Morning Consult Energy: Study Recommends Puerto Rico Use Small-Scale Solar Projects to Meet Clean Energy Goals
 

Energy

Essential energy industry news & intel to start your day.
January 24, 2023
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Today’s Top News

  • Puerto Rico should rely on solar panels on all capable rooftops, airports, brownfields and industrial areas in order to reach its clean-energy goals of using 60% renewable energy by 2040, as the island does not have enough space for large-scale solar farms or wind generators, according to a preliminary study from the Department of Energy and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The study also found that smaller, spread-out renewable energy resources tend to recover more quickly from hurricanes than the island’s current power system, which is 97% based on fossil fuel generation. (The Associated Press)
  • Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters that President Joe Biden would veto legislation that would require the federal government to draft up a plan for increasing the percentage of federal lands being leased for oil and gas production in order to draw any oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a message that comes as House Republicans are expected to consider the bill this week. (The Hill)
  • Tesla Inc. Chief Executive Elon Musk testified in federal court that he could have sold shares of SpaceX to secure enough funding to take Tesla private in 2018 — a deal that never materialized — as the executive faces a certified class-action lawsuit in San Francisco. Shareholders allege that Musk’s 2018 tweets, where he claimed he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private, were reckless and false and ended up costing them significant amounts of money when trading in the company was temporarily halted and impacted share prices for weeks. (CNBC)

 

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What Else You Need to Know

Politics and Policy
 

Big winners from Biden’s climate law: Republicans who voted against it

Kelsey Tamborrino and Josh Siegal, Politico

GOP lawmakers voted en masse against Biden’s signature bill. But roughly two-thirds of green-energy projects announced since it became law are going to Republican-held congressional districts, a POLITICO analysis found.

 

Republicans insist they have a climate plan

Emma Dumain, E&E News

House Republicans say they have a climate plan, even if they aren’t officially using the word “climate” to describe it.

 

How the White House found EJ areas without using race

Thomas Frank, E&E News

The White House was widely criticized a year ago for not using racial demographics to identify disadvantaged communities that would be targeted for extra climate aid.

 

Environmental advocates express frustration over Biden regulation delays 

Rachel Frazin, The Hill

Environmental advocates, generally strong supporters of the Biden administration, are expressing frustration at what they describe as too-lengthy delays for important regulations.  

 

White House Uses GOP Oil Bills to Go on Gasoline-Price Offensive

Ari Natter and Jennifer Jacobs, Bloomberg

US gasoline prices are back on the agenda in Washington as both political parties go on the offensive. And this time it’s Democrats using them as a cudgel against Republicans.

 

Depleted Under Trump, a ‘Traumatized’ E.P.A. Struggles With Its Mission

Lisa Friedman, The New York Times

Despite an injection of funding, the agency still has not recovered from an exodus of scientists and policy experts, both insiders and critics say.

 

How Biden’s incoming top aide tried to overhaul government

Robin Bravender, E&E News

If Jeff Zients had gotten his way, the federal government would look very different by now.

 

US touts Biden green subsidies to lure clean tech from Europe

Amanda Chu et al., Financial Times

States including Michigan and Georgia on recruiting drive amid complaints from EU officials.

 

Bill advances in New Mexico to gird against climate crises

The Associated Press

A legislative panel advanced a bill Monday that would help local governments plan in advance for climate-related threats to public health such as wildfires, flooding, extreme heat and rapid erosion.

 

Florida CFO Bans More State Pension Funds From Investing in ESG

Felipe Marques, Bloomberg

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis blocked asset managers from investing a $5.1 billion state pension pool in sustainable funds, the latest escalation in his fight against ESG.

 

CFTC Chief Sees Bigger Role in Policing Voluntary Carbon Markets

Isis Almeida and Lydia Beyoud, Bloomberg

The top US derivatives regulator is eyeing a bigger role in policing voluntary carbon markets.

 

EPA considers tougher regulation of livestock farm pollution

John Flesher, The Associated Press

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will study whether to toughen regulation of large livestock farms that release manure and other pollutants into waterways.

 
Climate and Enviroment
 

What 5,000-year-old skeletons tell us about living with climate change

Kate Yoder, Grist

Collapse isn’t inevitable. New research shows that nimble, cooperative societies adapted best to rapid shifts.

 

South Dakota tribe: Storm deaths ‘could have been prevented’

Heather Hollingsworth, The Associated Press

Honor Beauvais’ every breath was a battle as a snowstorm battered the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota.

