U.S. Energy News

California breaks records for solar production and demand

SOLAR: California’s independent system operator meets nearly 50 percent of its power demand with solar, setting a new record. (Greentech Media)

• A New Mexico wind project is in jeopardy after the Air Force finds 61 of the proposed 114 turbines would get in the way of military training flight paths. (Portland Business Journal)
• Researchers explore how cultural attitudes affect whether people perceive wind turbines to be a thing of beauty or an eyesore. (Nexus Media)

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• A boom in energy storage is good news for wind and solar, because it helps extend the availability of renewable energy. (Washington Post)
• A new FERC rule that opens wholesale markets to energy storage could help the market grow to 50 GW over the next decade, but that will depend on state policies, according to a new report. (Utility Dive)

• As electricity demand drops, utilities are encouraging customers to buy electric vehicles. (Quartz)
• California utilities are offering thousands of dollars in discounts on new electric BMWs. (Utility Dive)

• The Iowa Senate approves controversial legislation that includes provisions to scale back the state’s energy efficiency program. (Des Moines Register)
• Chicago is avoiding much of the public backlash other cities have faced as it transitions streetlights to high-efficiency LEDs. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUELS: ExxonMobil partners with Synthetic Genomics to scale up production of algae-based biofuel. (Fast Company)

• The Interior Department should be “a partner” with oil and gas companies that want to drill on public land, says Secretary Ryan Zinke. (Associated Press)
• Oil and gas companies have few incentives to invest in renewables, which come with unfamiliar regulations and yield smaller returns, experts say. (Houston Chronicle)

• The Trump administration’s plan to expand U.S. offshore drilling threatens more than 2.5 million coastal jobs for roughly two years worth of oil, according to an ocean conservation nonprofit. (Huffington Post)
• Senate Democrats ask Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to extend the comment period for a the offshore drilling plan, which is set to close on Friday. (The Hill)

PIPELINES: Russian agents used social media to stir up protests against Florida’s Sabal Trail pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. (Palm Beach Post, Detroit Free Press)

COAL: Coal country could be harmed if President Trump imposes tariffs on steel and aluminum. (CNN Money)

COAL ASH: Environmentalists say the EPA’s proposed changes to coal ash regulations would give states and utilities more flexibility in deciding how coal ash is stored, effectively gutting Obama-era safeguards. (USA Today)

• A coalition representing utilities and renewable energy providers gives FERC five priorities for wholesale electricity market reforms. (Utility Dive)
• The benefits of Obama-era regulations, including those related to coal ash and clean water, far outweighed the costs and didn’t hurt jobs or economic growth, according to an annual report from the White House. (Vox)

CARBON TAX: A group of young conservatives led by the Yale College Republicans endorses a carbon tax as means to fight climate change. (New York Times)

• Some of the world’s biggest cities are responsible for 60 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than previously estimated, according to a new report. (National Geographic)
• The United Nations names former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to be a special envoy for climate action. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY: The Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore drilling is a gift to the oil industry and a dismissal of the American public, writes an author and MacArthur fellow. (The Hill)

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