U.S. Energy News

Complaints mount against utility regulators in Southwest

CLEAN POWER PLAN: New Jersey is the latest state to announce it will challenge the Clean Power Plan. (NJ.com)

RENEWABLES:
• The White House announces a $4 million plan to boost renewable energy development in rural Alaska. (Washington Post)
• Aspen, Colorado becomes the third U.S. city to run on 100 percent renewable energy. (Aspen Times)

POLICY:
• Ohio’s renewable and efficiency freeze sent “exactly the wrong message to small businesses and entrepreneurs at a time when the economy was struggling.” (Midwest Energy News)
How moderate Democrats may be turning the tide in California’s legislature when it comes to climate policy. (Los Angeles Times)

REGULATORS:
• A motion by an environmental group says New Mexico regulators are too “chummy” with utility executives. (Albuquerque Journal)
• A legal complaint seeks the removal of Arizona’s top utility regulator, accusing her of conflicts of interest. (Arizona Republic)

ELECTRIC CARS: Elon Musk says the Tesla Model 3, which is expected to cost $35,000, will be unveiled in March. (CNBC)

COAL:
• California passes a bill requiring the state’s pension funds to divest from coal. (The Guardian)
• An analysis finds 10 percent of U.S. coal in the last quarter was produced by companies in bankruptcy. (SNL)
• A study finds radioactivity levels in coal ash may be 10 times higher than in coal itself. (ClimateProgress)

SOLAR:
• Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the U.S. solar industry would continue to grow without the current 30% investment tax credit that companies want extended beyond 2016. (PV Magazine)
• Solar companies say they will stay out of Arizona regulatory elections if utilities do the same. (Arizona Republic)

WIND:
• Residents push back against a proposed wind farm near the scenic Hill Country of central Texas. (Dallas Morning News)
• A settlement will end a lawsuit over a proposed Colorado wind farm. (Colorado Springs Gazette)
• Alaska’s wind capacity increased 20-fold between 2007 and 2014, but still only provides 3 percent of the state’s electricity. (Yale E360)

GRID: The U.S. deployed 40 MW of grid-scale energy storage in the second quarter of 2015, a ninefold increase over last year. (Greentech Media)

NUCLEAR:
• South Carolina officials approve $700 million in cost overruns for two new nuclear reactors. (Reuters)
• A new study says a sweeping retirement of nuclear power reactors would make it “extremely difficult if not impossible” for the Clean Power Plan to succeed. (Greentech Media)
Federal inspectors are increasing oversight of a Massachusetts nuclear plant. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS:
• Texas regulators reject findings that a wastewater disposal well is to blame for a string of earthquakes. (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
• A survey finds major U.S. cities are ill-prepared for a major oil train derailment. (Associated Press)
• Researchers say the documentary film “Gasland” is a key driver of fracking opposition in the U.S. (The Guardian)

BIOFUELS: United Airlines will begin operating some U.S. flights on biofuel derived in part from agricultural waste. (Fast Company)

CALIFORNIA: The state’s drought means higher demand for electricity as farmers pump more groundwater to irrigate crops. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY:
• How utilities can use their retirees on the front lines of their fight against rooftop solar. (Intelligent Utility)
• Advocates throughout the West want the feds to “stop subsidizing the profits of coal companies on the backs of taxpayers.” (Huffington Post)

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