Tag Archives: Biden-Harris Administration

Developer Abandons Keystone XL Pipeline Project, Ending Decade-Long Battle

By Jeff Brady and Neela Banerjee, NPR

Keystone XL would have passed through Nebraska, and for years, a coalition of Indigenous tribes, ranchers and local environmentalists demonstrated, lobbied and sued to halt the pipeline’s construction. Its proposed route in Nebraska cut through the Ogallala Aquifer, the groundwater source for millions of Plains States residents. The pipeline’s opponents in Nebraska feared that any leak from Keystone XL would damage the critical aquifer, and they welcomed the end of the project.

“On behalf of our Ponca Nation we welcome this long overdue news and thank all who worked so tirelessly to educate and fight to prevent this from coming to fruition. It’s a great day for Mother Earth,” Larry Wright Jr., chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, said in a statement. Read more or listen to the “All Things Considered” broadcast here.

Image Credit: Prairie Nebraska.Org

A timeline of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project, by The Canadian Press, Toronto Star

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Canadian Officials React To Biden Revoking Keystone XL Permit, All Things Considered, NPR
Canadian officials say they’re disappointed that President Biden revoked the Keystone XL Pipeline permit — but they’re also looking forward to working with the new administration on climate change.

Nebraska’s better off without Keystone XL, Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board
Increased investment in renewable energy — wind energy, solar power, electric vehicles, etc. — proves that America’s future will involve fewer fossil fuels going forward, a fact underscored by the growing number of financial institutions and other entities that now refuse to invest in the oil and gas industry. The grassroots coalition of environmentalists, farmers, ranchers and property-rights advocates who fought the pipeline tooth and nail can celebrate, knowing their efforts weren’t in vain. 

Canada predicts largest oil province Alberta to lead growth in renewables, Reuters
Canada’s biggest oil-producing province Alberta is expected to see the fastest growth in renewable energy capacity between 2018 and 2023, the Canada Energy Regulator forecast in a report, as new wind and solar projects help replace coal-fired electricity. By 2023, 26% of Alberta’s electricity capacity will come from renewable sources, up from 16% in 2017. 

Climate Change Risks & Global Markets – Natural Resources Defense Council

What Is the Keystone XL Pipeline?: How a single pipeline project became the epicenter of an enormous environmental, public health, and civil rights battle.

When TC Energy said the pipeline would create nearly 119,000 jobs, a State Department report instead concluded the project would require fewer than 2,000 two-year construction jobs and that the number of jobs would hover around 35 after construction.

The market case, even before the COVID-19 pandemic sent oil prices plummeting, has also deteriorated. Low oil prices and increasing public concern over the climate have led Shell, Exxon, Statoil, and Total to either sell their tar sands assets or write them down. Because of this growing market recognition, major new tar sands projects haven’t moved forward with construction for years, despite investments from the government of Alberta, Canada. For example, in 2020, Teck Resources withdrew its ten-year application to build the largest tar sands mine in history—citing growing concern surrounding climate change in global markets.

Clean Energy Boom to Create Quality American Jobs

American Clean Power Association News Release

WASHINGTON DC, June 7, 2021 – America’s decarbonization has the potential to create 500,000 – 600,000 new jobs for American workers across the solar, wind, and battery storage technologies by 2030, according to the new 2021 Clean Energy Labor Supply report, prepared by BW Research Partnership and released today by the American Clean Power Association (ACP) on the first day of the CLEANPOWER 2021 Virtual Summit. The reports finds that higher-than-average pay and significant union coverage are key aspects of the clean energy employment future over the next decade.

“One of the biggest challenges to meeting the Biden administration’s clean energy goals will be getting enough people trained and added to the workforce as quickly as possible. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for massive job creation, with high demand for a diversity of roles in manufacturing, construction, project development, and operations.” – Heather Zichal, ACP CEO

Read the entire release here.

May White House Statements & Releases

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Amends Nebraska
Disaster Declaration, May 27, 2021

Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. made additional disaster assistance available to the State of Nebraska by authorizing an increase in the level of Federal funding for Public Assistance projects undertaken in the State of Nebraska as a result of a severe winter storm, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of March 9 to July 14, 2019. Continue reading here.

Photo by Herschel Talley / Nebraska National Guard: Flooded Camp Ashland is seen in this aerial photo taken in Ashland, Nebraska, on March 17, 2019.

Careers in Green Building & Other STEM Rising Resources

The U.S. Department of Energy’s newsletter, STEM Rising, includes DOE and partnering agencies and organizations’ Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) news and resources. Visit the STEM Rising website to learn more about this initiative and subscribe to the newsletter.

