Forbes: Green Energy Features Big Among Trump's Top 50 Infrastructure Projects

Energy projects on Trump's "Priority List" could add 9 gigawatts of clean power.

A list emerged this week; it appears to have been prepared for then President-elect Trump, and is titled: “Priority List: Emergency & National Security Projects.” It’s 50 pages for 50 infrastructure projects -- quick facts on a host of highways, bridges, powerlines and airports, the construction of which would naturally make America greater, cost $140 billion, and require enough engineering and construction work to keep the equivalent of 24,000 people employed for 10 years.

Surprisingly, the list contains no mention of a Great Wall on the Mexico border, nor the Keystone XL or Dakota Access pipeline projects. The one pipeline project on the list is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would move natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale down to the Southeast. Owned by Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and Southern Company, the pipeline would cost about $5 billion and provide 10,000 job years.

The Irish Times: World’s Largest Oil Company Considers Investing $5 Billion in Renewable Energy

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, is considering as much as $5 billion of investments in renewable energy firms as part of plans to diversify from crude production, according to sources. Banks including HSBC, JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse have been invited to pitch for a role helping Aramco identify potential acquisition targets and advising on deals, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

The energy company was seeking to bring foreign expertise in renewable energy into the kingdom, sources said, adding that first investments under the plan could occur this year.

Saudi Arabia is planning to produce 10 gigawatts of power from renewable energy sources including solar, wind and nuclear by 2023 and transform Aramco into a diversified energy company. The kingdom also plans to develop a renewable energy research and manufacturing industry as part of an economic transformation plan announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April. Saudi Aramco, HSBC, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan declined to comment.

The Marijuana Times: A Colorado Mayor’s Advice on Marijuana for Massachusetts Lawmakers

As lawmakers throughout Massachusetts deal with the creation of a legal recreational marijuana industry, they are getting some advice from someone who was in a similar position just a few years ago: the mayor of Boulder, Colorado.

Suzanne Jones was elected to the Boulder City Council in 2011 -- before voters in Colorado approved adult use cannabis legalization in 2012 -- and she currently serves as the city’s mayor. She was recently on a radio show in Massachusetts, and she had two big pieces of advice for lawmakers in the state.

The first was to make the initial regulations and restrictions as strict as possible. “Start out strict. You can always relax your regulations as the industry proves itself,” Jones said. From a government point of view that makes sense, but the opposite is true for the entrepreneurs trying to break into the industry. From a business standpoint -- especially a small business -- regulations and restrictions are rarely relaxed; if anything, more are just piled on top as time goes on.

Her second piece of advice was that lawmakers should make sure legal marijuana growers are using “green energy.” “It [marijuana growing legalization] will increase your energy output, so you might as well get some added community benefit from that by having it be green energy,” she said.

Forbes: Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal and Gas Combined

In the United States, more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the electric power generation sector's workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. It's a welcome statistic for those seeking to refute Donald Trump's assertion that green energy projects are bad news for the American economy.

Just under 374,000 people were employed in solar energy, according to the report, while coal, gas and oil power generation combined had a workforce of slightly more than 187,000. The boom in the country's solar workforce can be attributed to construction work associated with expanding generation capacity. The gulf in employment is growing with net generation from coal falling 53 percent over the last decade. During the same period, electricity generation from natural gas increased 33 percent while solar expanded 5,000 percent.

Bloomberg: Japan’s ‘Unresolved’ Disaster Sways Former Advocate of Nuclear Power

The man blocking the world’s largest nuclear plant says he grew opposed to atomic energy the same way some people fall in love.

Previously an advocate for nuclear power in Japan, Ryuichi Yoneyama campaigned against the restart of the facility as part of his successful gubernatorial race last year in Niigata. He attributes his political U-turn to the “unresolved” 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster and the lack of preparedness at the larger facility in his own prefecture, both owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

“Changing my opinion wasn’t an instant realization,” Yoneyama said in an interview. “It was gradual. As people say, you don’t know the exact moment you’ve fallen in love.”