Western Energy News

California cities more forward with tougher building codes

EFFICIENCY: California regulators unanimously approved seven new local ordinances across the state that exceed 2019 energy efficiency building codes, including one that will require new buildings to be all-electric. (Bloomberg Law, subscription)

RENEWABLES: Analysts say California’s grid operator having to manage oversupply of renewable energy through generation curtailments is a “stunning” example of the challenges U.S. states face from rapid renewables growth. (S&P Global)

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COAL:
• Republican senators push to ensure that fossil-fuel companies, and coal in particular, aren’t excluded from the bailout program being administered by BlackRock on behalf of the federal government. (Bloomberg Environment)
• Analysts are questioning whether the coal industry can survive the coronavirus pandemic because of a sharp decline in coal use last month. (E&E News, subscription)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Tesla is reportedly set to furlough non-critical employees without pay and cut executive salaries as much as 30% through Q2 while its operations remain suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Bloomberg)
• It’s doubtful that the company will achieve its goal to deliver 500,000 vehicles this year, given the coronavirus crisis and related economic concerns. (Greentech Media)

OIL & GAS:
Forecasts indicate a reversal of the U.S. oil boom because of the coronavirus pandemic, with a survey of energy companies in Colorado, Wyoming, and Oklahoma showing expectations have decreased around future activity. (Axios, Kansas City Fed)
ConocoPhillips is demobilizing its operations on Alaska’s North Slope in a bid to reduce the number of workers at risk of contracting the coronavirus. (Anchorage Daily News)
Marathon Petroleum Corp reportedly plans to suspend operations at its Gallup, New Mexico refinery next week due to the coronavirus pandemic and collapsing wholesale gas prices. (BloombergQuint, CNBC)

WIND: Officials in a Wyoming county are concerned about the influx of contract workers, mostly from out of state, for major wind energy projects amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Rawlins Times)

POLLUTION: Colorado environmentalists are urging Gov. Jared Polis to suspend coal and oil operations in the state, citing new research indicating air pollution impacts coronavirus death rates. (E&E News, subscription)

STORAGE: Five California cities will tap into a new 15 MW/60 MWh lithium-ion battery energy storage facility to meet anticipated load growth. (Environment + Energy Leader)

PIPELINES: Federal regulators find a proposed project of 135 miles of oil and gas pipelines in the Permian Basin would not have a “significant” impact on the environment. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)

UTILITIES: NorthWestern Energy is helping start a $10,000 small business grant program for southwest Montana. (KHQ)

COMMENTARY:
The organization behind a project monitoring methane emissions in the Permian Basin says its preliminary data “is a wake-up call in the Permian.” (Environmental Defense Fund)
A trio of energy and utility consultants say states including Colorado and New Mexico could accelerate their clean energy transition as a form of economic stimulus to help their regional economies recover after the coronavirus crisis. (Utility Dive)

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