Good Monday morning!
In the news today and from the weekend…
- The Wall Street Journal carries an editorial arguing that utilities are prioritizing growing renewable power to meet government mandates over grid resilience—hardening their systems and reducing risk from fires and extreme weather events. A fraying electric grid is a nationwide problem. Consultants at Marsh McLennan estimate that more than $700 billion will need to be spent to replace aging transmission lines and maintain grid reliability. Sixty percent of U.S. distribution lines have surpassed their 50-year life expectancy. The average age of large power transformers is 40 years, twice their planned life span. Grid upgrades to achieve the net-zero promised land will cost another $2.5 trillion by 2050, according to a Princeton University study. Something will invariably give. And as we’ve seen in California and Hawaii, it may be safety.
- The Associated Press reports that President Biden and first lady Jill Biden will visit Maui today to meet with survivors of the wildfires that ripped through Lahaina on Aug. 8, which have killed more than 100 people. As of Sunday, about 85% of the area affected by the wildfire had been searched. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) said about 2,000 people didn’t have power and 10,000 were without telecom connectivity.
- Washington Post reports that the White House is torn over Joe Manchin’s fury at climate law he crafted. As White House officials weigh how much to give in to his demands, a rift grows between president and senator from West Virginia.
- Inside EPA reports the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has completed its review of the Biden administration’s final rule defining “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in Sackett v. EPA, clearing the way for the rule’s release and likely new challenges from industry groups concerned over its narrow scope and amendment process.
- E&E Energywire reports the forces creating a new American electric vehicle manufacturing industry are apparent in the cornfields here, where two factories are rising 1 mile apart.
- Freight Waves reports coal isn’t dying yet globally, just in the West. It’s still alive and kicking in Asia — and still growing globally as a result.