Southwest Energy News

Arizona governor signs bill exempting coal from sales tax

COAL: The Arizona governor signs a bill into law exempting coal from a sales tax in a last-ditch effort to save the largest coal plant in the West from closing next year. (Arizona Republic)

ALSO: New Mexico regulators give a utility 13 days to tell them what caused a fire at one of its coal plants last month. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

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WIND:
• Oklahoma lawmakers give initial approval for a plan to end tax credits for the wind industry. (Tulsa World)
• The amount Oklahoma electricity customers would pay for the massive Wind Catcher project would be capped at $1.3 billion under the terms of legal settlement that some project supporters have signed. (The Oklahoman)
• Two Texas wind farms are set to get upgrades that will improve reliability and output. (Renewables Now)

SOLAR:
• County commissioners approve a rezoning request from the developer of a 100 MW solar installation to be built near Colorado Springs. (Colorado Springs Gazette)
• The San Antonio Housing Authority is hoping to win a national grant challenge with its solar-powered wireless mesh network. (Rivard Report)

ENERGY STORAGE:
• A Tucson utility ranks second in the nation for per capita additions to its energy storage resources, according to a new report. (Arizona Daily Star)
• Austin’s utility is recognized for its integration of solar plus storage. (Greentech Media)

BIOMASS: The EPA’s recent announcement that biomass will be considered carbon neutral is a big win for an Oklahoma lobbying group with close ties to Scott Pruitt. (InsideClimate News)

PIPELINES: A Houston pipeline operator with ties to Phillips 66 plans to build a pipeline to transport crude from the Permian Basin to southeast Texas. (Houston Chronicle)

POLITICS: The four Democrats running for governor of Colorado are opposed to drilling near the Great Sand Dunes National Park, a stand current Gov. John Hickenlooper isn’t ready to take yet. (Colorado Independent)

OIL AND GAS:
• Advocates are “stunned” by a judge’s reversal on their claims against oil and gas development near Chaco Canyon in New Mexico. (E&E News)
A Texas lawmaker pushes for tougher enforcement of pollution rules, saying some fines levied have been “inconsequential.” (Houston Public Media)
• A state judge rejects a northern Colorado city’s rules establishing 750-foot setbacks for oil and gas development in the latest legal blow to cities seeking to establish industry safeguards. (Denver Post)
• With improvements in technology, Texas’s Permian Basin could surpass a Saudi Arabia oilfield to become the most prolific region in the world, some energy experts say. (Bloomberg)
• Texas Gov. Greg Abbott predicts a “prolific expansion” along the Gulf Coast, led by oil and gas development. (Times Record News)

UTILITIES: An Oklahoma utility and Pueblo, Colorado’s embattled power provider are among the small to medium-sized companies being eyed for consolidation, energy analysts say. (Forbes)

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RENEWABLE ENERGY: Nevada advocates say clean energy jobs are a key force in reviving the state’s economy. (Northern Nevada Business Weekly)

COMMENTARY:
• A diverse mix of environmentalists, clean energy advocates and former policy makers make the case for a Western regional transmission grid. (Greentech Media)
• Our country needs policies that will boost the growth of solar energy, not disrupt it, says a Nevada congresswoman who recently co-authored a bill seeking to repeal recent solar tariffs. (The Hill)
• A recent report by Nevada regulators about the potential impact from A clean energy initiative reads like an in-kind donation from the utility opposed to it, a newspaper columnist says. (Elko Daily Free Press)

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