The following resources on careers in green building are among those in the latest issue:

Also Included in the STEM Rising Newsletter:

Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm Pushes For Diversity In STEM

“The data makes it clear that we need diversity in science, technology, engineering and math,” Secretary Granholm said at a roundtable discussion on racial disparities in STEM fields held at Howard University May 3. “We really want to see a diverse pipeline of our future workforce and our problem-solvers and scientists.” The Secretary’s remarks came with an announcement of a $17.3 million investment in research and internship opportunities, with a focus on increasing diversity in STEM. Read more about it here, and watch the roundtable discussion here.

Free Virtual Event for High School Girls Interested in Technology

GirlCon is an event for high school girls organized entirely by students for the fourth year running. At this virtual event June 27-30, panelists from the National Nuclear Security Association, DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, and DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will share their role in government, and how they’re working to apply artificial intelligence to energy, climate, and nuclear weapons, as well as sustainable energy and national security. Tune in and register for this free event at GirlCon.org. Registration closes June 25 at 11:59 p.m.

MORE DOE RESOURCES

DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) Initiatives and Projects

All EERE Offices

From The White House Briefing Room: FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Accelerates Efforts to Create Jobs Making American Buildings More Affordable, Cleaner, and Resilient

SEIA Amps Up Storage Advocacy

SEIA News Release, May 26, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is announcing a new venture to prioritize energy storage across policy advocacy, membership, research and events. The venture, called the Storage Advocacy Network, will be a formal branch of SEIA and serve as a national and state advocacy voice for energy storage.

A May 2021 report from Lawrence Berkeley National Lab showed that of all the energy generation projects in interconnection queues nationwide, solar is accounting for the majority of projects paired with energy storage. 6% of wind and natural gas projects in the queue have storage attached, while 34% of pending solar projects are paired with batteries. Read. more here.

ENERGY STORAGE NEWS 

Connecticut looks to join seven other US states in setting energy storage target
Connecticut’s Senate has passed a bill targeting the deployment of 1,000MW of energy storage by the end of 2030, which when signed into law by the state’s governor will make it the eighth state jurisdiction in the US so far to introduce either a target or mandate for energy storage.

Free software to assess value of energy storage and DERs from Sandia National Laboratories and EPRI. New software that helps businesses and utilities in the US to assess the value of energy storage has been launched by Sandia National Laboratories, while the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has launched its own platform for calculating the value of distributed energy resources (DERs). Both solutions are open-source and are being offered free of charge by the organizations.

UTILITY DIVE

Biden budget, infrastructure plan would create standalone storage tax credit
President Joe Biden’s $1.52 trillion budget request for Fiscal Year 2022 includes a policy making standalone energy storage projects eligible for the federal investment tax credit (ITC), a move that advocates say will unleash new capital for renewable energy. The budget request also included new spending on storage as part of the administration’s goal to decarbonize the energy sector by 2035. 

U.S. disasters show gaps in $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan

By David R. Baker & Keith Laing, Bloomberg
Reprinted by Kennebec Journal

Three times this year, major pieces of U.S. infrastructure have failed: first the Texas power grid, then the East Coast’s main gasoline pipeline, then a freeway bridge over the Mississippi River. The crises disrupted businesses and lives, cost billions and left more than 150 Texans dead.

The recent failures illustrate just how many ways the patchwork systems can break. Experts say they also illustrate a long-running flaw in the way the U.S. thinks about and pays for infrastructure: The country focuses more on building new things rather than maintaining what it has. Read more here.

Pixabay Photo

TENASKA

GRID: FERC complaint highlights ‘structural problem’ for renewables, by Miranda Willson, E&E News

The case highlights flaws in outdated interconnection systems across the U.S. that have hampered the growth of renewable energy, according to analysts. Companies seeking to build large energy projects typically must obtain approval from a regional transmission organization or grid operator to connect to the bulk power grid, a process that can take years and carry a steep price tag. 

DARTMOUTH STUDY

Dartmouth Study Finds Renewable Energy Upgrades Make Grid More Resilient, New Hampshire NPR

A Dartmouth study has modeled for the first time that renewable energy upgrades will make the nation’s power grid more resilient. Researchers modeled a grid with an influx of three innovations: distributed generation like rooftop solar, a kind of localized power system shortcut known as a meshed grid, and energy storage. The study is the first to find that these emissions-cutting technologies will also make the power system more able to keep operating through disruptions.

GREENBELT ALLIANCE

Opinion: How infrastructure plan can accelerate resilience, contributed by Amanda Brown-Stevens, The Mercury News

Passing President Biden’s infrastructure bill would be the most significant step we’ve taken as a nation to start to address climate change head on. Greenbelt Alliance believes this infrastructure bill is a great start. Yet, so far there is no path to guide how we can equitably shift away from rebuilding in the most climate-vulnerable areas and instead build for a more resilient future. That’s why we’re recommending this infrastructure bill and related actions adopt these three principles as a simple yet transformational way forward:

Amanda Brown-Stevens heads up the San Francisco-based Greenbelt Alliance, the 60-year-old non-profit dedicated to preserving open spaces and helping the Bay Area prioritize climate action.

