Western Energy News

Activist investor sees “utility of the future” in Hawaii

UTILITIES: A California hedge fund buys a $50 million stake in Hawaii’s largest electric utility and plans to push the company toward more clean energy and away from oil. (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• The mayor of San Diego throws his influential support behind an effort to start a community choice program, a move he says will help ratepayers save money while making the city greener. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• California regulators order five investor-owned utilities to produce wildfire mitigation plans by next year. (Santa Rosa Press Democrat)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• General Motors is proposing that federal regulators adopt a nation-wide electric vehicle sales program, modeled after a California mandate requiring manufacturers to sell more zero-emission cars. (Fortune)
• Koch Industries mounts a lobbying campaign against a Nevada Republican Senator’s plan to extend federal tax credits for electric vehicles. (Bloomberg)
• The supply of electric vehicles should increase in Colorado should the governor’s plan to have the state join California’s low-emission vehicle standard move forward, dealers say. (Colorado Sun)

COAL:
• In another blow to an Arizona coal plant on the brink of shutting down, the Congressional Research Service determines that one of the nation’s largest aqueduct systems isn’t legally required to buy its coal. (Bloomberg)
• A Colorado coal company that recently filed for bankruptcy is planning to sell its assets early next year, including mines in New Mexico and Montana. (Farmington Daily Times)

EFFICIENCY: A California company raises $65 million to help make up to 300 commercial buildings more energy efficient and cut carbon emissions. (Bloomberg)

SOLAR: A Washington utility moves forward with the state’s first solar plus storage project, which will also include a center to train solar technicians from around the country. (Tri-City Herald)

RENEWABLES: California regulators aren’t sure how the state’s electricity providers will meet the new mandate of getting all of their power from renewable sources by 2045 but feel more confident about shorter-term goals. (Utility Dive)

STORAGE: A Colorado startup offers valuable lessons in how to commercialize solid-state batteries without going bankrupt. (Greentech Media)

CLIMATE POLICY: The nation will be watching the outcome of a Washington state ballot initiative seeking to create a carbon fee. (New York Times)

OIL AND GAS: The BLM office in Wyoming pulls 778,000 acres of land from an upcoming auction after a recent court decision that questioned whether the public was getting enough time to comment on drilling plans in sage grouse habitat. (Casper Star-Tribune)

COMMENTARY:
• A Washington state ballot measure seeking to create a carbon fee is a “relatively painless first step toward a climate resilient future,” says a columnist for the Seattle Times.
• The president of a Western oil and gas group hopes California’s next governor will allow the industry to have a seat at the table at discussions about the state’s energy future. (Sacramento Bee)
• In a sea of bad news about climate change and democracy, Oregon gives Eric Holthaus hope. (Grist)

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