Western Energy News

Coal states push for completion of power plant study

COAL: Montana and Wyoming utility regulators are among those from six coal states urging the Trump administration to wrap up an inquiry into whether coal and nuclear plant closures are threatening the electric grid and reconsider. (Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• Critics are still highly skeptical of a small company’s proposal to install carbon capture at a New Mexico coal plant. (Durango Herald)
• There is little public information about the company in line to buy bankrupt coal operator Blackjewel’s Wyoming “zombie” mines. (Casper Star-Tribune)
Some analysts are optimistic over Powder River Basin coal mine consolidations and possible increased exports despite a decline in demand from coal-fired utility retirements. (S&P Global)
A Wyoming state representative is among leaders in the state looking elsewhere for development opportunities as coal revenue continues to decline. (Cowboy State Daily)

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UTILITIES:
California regulators launched an investigation to consider the “ratemaking and other implications” of bankrupt utility PG&E’s reorganization proposal. (Utility Dive)
A draft plan reviewed by Arizona regulators would prevent electric companies from shutting off power to customers if the forecast predicted that temperatures over the next five days would rise to 105 degrees; the original proposal set the standard at an “unrealistic” 95 degrees. (Arizona Capitol Times)

GRID:
Federal regulators approve a plan giving California’s grid operator more authority to contract with outside sources to improve reliability. (Politico)
An apartment project that features a solar and battery system is part of a broader effort by a Utah utility to modernize the state’s grid. (Utility Dive)

TRANSPORTATION:
Electric and hybrid vehicle owners in Washington start paying a $75 annual car-tab fee this month; critics say it could add financial strain to thousands of cab and ride-hailing drivers. (Seattle Times)
• A Hawaii team focused on electrification of government fleets and a Colorado team focused on electrifying ride-hailing services are among those accepted to Rocky Mountain Institute’s Mobility Innovation Lab. (Green Biz)

CLEAN ENERGY: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan signs a new tax on heating oil into law to encourage city residents to switch to clean heating systems. (Seattle Times)

OIL & GAS: New Mexico State University announced a $100 million boost from the U.S. Department of Energy to study how fracking waste water can be recycled and reused; the five-year grant will create the Energy-Water Desalination Hub. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)

BIOFUELS: Construction of Oregon’s $320 million Red Rock biofuel facility is advancing and the facility is expected to begin operations gasifying woody biomass projects in Spring 2020. (Herald and News) 

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ACTIVISM: A group of high school students urge New Mexico’s governor to declare a climate emergency and use oil revenues to pay for a transition to carbon-free energy. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
A California energy official and a climate policy researcher say low-income families must not be left behind in the state’s climate fight. (Utility Dive)
An editorial board says California’s increased gas prices in the wake of the drone attack on Saudi oil facilities last month is because of state policies that made it dependent on Saudi oil, unlike most of the U.S. (Wall Street Journal)
A Wyoming hotelier says investing in the growth of the state’s tourism industry will help diversify its economy in the wake of the boom and bust related to overdependence of the energy sector. (Cody Enterprise)

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