Western Energy News

BP’s departure may not be good news for Alaska

OIL AND GAS: The privately-owned buyer of BP’s oil and gas interests in Alaska’s North Slope has a troubling history of safety and environment violations, and officials say the deal could mean a $30 million hit to the state’s already strained budget. (InsideClimate News, Anchorage Daily News)

ALSO:
• New Mexico officials project a more than $900 million budget surplus, largely due to oil and gas revenues. (Associated Press)
• Colorado’s governor says market forces are the main driver of the oil and gas industry’s future health in the state, rather than Senate Bill 181, which revamped state regulation. (Denver Post)
• Colorado state regulators agree to process new oil and gas permits in Weld County within 60 days as as anti-fracking activists insist no new permits be issued while statewide oil and gas rules are being crafted. (Denver Post)
• Portland’s mayor considers new regulations that would restrict the activities of petroleum companies citywide. (The Oregonian)
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians voiced strong opposition to Puget Sound Energy’s liquefied natural gas project and called for its permit to be denied during a public comment hearing. (Indian Country Today)

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UTILITIES:
• Nevada Energy is on track to reach 50 percent renewables ahead of its 2030 schedule, citing progress on renewables, reliability and cost control. (Nevada Appeal)
• A new report finds Nevada was the state with the largest decrease in electricity prices over the past decade, in part due to the state’s large share of natural gas generation. (Nevada Independent)

ELECTRIFICATION: Following Berkeley’s lead, Menlo Park is ushering in one of the most restrictive natural gas bans in California requiring heating systems in all new homes and buildings in the city to run on electricity by the beginning of next year. (Mercury News)

COAL:
A Judge says bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel can sell its West Virginia and Wyoming mines separately. (Casper Star-Tribune)
Blackjewel says negotiations between Contura Energy and the federal government continue and the potential sale of two Wyoming coal mines is not “dead,” meanwhile, workers will lose their health insurance after this weekend. (Gillette News Record)

WIND: Xcel Energy says it expects to begin construction on a 522 MW wind farm in New Mexico later this year. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
A housing development in Orange County that has been plagued by lawsuits for four years could be the first required to add solar panels under a new California law. (Los Angeles Times)
• Oahu solar permits are up 68 percent from last year; 369 permits were issued for for photovoltaic systems in July compared to 219 last year. (Pacific Business News)

NUCLEAR:
• A bill that would allow nuclear power to qualify as a renewable energy source has been introduced in the California legislature. (KSBY)
• Federal officials say tests prove an eastern Idaho nuclear facility can operate as designed to treat 900,000 gallons of liquid radioactive waste. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A small Oregon town will soon launch an electric car-sharing program. (GovTech)

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CLIMATE: The mountain town of Basalt, Colorado becomes the fourth in the state to pass a resolution declaring climate change an emergency. (Aspen Daily News)

COMMENTARY:
• A columnist says that BP’s sale of its oil and gas interests in Alaska’s North Slope is the latest example of majors continue to retreat from traditional strongholds. (Bloomberg)
• A Boulder City, Nevada official says the city’s investment in renewable energy ensures that new energy developed in the state can help grow its economy. (Boulder City Review)

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