Energy Department’s ‘revolution’ faces uncertain future

RENEWABLE ENERGY: How the Department of Energy has “really changed the world” over the last eight years when it comes to energy. (Washington Post)

ALSO:
• A lack of new transmission lines is stifling renewable energy projects in Maine. (Portland Press Herald)
• A city in northern Michigan votes to become the second in the state to adopt a goal of 100 percent renewable energy to power city services, such as streetlights, a wastewater treatment plant and government buildings. (Midwest Energy News)
• Advocates see a mixed bag on clean energy policy as legislatures in Michigan, Illinois and Ohio close out 2016. (Midwest Energy News)
• A program in Maryland is making it easier for owners of large office buildings and warehouses to pay for renewable energy projects.

Democrats call for investigation of Trump team’s DOE questionnaire

CLIMATE:
• Senate Democrats are calling for an investigation into a questionnaire that Donald Trump’s transition team sent to the Energy Department, asking for names of employees who worked on climate change. (Washington Post)
• ExxonMobil shifted its public position away from climate change denial under the leadership of Rex Tillerson, whom Donald Trump has tapped to be secretary of state. (The Hill)
• Leaked documents reveal that Tillerson was the director of a U.S.-Russian oil firm. (The Guardian)

CARBON TAX:
• Nearly half of Republicans would support a “revenue neutral” carbon tax, according to a new survey. (CNBC)
• The governor of Washington is proposing a new carbon tax that would raise billions for education in the state.

Officials from 24 states ask Trump to scrap Clean Power Plan

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Officials from 24 states write a letter asking Donald Trump to scrap the Clean Power Plan on his first day in office. (The Hill)

POLITICS:
• Department of Energy staffers describe a “climate of fear” as Donald Trump’s presidency approaches. (Quartz)
• What influence will Tesla CEO Elon Musk have in his new role as an economic adviser to Donald Trump? (Greentech Media)
• It wouldn’t be easy for energy secretary nominee Rick Perry to dismantle the Department of Energy, as he proposed doing in 2011. (Greenwire)

POLICY:
• The city of Portland, Oregon, passes the country’s first ban on new bulk fossil fuel storage facilities and forbids existing terminals from expanding in size.

West Coast states vow to fight climate change

CLIMATE: The governors of California, Washington and Oregon vow to increase their efforts to fight climate change. (Reuters)

ALSO:
• California’s governor tells scientists that the state is ready to fight federal policies that could worsen climate change, saying “whatever Washington thinks they are doing, California is the future.” (Sacramento Bee)
• Donald Trump’s transition team distances itself from a survey sent to the Energy Department that requested the names of people working on climate change, saying “the questionnaire was not authorized.” (Reuters)
• Donald Trump’s pick for interior secretary was in favor of acting on climate change in 2010, but has since become a climate change denier. (Mother Jones)

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Trump picks two more climate change deniers for cabinet

POLITICS:
• Donald Trump selects former Texas governor Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy. (Washington Post)
• Rick Perry is pro-fossil fuels and tried to censor climate scientists as governor, but he also has a history of supporting renewable energy. (Mother Jones/Texas Tribune)
• Donald Trump taps Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke – a climate change denier and strong supporter of fossil fuel development – as interior secretary. (ThinkProgress/NBC News)

OIL & GAS:
• A leaked BP internal report reveals at least two serious accidents that were narrowly avoided by the company, including one incident at an Indiana oil refinery that caused $258 million in lost production. (The Guardian)
• California’s governor asks President Obama to issue a permanent ban on offshore drilling in the state’s waters.

U.S. solar market breaks quarterly record, installing 4.1 GW

SOLAR: The U.S. installed 4.1 gigawatts of solar in the third quarter of the year, breaking all previous quarterly records. (Greentech Media)

WIND: The country’s first offshore wind farm is up and running off the coast of Rhode Island. (Washington Post)

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Trump picks climate change denier for Secretary of Interior

POLITICS:
• Donald Trump nominates a climate change denier who supports drilling on public lands for Secretary of Interior. (Climate Central)
• Sources say Donald Trump will name ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state. (NBC News)

CLIMATE:
• Donald Trump’s transition team sends a questionnaire to the Department of Energy requesting the names of employees who attended climate change policy conferences. (New York Times)
• Conservatives expected to be active in rolling back federal environmental regulations signal efforts to ramp up the spread of misinformation on climate science, including using the EPA itself as a vehicle. (ClimateWire)
• Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and fellow investors are starting a fund to combat climate change by investing in clean energy innovation.

Senate Democrats prepared to fight Trump’s EPA pick

POLITICS: Senate Democrats are ready to fight Donald Trump’s pick for EPA administrator, calling the decision “a full-fledged environmental emergency.” (CNN/Huffington Post)

ALSO:
• A look at Donald Trump’s growing team of climate deniers. (Grist)
• Republican leaders and fossil fuel industry executives lay out an agenda to roll back environmental regulations and increase fossil fuel production, saying “we’re winning this thing, very clearly.” (ThinkProgress)
• Experts say Donald Trump’s pick for EPA chief will have little effect on reviving the coal industry. (New York Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21stCentury connected city.

Trump picks a fossil fuel ally, climate change denier to head EPA

POLITICS: Donald Trump chooses Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, a climate change denier and ally of the fossil fuel industry, to run the EPA. (Los Angeles Times)

COAL:
• Charlotte-based Duke Energy could spend nearly $30 million on new water supplies for about 886 North Carolina residents who rely on wells near the company’s coal ash ponds. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• The Interior Department designates nearly 75,000 acres in east Tennessee as unsuitable for mountaintop coal mining. (Associated Press)
• People in West Virginia’s coal country say they are “euphoric” and “thrilled” about Donald Trump’s upcoming presidency. (Washington Post)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21stCentury connected city.

Developer cancels plans for Maine’s largest wind farm

WIND:
• A wind power developer cancels plans for a 119-turbine farm that would have been the largest in Maine. (Portland Press Herald)
• The country’s first offshore wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island will soon be operational, in spite of a damaged turbine. (Grist)

CLIMATE:
• The candidates Donald Trump is considering for his new administration are an indication that he’s not changing his views on climate change. (Washington Post)
• Companies and trade associations need to put pressure on the government to support greenhouse gas emissions reductions, according to a new report. (E&E News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21stCentury connected city.