Western Energy News

California grid could see major expansion under proposal

GRID: California lawmakers are again considering legislation that would expand the state’s power grid to include as many as 14 Western states. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

ALSO: California regulators approve $10 million in grants for two microgrid projects. (RTO Insider)

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OIL AND GAS:
• A cottage industry has developed around helping the oil industry keep pace with climate change in Alaska, including a company that helps keep permafrost frozen. (NPR)
• Utah drillers might start using local frac sand rather than importing it from Wisconsin. (Salt Lake Tribune)
• The BLM’s last public hearing over plans to drill in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge gives some insight into likely court battles ahead. (Anchorage Daily News)
• In Utah, a California company is extracting petroleum from rocks using a technology that doesn’t require water or produce greenhouse gas emissions. (Deseret News)

COAL:
• Environmentalists are protesting an Oregon utility’s attempt to keep parts of its coal plant review secret. (Utility Dive)
• Navajo environmental groups filed a federal lawsuit challenging the permit granted to an Arizona mine that supplies coal to a plant set to close next year. (Associated Press)

GEOTHERMAL: Federal forest managers in New Mexico reject a plan to develop geothermal energy sources on land considered sacred by local tribes. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES:
• The loss of energy produced by a  Hawaiian geothermal plant recently destroyed by lava flows will be offset by burning fossil fuels until more renewable energy projects can come online, state regulators say. (Hawaii News Now)
• Idaho regulators approve rate decreases for local customers of Avista Corp. as a result of recent state and federal tax cuts. (Spokesman-Review)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Some clean energy experts worry about California utilities’ ability to pay for a $775 million plan to build out electric vehicle infrastructure given the mounting liability costs from last year’s wildfires. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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NUCLEAR: U.S. Senate candidates in Nevada spar over who could ensure the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage project never advances. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

COMMENTARY:
A Nevada clean energy initiative deserves to be put on the ballot, says the editorial board of the Las Vegas Sun.
• The $140 million grant Utah received to expand a geothermal research lab is good news, but the state should do more to advance clean energy, says the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune.
• Creating its own municipal utility might be a good move for a southern Colorado city, says a retired energy consultant and an energy lawyer. (Pueblo Chieftain)
• California should rethink using fuel taxes to pay for roads as a result of the coming surge of electric and autonomous vehicles, says a transportation engineer. (Orange County Register)
• Colorado should follow California’s lead and adopt its own vehicle emissions standards, says a county commissioner. (Denver Post)
California’s new rooftop solar mandate will make homes healthy, sustainable and part of the solution to maintaining grid safety and reliability, says a state regulator. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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