U.S. Energy News

Company will close two coal-fired power plants in Texas

COAL: Vistra Energy Corp says its subsidiary will close two coal-fired plants in Texas that are “economically challenged,” laying off about 600 people next year. (Greentech Media, The Hill)

ALSO:
• The upcoming closure of a coal-fired power plant in Arizona could economically devastate the Navajo tribe. (Bloomberg)
• The nation’s coal industry is finding little relief from the planned elimination of the Clean Power Plan. (Los Angeles Times)

PIPELINES:
• FERC conditionally approves the controversial Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines in a 2-1 vote, with the dissenter saying she could not support the projects “given the environmental impacts and possible superior alternatives.” (Associated Press)
• Experts say two high-profile setbacks dealt to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration are not necessarily a sign the project is in trouble(Southeast Energy News)
• FERC rejected conducting an examination of how the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley Pipelines fit in the nation’s energy policy and sidestepped concerns about the long-term environmental effects. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• FERC’s chairman says a court ruling in August that requires the agency to consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas pipelines won’t have a “significant” impact on its reviews. (RTO Insider)

OIL & GAS:
• With Republicans controlling the federal government, Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could soon be open to oil and gas exploration. (New York Times)
• Natural gas is leaking from abandoned wells in Kansas as companies argue over who is responsible for fixing it. (Associated Press)
• An oil rig in a Louisiana lake exploded on Sunday and seven injuries have been reported, though the exact cause is still uncertain. (Times-Picayune)
• Thousands of barrels of oil spilled into Gulf waters off Louisiana’s coast after an underwater pipe broke open on Friday. (Reuters)
• A House subcommittee is considering a bill that would expand the distribution of revenue from some oil and gas leasing to new states. (Natural Gas Intel)

UTILITIES: Less than a year after state funding for microgrids was rejected by the Illinois legislature, the utility ComEd is turning to ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)

TECHNOLOGY:
• Researchers at MIT use sulfur, oxygen and saltwater to create a battery with a chemical cost of about $1 per kilowatt hour, compared to $200 per kilowatt hour for lithium-ion batteries. (Quartz)
• A government lab in Colorado is testing a way to store renewable energy over long periods of time using microbes and hydrogen, in a process known as “power-to-gas.” (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• Maine’s largest municipal solar array, composed of 2,944 panels, is set to go online this week in South Portland. (Portland Press Herald)
• A truck in South Carolina with eight solar panels on the roof  is operating as “the world’s first 100-percent solar powered clinic.”  (Associated Press)
• A Swiss teams takes first place in a solar decathlon in Denver that challenges college teams to build highly energy-efficient solar houses. (Denver Post)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Tesla fires hundreds of workers after completing its annual performance reviews. (New York Times)
• Arizona’s governor joins a plan to create a corridor of EV charging stations across several western states. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Board members of SCANA Corp. who oversaw the now-failed Summer nuclear project in South Carolina lacked nuclear expertise and were compensated more than $200,000 in stocks and fees. (Post and Courier)

POLITICS: President Trump nominates a climate denier to lead a White House office that coordinates environmental and energy policies across the government. (Washington Post)

POLICY: FERC’s chairman says he is “sympathetic” to an Energy Department proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants, but said he wouldn’t support anything that could “blow up the market.” (The Hill, Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
• An energy expert says repealing the Clean Power Plan can’t save the coal industry and will only make electricity more expensive. (The Hill)
• With the closure of two coal plants in Texas, more than half of the country’s coal plants have now retired or committed to retire since 2010, say directors of the Sierra Club Beyond Coal Campaign. (Huffington Post)
• EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has “tried to cook the books” to hide the Clean Power Plan’s enormous climate and health benefits, say policy analysts at the Natural Resources Defense Council. (GreenBiz)

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