Western Energy News

California utility cuts power to thousands amid wildfire risk

UTILITIES: As part of an aggressive new plan to prevent wildfires, California’s largest utility shuts off power to thousands of customers in counties affected by dry and windy conditions; the prolonged outages are driving interest in the residential battery market. (Sacramento Bee, Quartz)

ALSO: Nevada university regents vote to stay with the state’s largest utility as customers and begin negotiations to enter a fixed-rate renewable energy program. (Nevada Independent)

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OIL & GAS:
• The Trump administration has no plans to vet the environmental impacts of aerial surveys on Alaska wildlife despite concerns raised by conservation groups and federal scientists. (Bloomberg)
• Oil production in Wyoming is at its highest level in 25 years, a trend state geologists say is being driven by horizontal drilling. (Wyoming Public Media)
• Oil and gas-related spills and leaks in Colorado were slightly down in 2018 compared to the year before, according to a report from a statewide conservation group. (Longmont Times-Call)
• A Texas company plans to drill in a national wildlife refuge in eastern Utah after agreeing to take several steps to protect migratory birds and threatened plant and fish species. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

NUCLEAR:
• New Mexico’s governor says it would be “economic malpractice” to open a storage site for spent nuclear fuel in the southeast part of the state. (Albuquerque Journal)
• Members of a House subcommittee hold a hearing near a shuttered California nuclear plant to highlight the need for a permanent national storage site. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Even though a federal appeals court has handed the Trump administration a victory in its efforts to greenlight the Keystone XL pipeline, many legal challenges remain that make it unlikely the project will be built anytime soon. (InsideClimate News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• High tech changes are coming to California as the state implements the electrification of its transportation sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (CALmatters)
• New Mexico environmental regulators are seeking public comments on their plan to spend millions of dollars from the state’s settlement with Volkswagen on building electric vehicle charging stations and buying alternative-fueled vehicles for local governments. (Albuquerque Journal)

COAL:
• A string of coal company bankruptcies has Wyoming counties scrambling to collect taxes. (Associated Press)
• The University of Wyoming will work with a national “clean coal” company at its local testing facility in an effort to help the state’s struggling coal industry. (Casper Star-Tribune)

TRANSPORTATION: The Trump administration has rejected a last-minute plea from automakers to restart negotiations with California over its plans to weaken vehicle emissions standards. (Los Angeles Times)

COMMENTARY: A newly appointed Arizona regulator “will have to fight the gravitational pull of the big utilities” if she wants to represent customers on the commission, says a columnist for the Arizona Daily Star.

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