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Prime Power - May 6, 2024


Senate Budget Committee Spars During “Big Oil” Hearing: Last Wednesday, the Senate Budget Committee, chaired by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), held a hearing on oil companies’ contribution and response to climate change. The Committee called House Oversight Committee Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD) as a lead witness. Raskin and Senate Budget Democrats had released over 1,000 documents he said show large fossil fuel companies “deliberately suppressed relevant scientific findings for decades and then challenged and dismissed urgent calls by scientists to take climate change seriously.” Senate Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA), however, said Democrats “accuse oil companies of conspiracy and raise gas prices rather than work with Republicans to write a budget or acknowledge the unpopularity of their many climate policy proposals."

DOE Announces $78 Million in Rural Clean Energy Projects: On Friday, the Department of Energy announced nineteen selected projects for the Energy Improvements in Rural or Remote Areas program. Out of  the total $78 million provided for microgrid, transmission, and solar power projects, $33 million will be devoted  to Tribal Nations.  

DOE Secretary Granholm Again Criticized for Clean Energy Policies: In her third FY2025 Department of Energy budget hearing, Secretary Jennifer Granholm faced questions from Energy and Commerce Committee legislators regarding Inflation Reduction Act implementation and the Administration’s energy agenda. Even Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) said “rollout has progressed slower than anybody wants” on DOE’s energy initiatives, while Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said, “EPA[‘s] ...actions...  negatively affect the energy policy of the nation.”

EPA Bans Many Uses of Methylene Chloride: Last Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency released final Toxic Substances Control Act rules banning half of the current uses for methylene chloride. The compound is used in a variety of products, including coatings, adhesives, metal cleaners, pharmaceuticals and aerosols; it has been scientifically linked to certain cancers. The final rule gives manufacturers one year to phase out all consumer uses of methylene chloride and two years for many industrial and commercial uses.

Biden Administration Cracks Down on China-made EV Parts: Last Friday, the IRS and Department of Energy released final rules barring manufacturers from claiming the $7,500 Inflation Reduction Act tax credit on electric vehicles that use parts and materials from China and certain other countries. The rules do allow a two-year period for manufacturers to transition away from Chinese natural and synthetic graphite, a key battery ingredient.

Microsoft Signs Largest Corporate Clean Power Deal on Record: Last Wednesday, Microsoft announced it had signed a $10 billion deal with Brookfield Renewable Partners — an investment group that owns and operates hydroelectric, wind, solar and battery storage facilities — to supply more than 10.5 gigawatts of renewable power for Microsoft’s North American and European operations. The deal is the largest clean power purchase agreement made by an independent private company in history.

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