U.S. Energy News

A 5-year battle over solar rate design is settled in Arizona

SOLAR: Following years of contentious debate, Arizona’s largest electric utility reaches a deal with solar advocates and business groups that allows customers to choose from four rate design options, including a time-of-use rate plan. (Greentech Media, Utility Dive)

ALSO:
• The New Mexico House of Representatives approves a bill that requires residential solar providers to disclose how estimated energy savings could change due to future changes to subsidies or utility rates. (Associated Press)
• An environmental group promises to fight new net metering policies adopted by Maine’s Public Utilities Commission, saying the rules will “stifle investment in clean, local, solar power.” (Portland Press Herald)
• SolarCity cut nearly 20 percent of its staff last year, according to a regulatory filing. (Reuters)
• A city’s solar potential depends on the length of its road network, according to a recent study. (Anthropocene)

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TECHNOLOGY: A team of MIT scientists is developing a solar energy device that could dramatically increase efficiency by converting sunlight into heat. (MIT Technology Review)

WIND: Repairs are needed to fix a turbine that isn’t spinning at the nation’s first offshore wind farm off Rhode Island. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: The country’s first integrated wind and solar project is taking shape outside a small city in Minnesota. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Utah’s House of Representatives narrowly votes against a bill to extend tax credits to energy-efficient vehicles. (Deseret News)

EFFICIENCY: Home efficiency advocates are squaring off with builders in Virginia over updating energy codes for new home construction. (Southeast Energy News)

EPA:
• The White House proposes to cut the EPA’s budget from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion and eliminate dozens of programs. (Washington Post)
• The former head of the EPA says the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts would be “devastating for the agency’s ability to protect public health.” (Huffington Post)

POLITICS: Montana congressman Ryan Zinke is confirmed as the new Interior secretary, despite criticism from environmental groups over his views on climate change and willingness to revisit Obama-era moves that halted coal leasing and Arctic drilling. (Los Angeles Times)

POLICY: President Trump plans to use an executive order next week to target a federal coal leasing ban and the Clean Power Plan, says a White House official. (Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
• With companies injecting less oilfield wastewater into the ground, the odds of a man-made earthquake in Texas have plummeted, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. (Texas Tribune)
• Activity from the oil and gas industry are likely to cause damaging earthquakes in parts of Oklahoma and Kansas this year, according the U.S. Geological Survey. (Reuters)

PIPELINES:
• North Dakota could gain over $110 million in annual tax revenue from the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to a recent analysis. (Associated Press)
• Pipeline construction will likely expand under President Trump’s new infrastructure plan, and protesters are gearing up to fight eight new projects that are already in the works. (Mother Jones)

COAL:
• By strengthening regulations on coal ash disposal, the EPA inadvertently paved the way for Southeast states to become a cheap, low-environmental protection refuge for the nation’s coal ash. (Southeast Energy News)
• A coal-fired power plant closes in North Dakota after 50 years of operation. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR:
• An Ohio utility is asking state lawmakers for “zero emission credits” for its aging nuclear plants, drawing criticism from environmental and consumer advocates who say the plan is just a bid for more subsidies. (Midwest Energy News)
• How the struggling U.S. nuclear industry could rebound under President Trump. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY: Coal jobs aren’t a major source of employment, but people are still fixated on the industry because coal is a symbol of a bygone social order, says a New York Times columnist.

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