Energy & Environment — US joins $20B deal to cut Indonesia’s coal reliance

The U.S. and Indonesia joined a deal that’s aimed at reducing the latter’s reliance on coal. Meanwhile, methane regulations could be coming down the pike, and lawmakers push for a new national recreation area.  

This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forward you this newsletter?

US, Indonesia sign $20B deal for energy transition

The United States, Indonesia and other allies signed a $20 billion deal on Tuesday at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit that will help Indonesia reduce its reliance on coal. 

The goal of the agreement, called the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP), is to help Indonesia reduce emissions and transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The U.S. and Japan co-led the deal, which was also signed by Canada, Denmark, the European Union, France, Germany, Italy, Norway and the United Kingdom. 

Indonesia, which is hosting the G-20 in Bali and is the world’s third-largest producer of coal, will develop an investment plan to achieve new targets, such as establishing a goal to reach net zero emissions in the power sector by 2050. That goal would reduce Indonesia’s net zero power sector emissions target by 10 years. 

The nations also aim to accelerate Indonesia’s “deployment of renewable energy so that renewable energy generation comprises at least 34 percent of all power generation by 2030, which would roughly double the total renewables deployment over the course of this decade compared to current plans,” according to a White House fact statement.   

President Biden on Tuesday announced the partnership, which he said is designed “to support Indonesia’s efforts to reduce emissions,” at an event he co-hosted with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia and President Ursula Von der Leyen of the European Commission about infrastructure investments in Bali. 

Some details:   

  • The $20 billion JETP deal will include $10 billion in public sector pledges from participating governments, including the U.S. 
  • The other $10 billion is expected to come through private investments.  

Read more here, from The Hill’s Alex Gangitano.

COMING SOON: MORE METHANE REGS?

The Biden administration could soon propose a new rule governing releases of natural gas from oil and gas on public lands and waters.  

The White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs concluded its review of the draft rule Monday, meaning a proposal could be coming soon.  

While the text of the rule is not public, it is expected to be aimed at preventing waste of natural gas that occurs through processes like releasing the gas or burning off excesses gas — as well as through leaks.  

While the rule is framed as a waste preventor, it may also have significant climate change implications because methane, which makes up natural gas, is a major contributor to global warming.  

The regulations are separate from a recent EPA proposal aimed at regulating methane releases from the sector more broadly.

Dems push Chesapeake as national recreation area

Two Maryland Democrats have released draft legislation to designate the Chesapeake Bay as a national recreation area, with plans to formally introduce the legislation in the coming year. 

The measure, introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Rep. John Sarbanes, would significantly simplify the process for securing conservation money for the bay and would connect various sites in the region under the umbrella of the National Park Service. 

These sites go beyond Maryland to places like Hampton, Va., the site where the first enslaved Africans were brought to the continent in 1619. 

“The release of this discussion draft is just the beginning – we look forward to continuing our engagement with all community stakeholders to get their input on how we can build on this foundation to create a Chesapeake National Recreation Area to achieve our goal of bringing national recognition and greater opportunities to our Bay region,” Van Hollen said in a statement. 

If the efforts are successful, the Chesapeake Bay would be the first national recreation area designation since 2009, when Oregon’s Mount Hood was granted the designation.  

The designation of the bay as a national recreation area has been under discussion for about four decades, including a push in the 1990s by former Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), the congressman’s father.  

Read more about the new push here. 

DEMOCRAT PUSHES FOR PASSAGE OF RECYCLING BILLS

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) is working on getting bipartisan recycling bills across the finish line during Congress’s lame duck session, an aide to the senator told The Hill.  

Carper is working with members of the House to reach an agreement to bring the bills to the floor, the aide said.  

In a statement on Tuesday, the senator called for the passage of a pair of bills — Recycling and Composting Accountability Act and the Recycling Infrastructure and Accessibility Act — that he said would bolster recycling infrastructure and improve access to recycling programs and data collection.  

“I hope my colleagues in the House will seize the opportunity before them and work to pass our commonsense recycling legislation. By sending these bipartisan recycling bills to the president’s desk, we will show the American people that we are serious about fixing our nation’s recycling challenges and delivering a more sustainable future,” Carper said.  

Feds allocating $250M for efficiency upgrades

The Biden administration announced on Tuesday morning that it will be allocating $250 million in formula funding for energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits of commercial and residential buildings. 

The Department of Energy will be accepting applications for these resources from all 50 states, five U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, through the Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund Capitalization Grant Program — an initiative of the recent bipartisan infrastructure law, according to information that was first shared with The Hill.  

States and territories will be able to use grants to establish what is known as “revolving loan funds” — or pools of capital from which loans can be made for clean energy projects, according to the Energy Department. 

Governments can then use these revolving loan funds to invest in energy audits, energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits of residential and commercial buildings. 

Read more here, from The Hill’s Sharon Udasin.  

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • California tries to harness megastorm floods to ease crippling droughts (Reuters
  • Biggest rainforest nations form triple alliance to save jungle (CNN
  • ‘A sobering assessment’: Large parts of US at risk of outages during extreme weather this winter: NERC (Utility Dive
  • Natural Gas Flaring Is Set to Rebound in Permian Basin (Yahoo Finance
  • Facing questions about climate aid, Democrats blame the GOP (E&E News

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.

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