate action
John Kerry and Ernest Moniz, USA Today

We need to unite America’s “grassroots” with its “grasstops” — to awaken a broad climate change voting majority that not only includes young people with passion, but businesses, the military, labor, farmers, energy providers, and subject matter experts alike.

How nuclear plants are gaming climate-change rules
Travis Kavulla, Politico

For the past several years, I’ve been researching clean-energy regulations at the state level, and a troubling pattern has begun to emerge: In numerous states, companies with large investments in nuclear energy — including Exelon, First Energy, Dominion and PSEG — have lobbied states to reconfigure their clean-power incentives to subsidize existing nuclear plants, rather than the emergent technologies that the laws were intended for.

Research Reports

State Air Trends & Successes
The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies

Next year, the United States will celebrate a major environmental milestone: 50 years since the establishment of the Clean Air Act amendments of 1970. This milestone will be laudable not simply due to the passage of five decades, but because of the remarkable improvements in air quality that have been achieved over that time.

Do Renewable Portfolio Standards Deliver?
Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago

The estimated reduction in carbon emissions is imprecise, but, together with the price results, indicates that the cost per metric ton of CO2 abated exceeds $130 in all specifications and ranges up to $460, making it least several times larger than conventional estimates of the social cost of carbon.