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Concerns grow over PG&E bankruptcy; US CO2 emissions rise in 2018

Q2: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Essential Energy Insights - September 17, 2020

Essential Energy Insights September 2020

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August


Concerns grow over PG&E bankruptcy; US CO2 emissions rise in 2018

Concerns grow as California braces for PG&E bankruptcy

In the wake of PG&E Corp.'s Jan. 14 disclosure that it and its utility subsidiary Pacific Gas and Electric Co., or PG&E, are preparing to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection related to billions of dollars of potential liabilities from devastating 2017 and 2018 wildfires in Northern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom, along with state lawmakers and regulators, vowed to keep the lights on while protecting ratepayers and fire victims.

Survey finds women account for 32% of global renewables workforce

Women hold about 32% of the jobs in the renewable energy industry globally, compared to 22% of the jobs in the oil and gas sector, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Court upholds Virginia-issued water permit for Atlantic Coast pipeline

A federal appeals court turned down an environmentalist challenge to a Clean Water Act permit issued by Virginia for the 1.5-Bcf/d Atlantic Coast pipeline project, which has faced a number of lawsuits over federal and state permits.

'Uncertain times': Calif. governor eyes wildfire, housing crises in 1st budget

Freshly sworn into office, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Jan. 10 pitched $209 billion for the state's 2019-2020 budget, a roughly $8 billion boost from former Gov. Jerry Brown's final budget. The proposal to state lawmakers, highlighted by more money for housing, education and wildfires, also features cuts for the state's cap-and-trade program, a key part of California's strategy to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Democrats scrutinize EPA's efforts to prep acting chief for confirmation hearing

Senate Democrats say they are "concerned" that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could be running afoul of both its contingency plan and federal law during the partial government shutdown by preparing Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler for his upcoming confirmation hearing. But the EPA's top lawyer says any activity being undertaken by agency personnel is on solid legal footing.

Companies adopting new climate disclosure framework see data gaps, other hurdles

Companies implementing a new international climate change reporting framework may find the heaviest lift involves crafting long-term scenario analyses of potential climate-related risks and opportunities, according to industry and climate disclosure experts.

US Congress adds new energy members, 'climate change' to House panel title

As the new U.S. Congress moved through its second week, party leaders made headway filling rosters for energy-relevant committees and rebranded one subcommittee to reflect the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives' increased focus on climate change.

Shutdown could hamper US EPA's efforts to lock in Trump's top energy rules

As the partial federal government shutdown over President Donald Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall stretches on, the rulemaking process at the EPA has ground to a halt. And that could imperil some of the Trump administration's signature energy-related rulemakings, according to former top EPA officials with expertise on the policy process.

DOE to provide $4.8M in funding for fossil energy research

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy will provide up to $4.8 million to fund university research and development projects in the fossil energy sector, according to a Jan. 7 news release.

Trade group asks US Supreme Court to review New York and Illinois nuke subsidies

A trade group of competitive wholesale electricity suppliers and an independent power supplier have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their challenges against New York's and Illinois' "at-risk" nuclear energy subsidies.

Ohio regulatory staff says AEP has not demonstrated need for renewables projects

Ohio Power Co. has not demonstrated a need to construct additional electricity generation resources to justify 900 MW of renewable energy projects the company has proposed, state regulatory staff said in recently filed public testimony.

Report estimates US CO2 emissions grew 3.4% in 2018, reversing recent decline

Following three years of decline, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions rose 3.4% in 2018 as the American economy expanded and natural gas-fired generation beat out renewables for replacing a wave of retiring coal plants, according to a preliminary estimate released Jan. 8 by the Rhodium Group. With previous reports showing that the U.S. already is off track to meet its CO2 emissions reduction goals under the Paris Agreement on climate change, the research firm's analysis suggests the gap the country needs to close to meet those targets has grown even larger.

ISO New England study says offshore wind can cut energy costs during cold snaps

A theoretical 1,600-MW offshore wind farm during New England's 2017-2018 winter storms could have reduced regional electricity prices up to $13/MWh and cut emissions by 11% over a 16-day cold stretch while avoiding $85 million in production costs, ISO New England estimated in a new "what if" analysis.

Pa. governor seeks reductions in greenhouse gas emissions

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed an executive order Jan. 8 establishing a statewide goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.

Judge orders release of thousands of docs between EPA officials, industry groups

A federal judge has ordered the EPA to expedite the production of thousands of pages of emails and calendars for Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler, Office of Air and Radiation head Bill Wehrum and 23 other agency employees in response to a public records lawsuit brought by the Sierra Club.