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Institutions

Potential Split U.S. Government Puts Energy Policy in Agencies' Court

With major national election outcomes still in flux Wednesday morning, energy lobbyists and policy analysts were parsing the potential for divided government to dampen energy policy shifts, even if Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden ultimately prevailed.

Scott Segal, co-chairman of Bracewell's Policy Resolution Group, said in the vote tabulation trends continue, it seems most likely the Senate will remain in Republican hands. In that scenario, the ability to use the budget-reconciliation process or eliminate the filibuster is "effectively off the table," he said during the group's Nov. 4 webinar on the election outcome. Both steps have been discussed in the context of Democrats passing climate-related legislation.

Bracewell energy regulatory lawyer Christine Wyman said no matter who takes White House, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will play a bigger role in the nexus of energy and climate policy than it has played in the past.

Panelists Expect FERC Under Biden to Look Closely at Carbon Pricing, Pipelines

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could take further steps to accommodate carbon pricing in wholesale power markets and consider the environmental impacts of pipelines if Democrat Joe Biden wins the U.S. presidential race, panelists said during the S&P Global Platts Financing U.S. Power Virtual Conference.

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Demoted FERC Chair Sees Himself, Agency Playing Big Post-Election Role

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission member Neil Chatterjee defended his actions on clean energy and climate after President Donald Trump on Nov. 5 unexpectedly replaced him as chair of the independent agency.

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Policy

Companies Need to Push Congress Harder on Climate Legislation: Senator Whitehouse

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat – Rhode Island, said Nov. 13 that "good guy" corporations with climate change reduction strategies need to be more active in pressing federal lawmakers to enact carbon pricing, specifically calling out technology companies to do more, while industry experts addressed other carbon pricing challenges.

A prime example is that the lobbying and trade organization TECHNET, whose membership includes Silicon Valley companies such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, brought a 13-page priority list earlier this year to Congress that had no mention of climate change or renewable energy, Whitehouse said.

GOP Lawmakers Call Out FERC for Inaction on Grid Resilience, Seek Answers on Next Steps

A recent push by Republican US lawmakers urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to finally define grid resilience and take action to ensure coal's continued place in the energy mix is unlikely to spur any new policies this late in the game, a power industry observer said Nov. 23.

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Biden Presidency to Create 'Big Momentum' on Tackling Climate Change: IEA's Birol

The election of Joe Biden to the US presidency and his commitment to rejoining the Paris Agreement will create a "tremendous momentum" to fight climate change and will likely lead to a "big push" for technological innovation in the area, International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol said Nov. 25.

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Metals

Biden Victory Could be a Boon for Uranium, but Obstacles Remain

As president-elect of the world's biggest uranium consumer, observers believe Joe Biden could help bring about a proverbial sea change to the politics around nuclear power compared to his former boss Barack Obama, as bipartisan support appeared to grow for legislation aimed at bolstering the U.S. nuclear sector.

U.S. Coal Jobs Down 24% from the Start of Trump Administration to Latest Quarter

Despite a campaign promise to put coal miners back to work and support "beautiful clean coal," President Donald Trump is on track to leave the White House with the nation posting the lowest coal production and jobs figures in recent history.

"You watch what happens — if I win, we're going to bring those miners back," Trump said at a 2016 rally.

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Leadership

New Mexico's Haaland, Possible Interior Pick, Calls for More Clean Energy on U.S. Lands

US Representative Deb Haaland, Democrat-New Mexico, who reportedly is being considered for secretary of the Interior Department by President-elect Joe Biden, said there are too many extractive industries operating on federal lands and that leasing practices should be changed to encourage more clean energy activity.

Federal land policy will be "extremely critical" in the effort to mitigate climate change impacts in the next presidential administration, Haaland said in an webcast interview with Reuters during the virtual Energy Transition North America Conference.

"Renewable energy is the future of our world, it's the future of our country and we need bold action on climate change," Haaland said.

Danly Quietly Takes Reins at His First Open meeting as FERC Chairman

James Danly gaveled in his first meeting as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

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U.S. Senate Energy Panel Advances Paired FERC Nominees by Voice Vote

Two nominees to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission were reported out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by voice vote Nov. 18.

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Biden Taps Former Secretary of State John Kerry as International Climate Envoy

President-elect Joe Biden has selected former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as a presidential international envoy for climate change issues as the incoming administration seeks to reposition the U.S. as a leader in the fight against global warming.

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Energy Transition

Renewable Energy Groups See New Day Under Biden Administration

Eager to advance their agenda under supportive new leadership in Washington, renewable energy groups have released policy wish lists, confident that President-elect Joe Biden's administration can work with what could be a narrowly divided Congress to strengthen renewable energy tax credits, invest in new transmission and establish a national renewable energy portfolio standard.

While Democrats will retain control of the House, runoff elections for Georgia's two Senate seats will determine whether Kentucky Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell retains his position as majority leader.

U.S. ELECTIONS: SEIA Discusses 100-day Renewables Agenda for Biden, Congress

The US can address job creation, economic recovery, climate change, renewable energy deployment and COVID-19 relief by investing in a clean, affordable electricity system, the Solar Energy Industries Association said Nov. 17 about its 100-day agenda for President-elect Joe Biden and the newly elected Congress.

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Listen: California's Clean Car Ambitions Clear First Roadblock with Biden Win

Jennifer McIsaac, lead analyst of emissions and clean energy for Platts Analytics' Future Energy Outlook Service, on the market, policy and logistical challenges ahead. * John Boesel, president and CEO of CALSTART, a clean transportation nonprofit, about the results of a recent study showing that auto suppliers want policy makers to set strong standards in this area.

Listen to the Podcast