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The US is Behind Rare Mineral Curve Big Time

17 Sep

The surge in renewable energy and electric vehicles highlights the risks of importing limited essential minerals from opaque markets, many in unstable regions, and the United States’ failure to compete in this area. “Batteries don’t work without lithium, graphite, cobalt and nickel; solar panels require silver, gallium, indium, tellurium; and wind turbines are not just […]

Scrap over Vehicle Emissions Intensifies

10 Sep

The Trump Administration is pulling out the stops to thwart California’s efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation Sept. 6 of the four automakers that reached a deal in late July with California to lower vehicle emissions on a voluntary basis, should existing standards be frozen […]

Shorts

9 Sep

Updated Sept. 12. A California Public Utilities Commission proposal seeks to improve reliability and drive down greenhouse gases from the energy sector. It was released just after the CPUC’s Sept. 12  business meeting. The proposed decision directs private utilities, community choice aggregators and direct access providers to buy 2,500 MW  to ensure power flow reliability […]

Climate Roundup: State Strikes Deal with Automakers on GHGs

6 Aug

State officials and top automakers late last month agreed on a voluntary framework for continuing to reduce vehicular greenhouse gas emissions. The pact came as the Trump Administration is preparing to freeze standards at existing emissions levels and revoke the right of California to set its own emissions standards that are tighter than federal requirements. […]

Inside the Beltway: Committees Advance Energy Bills

17 Jul

The full House Energy & Commerce Committee approved 10 energy-related bills July 17 aimed at advancing energy efficiency and energy sector employment and also making energy infrastructure more impervious to cyberattacks. “These bills tackle the climate crisis head-on by ensuring our homes, schools and buildings emit less carbon pollution, and by investing in our state […]

Lithium Battery Recycling Needed, Senators Told

17 Jul

As demand for lithium ion batteries grows with the increasing popularity of electric and hybrid cars, how to handle spent batteries is a growing concern, the U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee heard on July 17. “The global market for electric vehicles is expected to rise in coming years,” said Sen. John Barasso (R-WY), […]

Shorts

9 Jul

Updated July 11. The Senate Energy & Natural Resources committee held a celebratory hearing July 11 on growing U.S. exports of liquefied natural gas. “We are now leading the world in natural gas production, and hopefully soon, we will also lead in exports,” said panel chair Sen. Lisa Murkowski (D-AK. “More U.S. LNG export facilities […]

The Buzz

27 Jun

The California Public Utilities Commission announces it’s considering slapping penalties on PG&E for sparking huge wildfires in the fall of 2017. Earlier, state regulators unanimously approve a utility financial stress test with much consternation. They warn that the legislative mandate unfairly requires ratepayers to bail out utilities even if unacceptable behavior led to their wildfire liability. […]

Resolution of Spent Fuel Storage Remains Illusive

27 Jun

The U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee June 27 attempted again to break the stalemate on moving growing levels of spent nuclear waste stored onsite at power plants and elsewhere into one or more licensed long-term waste repositories. “Our nation’s nuclear industry is critically important, but also faces a number of challenges, and one […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Clash on Auto Standards

20 Jun

Legislators and policy makers displayed wide differences regarding the future of automotive standards aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions June 20 during a joint hearing of the House Energy & Commerce Consumer Protection & Commerce and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees. The panels delved into the Trump Administration’s plan to freeze Obama era standards modeled […]

House Democrats Push Pipeline Safety

19 Jun

A House panel is aiming to place new requirements on oil and gas pipeline operators and toughen federal enforcement standards as part of an upcoming reauthorization of the Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for fiscal years 2020-23. Toward that end, the House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee held a hearing on two bills circulated […]

Federal Energy Efficiency Backed by Both Parties

17 Jun

Federal lawmakers June 14 introduced bipartisan legislation to make federal buildings more energy and water efficient. The bill, the Federal Energy and Water Management Performance Act of 2019, was introduced by U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), who respectively serve as chair and ranking minority member of the Senate Energy & Natural […]

The Buzz

14 Jun

A House Energy panel zeros in on federal legislation and tactics to resolve the troubling issue of long-term storage of radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. Lawmakers also grapple with how to consolidate onsite spent fuel in 121 communities, including in Southern California and Sacramento. The day before, another House Energy & Commerce subcommittee tells […]

House Energy Puts GHGs & Storage Center Stage

12 Jun

The growing importance of assessing the greenhouse gas impacts of natural gas project permitting and better integrating distributed energy and energy storage into the wholesale market was stressed this week by a House Energy & Commerce Committee subpanel. The June 12 hearing of the Energy Subcommittee focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s policies and […]

Energy Storage Draws Bipartisan Praise in U.S. Senate

4 Jun

Energy storage gained stature in Congress this week during a U.S. Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee hearing on June 4. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), committee chair, called storage an “innovative technology” that is adding resilience and economic efficiency to the nation’s grid while reducing greenhouse gases. She noted that an increasing number of Alaskan […]

Climate Roundup: House Democrat Eyes Clean Energy Funding

22 May

The House Energy & Commerce Committee this week began work on advancing the “LIFT America Act,” which calls for spending $33 billion on clean energy programs to cut greenhouse gas emissions and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure. “All of these investments will help us take an important step in combating the climate crisis, while also […]

Inside the Beltway: Lawmakers Focus on Energy Efficiency & Renewable Technology

21 May

Updated May 22. A U.S. Senate panel heard encouraging news about the advance of renewable power and energy efficiency this week despite the ongoing drum beat in Washington about the need to preserve coal power plants and drill for more oil. Wind and solar will be the fastest growing sources of power over the next […]

Inside The Beltway: Sparks Fly Over DOE Budget

9 May

Energy Secretary Rick Perry covered the water front of U.S. energy issues May 9 during a House Energy & Commerce Energy Subcommittee hearing on the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for 2020. Perry told lawmakers that the department’s $31.7 billion request for the coming federal fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 would help sustain “recent historic economic […]

Undercurrents: Utilities Warn of Power Shutoffs

6 May

The state’s three big investor-owned power utilities are launching an advertising campaign to let Californians know they’ll be routinely shutting off electrical service in fire-prone areas during wind storms. As part of their public information campaign, the utilities are urging the state’s 11 million residents who live in elevated fire risk areas to prepare emergency […]

Shorts

6 May

Updated May 9. Renewable energy continued to grow as a source of electricity in California and its price continued to fall in 2018, according to a report by the California Public Utilities Commission released May 8. Among the state’s large investor-owned utilities, the level of renewable power increased from 36 percent to 40 percent from […]