U.S. Energy News

As utilities bet on big power plants, ratepayers pick up the tab

UTILITIES: Power companies in six states have pushed billions of dollars in costs to ratepayers for projects that either failed or could not compete economically. (The Intercept)

ALSO:
• Advocates in Ohio say the state’s bribery scandal is part of a broader push against renewable energy in the state. (Allegheny Front)
• Despite spending billions to improve resiliency since Superstorm Sandy, 1.4 million New Jersey utility customers were left without power by last week’s Tropical Storm Isaias. (NJ Spotlight)

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OIL & GAS:
• The EPA is reportedly planning new rules that would further weaken oversight of methane emissions. (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
• Oil companies are lobbying for liability protections in case workers sue them over COVID-19 exposure. (Drilled)
• The Interior Department proposes a new rule that would lower the royalties oil and gas companies pay to produce on public land. (The Hill)
Energy companies are operating 247 oil and gas rigs nationally, a record low for the industry. (Houston Chronicle)

PIPELINES:
• A court-ordered review of the environmental impacts of the Dakota Access pipeline may directly conflict with the Trump administration’s overhaul of the National Environmental Policy Act, legal experts say. (E&E News, subscription)
• With additional delays to study the Dakota Access pipeline’s environmental impact, the presidential election could decide the fate of the project. (HuffPost)

EFFICIENCY:
• Minneapolis officials propose an “inclusive financing” program for energy efficiency that would let residents borrow money for energy efficiency improvements without using conventional loans. (Energy News Network)
• A Maine efficiency agency expanded its LED program for public schools just as the coronavirus pandemic struck, so many districts have taken advantage of empty buildings to upgrade systems and employ out-of-work contractors. (Energy News Network)

WIND: Wyoming regulators are working out the details of a new law that allows decommissioned wind turbine blades to be used as backfill in coal mine reclamation. (Casper Star-Tribune)

SOLAR: Manufacturer First Solar agrees to sell its North American operations and maintenance business as it seeks to streamline and focus on manufacturing thin-film solar modules. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: General Motors considers spinning off its electric vehicle operations as investors look to put money into electric vehicles but not legacy companies. (Bloomberg)

COAL:
Appalachian coal miners suffering from black lung disease continue their fight to get Congress to provide medical benefits and hold companies accountable. (Politico)
• A New Mexico lawmaker says investment and economic planning to reinvigorate areas hit by coal retirements are as important as buying clean energy to support communities in transition. (Greentech Media)

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RENEWABLES: Despite a slower transition from coal than other areas, Great Lakes states have potential to be the next hot spot for renewable energy development, some experts say. (S&P Global)

COMMENTARY: A Colorado lawmaker and a former New Mexico regulator say the West needs its own regional transmission operator. (Utility Dive)

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