EGEB: US govt reviews threaten offshore wind farms, Endangered Species Act, more

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • US government offshore wind farm reviews could threaten their development.
  • The weakened Endangered Species Act empowers dirty energy.
  • Carbon dioxide levels broke global records in 2018.
  • Pennsylvania has a new bipartisan-backed Renewable Energy Bill.

EGEB: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

The Business Network for Offshore Wind is “dedicated to building a network that will usher the US into the offshore wind market.” The nonprofit said on August 12 that a “proposed Interior Department review of the impacts of offshore wind farms on waters off the East Coast could threaten the entire industry’s development in the US,” according to Bloomberg Environment.

President and CEO of the Business Network for Offshore Wind Liz Burdock said:

Requiring a project to assess the impacts of all potential future projects, even though those future projects are not yet defined, is extraordinary. This requirement adds cumbersome regulatory hurdles to an already long and arduous process.

The Trump administration extended an environmental review of the proposed $2.8 billion Vineyard Wind project off Massachusetts. It is scheduled to be up and running by early 2022. It would be the US’s first major offshore wind farm. There has been opposition from fishermen and coastal communities.

Endangered Species Act — and dirty energy

Changes by the Trump administration to the Endangered Species Act would allow regulators “to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection,” according to the New York Times. Further:

Overall, the revised rules appear very likely to clear the way for new mining, oil, and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live.

The changes are expected to be implemented in September. The revised act will be challenged by environmental groups, congressional Democrats, and Democratic state attorneys general.

Global record-breaking carbon dioxide levels in 2018

The global annual average for carbon dioxide, which is elevated by cars and fuel burning, “were higher than humans have ever recorded, according to an authoritative new report from the American Meteorological Society and the US government,” according to the Guardian.

2018 was the fourth-warmest on record since the 19th century, and sea levels were the highest on record. Of wildfires, the Guardian said:

Despite recent massive wildfires in the US and the Arctic, 2018 fire activity around the globe was actually the lowest on record. That is because humans have turned the savannas that have burned frequently into agricultural areas.

Pennsylvania pushes for clean energy

Pennsylvania state senators Tom Killion and Chris Quinn hosted a clean energy expo at Penn State Brandywine over the weekend.

Killion “is the lead primary sponsor of the Senate Bill 630, the Renewable Energy Bill. It and its identical version in the State House, HB1425, would require Pennsylvania to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050,” according to the Daily Local.

The bill is being sponsored by 100 bipartisan legislators.

Quinn said:

Protecting our environment for future generations is obviously a critical issue for those of us in public service. But the renewable energy sector is also an important growth area for our economy. As green energy continues to develop, new industries and jobs will flow from that creation.

Jobs in clean energy have outpaced fossil fuel jobs in Pennsylvania by two to one.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.