Morning Brief: Wyoming coal, Texas sun, Dems’ clean energy package, EV batteries made from deep-sea rocks


The House Rules Committee is formulating a rule on Democrats’ clean energy package, H.R. 4447 (116), setting up a floor vote on the measure — which leadership has touted as a response to fighting climate change — as soon as today. The package combines a spate of green energy bills. Proposed amendments include:

  • One measure from Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) would set renewable energy requirements for the federal government, including that it get 35%  of its power needs from clean sources by 2030, 75% by 2040, and 100% by 2050.
  • A bipartisan amendment to extend the “commence construction” date for the 45Q tax credit on carbon capture and storage by 10 years.
  • A bipartisan amendment from Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) to direct 30% of revenue from federal offshore wind energy leases to NOAA’s national coastal resilience program.  Source: Politico

Texas solar round-up. Big solar projects in the U.S. are back in style and the Lone Star state is a hotbed of developer activity.  Source: pv magazine

Critics say a federal report promoting carbon capture technology to save Wyoming’s coal industry is misleading.  Over the past decade, Wyoming’s coal industry has taken a beating, but this year has proven particularly brutal. Layoffs have whipped through the state at a searing pace, outstripping previous busts and catapulting thousands of families into uncertainty. It’s difficult to transform coal-fired power plants into low-carbon facilities using carbon capture without increasing electricity costs. Right now, retrofitting coal plants with carbon capture requires significant capital investments and, for the most part, hasn’t performed at levels needed to make the venture cost-effective. Source: Casper Star-Tribune

SEIA has been deeply involved in energy choice and solar advocacy in South Carolina, helping to shape and secure the historic passage of the Energy Freedom Act in 2019: “As a result of these discussions, the net metering regime for current solar customers has been extended through 2025 or 2029, depending on when customers switched to solar. At that the end of that period, these customers can continue with the current regime at 2025 or 2029 retail rates, or switch to the new program. Key elements of the new program include time-of-use rates and rebates for smart thermostats, both of which better align customer behavior with electricity system needs. Source: SEIA

EV batteries made from deep-sea rocks dramatically reduce carbon: Research shows up to 90% carbon footprint reduction for critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries when sourcing them from deep-sea polymetallic nodules compared to conventionally mined land ores. Polymetallic nodules from the Clarion Clipperton Zone (CCZ) of the Pacific Ocean contain rich concentrations of four metals required for EVs in a single ore, including nickel, a crucial ingredient in EV batteries, which will increasingly be mined from beneath large forested carbon sinks in tropical areas like Indonesia and the Philippines. The paper analyzes the planetary-scale and full lifecycle climate impacts of producing these metals. Here is the peer-reviewed study, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production. 

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