Western Energy News

Colorado power provider to face stronger oversight

UTILITIES: Colorado utility regulators will assume greater oversight of a wholesale power provider criticized by some of its co-op members for not shifting to clean energy fast enough. (Utility Dive, Energy News Network archive)

ALSO:
• A federal judge has ordered PG&E’s board of directors to visit the community of Paradise to better understand the devastation caused by its equipment that sparked a deadly wildfire last year. (Sacramento Bee)
• A second California government-run power program has obtained an investment-grade credit rating, another sign of community choice aggregators’ growing influence in the state. (Greentech Media)

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RENEWABLES: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signs legislation into law shifting the state to 100 percent clean energy by 2045. (InsideClimate News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• The largest electric vehicle public charging network is now getting all of its electricity from renewable sources, officials with the California company announced. (E&E News, subscription)
• An Australian company is seeking permission to mine for lithium near Death Valley, triggering environmentalists’ fears that Southern California could become the scene of a “white gold rush.” (Los Angeles Times)

OIL & GAS:
• An appeals court has ruled that federal land managers failed to consider the full impact permitting a handful of oil and gas wells would have on water resources in northwestern New Mexico, an area considered sacred by several local tribes. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
• A statewide group of Wyoming mineral owners has formed to push back against oil and gas operators forming monopolies in the eastern part of the state by locking up multiple leases. (Casper Star-Tribune)
• A London-based venture capital firm has made a second investment in a Sacramento company that converts natural gas into diesel. (Sacramento Business Journal)
• Wyoming’s governor is appointing a group to try to find a way to protect big game corridors while maintaining oil and gas development and mining in the state. (Casper Star-Tribune)

COAL:
• A major Wyoming coal producer is planning to file for bankruptcy this week, according to one published report. (Wall Street Journal, subscription)
• While Montana lawmakers fought over whether ratepayers should assume more debt for a troubled coal plant, a Bozeman Democrat successfully pushed through legislation refinancing an old debt that will now be paid off faster. (Billings Gazette)
• With coal plants closing across the Southwest, tribal communities look for new ways to heat their homes. (Navajo-Hopi Observer)

FUEL CELLS: A California-based fuel cell company posts strong revenue for the first quarter but continues to lose money just like its competition. (Greentech Media)

NUCLEAR: An Oregon company wants to build nuclear plants that are smaller, simpler and cheaper. (NPR)

PIPELINES: U.S. government attorneys say an environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline will be completed even though they think federal environmental laws don’t apply to the $8 billion project. (Associated Press)

BIOMASS: The former owners of a Colorado biomass plant have agreed to repay $2.6 million to resolve allegations they wrongly received reimbursements through a federal renewable energy program to pay for the project. (Denver Post)

PUBLIC LANDS: A Colorado congresswoman introduces legislation seeking to protect 741,000 acres of land, the latest of many efforts to designate new wilderness areas in the state. (Denver Post)

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RESEARCH: Scientists from Purdue University and other research institutions are proposing President Trump’s proposed southern border wall be replaced with a massive project consisting of solar panels, wind turbines and natural gas pipelines. (The Atlantic)

COMMENTARY: U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado needs to “take some dramatic steps to show voters he can walk the talk” on protecting the state’s public lands, say two members of a coalition trying to conserve a swath of western Colorado from new drilling and mining. (The Hill)

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