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GridWise Alliance Establishes Advisory Council To Aid Drive For Investments In Power System, GridWise Alliance News Release

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — GridWise Alliance Board Chair Gil C. Quiniones today announced the formation of a 29-member Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council (GIAC) to support the Alliance’s call for at least $50 billion in federal spending to modernize the nation’s electric power transmission and distribution systems.

“A strong and secure electric grid is essential to creating jobs and driving economic growth, meeting clean energy goals and fighting climate change,” said Mr. Quiniones, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority, the largest state-owned electric utility in the United States. 

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan, The White House Briefing Room

FACT SHEET: President Signs Executive Order Charting New Course to Improve the Nation’s Cybersecurity and Protect Federal Government Networks

RENEWABLE ENERGY: The power struggle over tomorrow’s solar workers

By David Ferris, E&E News

If the Biden administration ends up creating solar jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans, who will train the workers? What might at first seem an inconsequential question has become a Washington power struggle with consequences for President Biden’s energy agenda and job creation across rural America.

On one side are most of the companies that build rooftop solar and big solar farms. They are poised to create hundreds of thousands of jobs but have for the most part shunned union labor. On the other side are labor unions, which have Biden’s promise that tomorrow’s clean energy jobs belong to them. Continue reading here.

FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies, The White House Briefing Room

USDA NEWS RELEASE

USDA Announces New Initiative to Quantify Climate Benefits of Conservation Reserve Program

WASHINGTON, May 25, 2021 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced an initiative to quantify the climate benefits of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts. This multi-year effort will enable USDA to better target CRP toward climate outcomes and improve existing models and conservation planning tools while supporting USDA’s goal of putting American agriculture and forestry at the center of climate-smart solutions to address climate change.

USDA Conservation Reserve Program

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Opens Pacific Coast to New Jobs and Clean Energy Production with Offshore Wind Development

Today, the White House convened National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, and Under Secretary for Defense for Policy Dr. Colin Kahl to announce an effort to advance areas for offshore wind off the northern and central coasts of California – opening up the Pacific Coast to its first commercial scale offshore clean energy projects. This significant milestone is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal to create thousands of good-paying, union jobs through the deployment of 30 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind by 2030. These initial areas for offshore wind development in the Pacific Ocean could bring up to 4.6 GW of clean energy to the grid, enough to power 1.6 million American homes.

FACT SHEET: Biden Administration Invests $1 Billion To Protect Communities, Families, and Businesses Before Disaster Strikes

FACT SHEET: President Biden Directs Agencies to Analyze and Mitigate the Risk Climate Change Poses to Homeowners and Consumers, Businesses and Workers, and the Financial System and Federal Government Itself

The White House Briefing Room, May 20, 2021

Agency Actions Will Better Protect Workers’ Hard-Earned Savings, Create Good Jobs, and Position America to Lead the Global Economy

Today, President Biden took action to address the serious threat that the climate crisis poses to our economy. Extreme weather related to climate change can disrupt entire supply chains and deprive communities of food, water, or emergency supplies. Snowstorms can offline entire power grids. Floods made worse by rising sea levels destroy homes and businesses. As the United States builds a modern and equitable clean energy future that creates millions of good-paying jobs and advances environmental justice, the agency actions spurred by the President’s directive today will help safeguard the financial security of America’s families, businesses, and workers from the climate-related financial risks they are already facing. Continue reading here.

Additional White House Releases

Executive Order on Climate-Related Financial Risk

FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan Supercharges the Future of Transportation and Manufacturing

The White House Briefing Room

Increasingly, the global market is shifting to electric vehicles (EVs) – tapping into EVs’ potential to save families thousands of dollars, lower carbon pollution, and make the air we breathe cleaner. Yet, despite pioneering the technology, the United States is behind in the race to manufacture these vehicles and the batteries that go in them.

Today, the U.S. market share of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) sales is only one-third that of the Chinese EV market. And in 2020, China had approximately 800,000 public charging points compared to just 100,000 in the U.S. President Biden believes it is time for this to change and for the U.S. to lead in EV manufacturing, infrastructure, deployment, and innovation. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Photo Credit: Autoweek

EPA Reboots Climate Change Website

News Release, Environmental Protection Agency

WASHINGTON (March 18, 2021) — As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to action on climate change and restoring science, EPA is taking the first step in a relaunch of its climate change website. For the first time in four years, EPA now has a webpage to guide the public to a range of information, including greenhouse gas emissions data, climate change impacts, scientific reports, and existing climate programs within EPA and across the federal government.

“Climate facts are back on EPA’s website where they should be,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Considering the urgency of this crisis, it’s critical that Americans have access to information and resources so that we can all play a role in protecting our environment, our health, and vulnerable communities. Trustworthy, science-based information is at the foundation of strong, achievable solutions.” Continue reading here.

EPA Links