Western Energy News

Colorado cities seek a clearer path to 100% renewables

RENEWABLES: While Colorado’s newly elected governor wants the state to run on 100 percent clean energy by 2040, many local communities that have adopted similar pledges aren’t entirely sure how they’ll meet their goals. (Colorado Sun)

ALSO: A Montana environmental group is suing the state’s largest utility and members of the Public Service Commission over their failure to develop clean energy projects as spelled out by law. (Billings Gazette)

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BIOFUELS:
• A controversial wood-burning power plant in Hawaii is in a race to start production in order to qualify for a crucial federal tax credit. (Honolulu Civil Beat)
• The U.S. EPA awards a Utah refinery a waiver from U.S. ethanol requirements, part of a growing trend under the Trump administration. (Reuters)

UTILITIES:
• Idaho regulators are raising tough questions about the $5.3 billion sale of a Washington utility to a Canadian company which is partially owned by the Province of Ontario. (The Spokesman Review)
• A newly elected New Mexico regulator says he’ll treat the state’s largest utility fairly even though it ran an aggressive campaign against him. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

NUCLEAR:
• An Oregon company is in a global race to develop the nation’s first small-scale nuclear reactor and several Utah cities are signed up to be customers. (Deseret News)
• Meanwhile, small-scale nuclear reactors are being pitched as possible solutions to Alaska’s energy challenges. (Alaska Public Media)

OIL AND GAS:
• NASA raises concerns about the Trump administration’s plan to allow oil and gas development off the coast of Alaska where rockets sometimes land after being launched from the space agency’s base in Fairbanks. (Fairbanks Daily News Miner)
• New Mexico sets a new record for a monthly oil and gas lease sale as the outgoing land commissioner continues to raise concerns about lax regulatory enforcement in the state’s Permian Basin. (Associated Press)
• A northern Colorado city is considering adopting new regulations after an oil and gas company makes an unsuccessful bid to drill near the site of a former nuclear weapons plant. (Boulder Daily Camera)
• An oil and gas company that owns 750 wells in western Colorado is still facing substantial debt problems after emerging from bankruptcy reorganization last year. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

WIND: Wyoming will pay two communities in the southern part of the state $5 million to offset some of the possible construction impacts from a pair of proposed wind farms. (Casper Star Tribune)

SOLAR:
• Albuquerque is partnering with New Mexico’s largest utility to build a new solar generating station to help the city boost its clean energy use. (Associated Press)
• Students at an Arizona elementary school are helping local scientists to understand how well plants grow underneath solar panels. (Arizona Daily Star)

CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES: The daughter of a man killed in the Camp Fire sues California’s largest utility, saying it knew of hazardous conditions days before the blaze erupted but failed to shut off power. (San Francisco Chronicle)

TRANSMISSION: One of the largest utilities in the U.S. buys a 53-mile underwater transmission line that helps deliver power to San Francisco. (Utility Dive)

COAL: Recent lawsuits add to the problems faced by a Montana coal-fired power plant. (Montana Standard)

COMMENTARY:
• Utah residents will have a front row seat to witness the nation’s transition to clean energy, says the chief technology officer of a local solar company. (Deseret News)
• California’s Congressional leaders must keep the state’s coast off-limits to Big Oil, says the CEO of a local environmental group. (The Hill)
• The vice president of Arizona’s largest utility says a local newspaper columnist belittled their commitment to clean energy. (Arizona Republic)
• Having an ocean view “disrupted” by wind turbines is a miniscule price to pay when weighed against the benefits of stopping or at least slowing the devastating, worldwide effects of climate change, say the editorial board of five California newspapers. (McClatchy)

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