 

Can cities eliminate heat-related deaths in a warming world? Phoenix is trying.

Emma Loewe, Grist

Phoenix hopes a new Office of Heat Response can move fast enough to counter the impacts of deadly heat.

 
Renewables and Nuclear
 

Supply chain to support Biden’s offshore wind goals will cost at least $22.4B: report

Sharon Udasin, The Hill

Fulfilling President Biden’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030 would require the rapid scale-up of a domestic supply chain and at least $22.4 billion in infrastructure investments, a new report has found.

 

DOE launches $10M prize to increase community solar in underserved communities

Diana DiGangi, Utility Dive

The agency’s goal is to enhance a “robust ecosystem” of community solar developers by funding up to 25 winners.

 

Biden’s Green Subsidies Are Attracting Billions of Dollars to Red States

Phred Dvorak, The Wall Street Journal

GOP-leaning states, many with ample sun, wind and available land, are luring clean-energy projects boosted by legislation their representatives opposed.

 
Fossil Fuels
 

US to Boost Pressure on China to Stop Importing Iran Oil, Envoy Says

Grant Smith et al., Bloomberg

The US said it will increase pressure on China to stop buying Iranian oil, as the White House seeks to enforce sanctions aimed at curbing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear activities.

 

Freeport LNG says Texas plant repairs completed, seeks to restart some operations

Scott Disavino, Reuters

Freeport LNG, the second-largest U.S. liquefied natural gas exporter, on Monday said it had completed repairs to its Texas plant and asked U.S. regulators for permission to take early steps to restart the fire-idled facility.

 

Texas Oil Industry Paid Record $24.7 Billion in Taxes Last Year

Mitchell Ferman, Bloomberg

The Texas oil and natural gas industry paid a record $24.7 billion in taxes and royalties last year, far exceeding the previous annual high of $16 billion set in 2019, according to the Texas Oil and Gas Association.

 

We’ll need natural gas for years — but can start blending it with green hydrogen today, CEO says

Anmar Frangoul, CNBC

From the United States to the European Union, major economies around the world are laying out plans to move away from fossil fuels in favor of low and zero-carbon technologies.

 
Transportation and Alternative Fuels
 

Tesla Is Still Wall Street’s Favorite Car Company

Akane Otani, The Wall Street Journal

Nearly two-thirds of analysts are bullish on Tesla, the highest share since 2014.

 

Revealed: how US transition to electric cars threatens environmental havoc

Nina Lakhani, The Guardian

By 2050 electric vehicles could require huge amounts of lithium for their batteries, causing damaging expansions of mining.

 

Rivian’s Chief Lobbyist Is Leaving the EV Startup

Sean McLain, The Wall Street Journal

Jim Chen is set to be the latest in a string of executives to leave the company.

 

Renters need EV charging at home. These companies aim to provide it

Jeff St. John, Canary Media

Neither tenants nor landlords want to pay for EV chargers. Maybe third-party infrastructure finance can solve the conundrum.

 
Electricity/Utilities/Infrastructure
 

3 big advances coming as distributed energy resources take newer, bigger roles in 2023

Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

System and customer needs for reliability and resilience are revealing new value and opportunity for DER.

 

A California town’s wastewater is helping it battle drought

Naoki Nitta, Grist

Healdsburg recycles 350 million gallons of effluent annually and gives it away for free.

 
Land and Resources
 

Forest-saving plan takes a violent turn in Georgia

Marc Heller, E&E News

A long-brewing plan to save 3,500 acres of forest outside Atlanta has suddenly become entangled in the national debate over police conduct after an environmental activist was killed on part of the property that’s been selected for a police training center.

 
General
 

Bank funding for renewables stagnates vs oil and gas – report

Reuters

The share of bank finance going to renewable energy rather than fossil fuels has little changed in six years, raising questions about how fast lenders are pushing energy clients to become greener, according to research published Tuesday.

 

Feds deny emergency call to slow ships, ease whale strikes

Patrick Whittle, The Associated Press

The U.S. government has denied a request from a group of environmental organizations to immediately apply proposed ship-speed restrictions in an effort to save a vanishing species of whale.

 

Months After Hurricane Ian Hit Florida, Many in Fort Myers Are Living in Tents

Deborah Acosta, The Wall Street Journal

People in Fort Myers, Fla., are scrambling to find a place to live after Hurricane Ian ravaged the area in September, compelling some residents to camp in places where their homes once stood.