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EGEB: GM backs EPA’s emissions reduction goals, US energy resilience and Sri Lanka stops coal

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

  • GM endorses the EPA’s stricter emissions rule, and 22 states say it’s not enough.
  • The US energy secretary details how the country can achieve a more resilient power system.
  • Sri Lanka will stop building coal plants, aims to be net zero by 2050.
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GM backs EPA emissions standards

General Motors (GM) said it backs the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA‘s) “Proposed Rule to Revise Existing National GHG Emissions Standards for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks Through Model Year 2026” in written comments it filed yesterday to the EPA. The EPA summarizes:

The proposed 2023-2026 [model year] standards would achieve significant GHG emissions reductions along with reductions in other pollutants. The proposal would result in substantial public health and welfare benefits, while providing consumers with savings from lower fuel costs. The proposal would incentivize technology available today to make vehicles cleaner and to encourage more hybrid and electric vehicle technology.

Reuters notes:

GM called the EPA’s proposal “historically stringent” and said the Biden administration should ensure automakers in compliance with EPA rules not be subject to civil penalties in the parallel National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fuel economy program “that may arise from the geographic location of its supply chain.”

But 22 state attorneys general, the District of Columbia, and several US cities yesterday called for even stricter vehicle emissions rules than the EPA has proposed.

The transport sector accounts for nearly one-third of all US emissions.

Read more: GM expands Ultium Charge 360 program to commercial fleets to accelerate EV adoption

US power resilience

US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm recently published an opinion piece in CNN explaining how President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda will create a clean energy system on a more resilient grid during extreme weather events. Here are key excerpts:

Our power systems weren’t built to withstand extreme weather events. Without major investments to reinforce, modernize, and clean our grid, the question will not be whether it fails, but when.

To keep the American people safe, we need to increase resilience to these potent storms — which first requires more transmission lines to transport power across long distances. This would reduce the likelihood that a local power plant going down during a storm will leave communities without electricity.

We also need to ensure that the new infrastructure we’re building can weather the mounting climate impacts we know are coming. That means, for example, switching wooden poles for steel ones in reinforced concrete, and, where it makes sense, putting lines underground. In response to wildfires, Pacific Gas and Electric is working to bury 10,000 miles of power lines. We can replicate that effort in key areas most vulnerable to extreme weather.

Even as most of New Orleans was in the dark, the residents of St. Peter Apartments enjoyed eight hours of electricity a day, thanks to the complex’s rooftop solar panels and onsite battery storage. We should connect more critical infrastructure and buildings to such renewable microgrids that can go online quickly and meet local needs. While we work to complete transmission upgrades spanning thousands of miles, cities and states can act quickly to deploy and incentivize these smaller-scale distributed energy projects.

What else do you think the US power system needs in order to be more resilient? Let us know in the comments below.

Sri Lanka ditches coal

Sri Lanka will stop building new coal-fired power plants and achieve net zero by 2050, Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa said at the United Nations on Friday.

The country has also set a target of sourcing 70% of all its energy from renewables by 2030. Reuters writes:

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar, and small and large hydro power plants together account for half of the island nation’s installed electricity capacity, with coal and oil-fired power accounting for the rest.

Renewable and hydroelectric power currently account for about 35% of the country’s power demand.

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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.