WIND: The Biden administration announces an agreement to open federal waters off the central California coast to offshore wind leasing starting in 2022, which could spark a boom in floating turbines due to the region’s deep waters. (Los Angeles Times; E&E News, subscription)

UTILITIES:
• The San Diego City Council narrowly approves a 10-year deal with San Diego Electric & Gas amid calls to create its own electricity and gas utility. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Coloradans could face utility surcharges as high as $550 as a result of natural gas prices skyrocketing during the February freeze. (Colorado Sun)
• As many as 87,000 Oregonians risk having utility service cut off as the state prepares to lift coronavirus-related shutoff bans. (Portland Tribune)

OIL AND GAS:
• New Mexico enacts rules aimed at reducing venting, flaring, and other loss of natural gas from oil and gas fields. (Associated Press)
• Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney tries to tie high gas prices to the Biden administration’s oil and gas policies, but evidence doesn’t support her claims. (Oil City News)

CARBON CAPTURE: Environmental groups ask the Department of Energy to require an environmental impact statement for Enchant Energy’s proposal to retrofit the San Juan Generating Station with carbon capture equipment. (NM Political Report) 

COAL:
• Coal production nationwide rebounded slightly during the first months of 2021, but in the West, production and employment numbers continue to fall. (S&P Global)
• The Biden administration is backing research into extracting rare earth minerals from coal ash, but numerous technical obstacles remain. (Grist)
The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear a challenge to coal mining company Westmoreland’s bid to get bankruptcy relief from making payments to retirees’ health benefits fund. (Bloomberg Law, subscription

PUBLIC LANDS: The Bureau of Land Management gave the go-ahead last week to a proposed 24,000-acre geothermal project and transmission line in Washoe County, Nevada. (Renewable Energy News)

NUCLEAR: Small modular reactors could be economically competitive with other energy sources if current cost projections are realized, according to a Pacific Northwest National Laboratory report. (news release)

BIOMASS: Hawaii’s Supreme Court rules state regulators improperly halted work on a biomass plant. (Hawaii Public Radio)

SOLAR:
• A Southern California school district plans to install solar canopies at 21 schools. (Solar Power World)
• Researchers at the University of Arizona find installing low-cost holograms in solar panels can increase energy output. (news release)

CLIMATE:
• State treasurers from Arizona and Idaho are among a West Virginia-led group threatening to pull assets from financial institutions if they stop investing in fossil fuels. (Axios)
• Climate scientist Ben Santer says he is cutting ties with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory after it invited a conservative commentator with a history of spreading climate misinformation to hold a book talk. (HuffPost)

COMMENTARY:
An Aspen Skiing Company executive urges Colorado factions to overcome differences and pass a proposed climate bill. (Daily Camera)
• A columnist says a solar bill being debated by California lawmakers would kill rooftop solar in the state. (Napa Valley Register)

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.