U.S. Energy News

Congress boosts funding for clean energy in spending bill

POLICY: Congress increases funding for DOE clean energy programs in an omnibus spending bill passed early Friday, rejecting requests from the Trump administration to gut the programs. (Vox, New York Times)

WIND:
• New Mexico regulators approve Xcel Energy’s $1.6 billion plan to build two large wind farms near the Texas-New Mexico border. (Albuquerque Journal)
• An environmental group’s report says the majority of the Atlantic Coast states have offshore wind potential that exceeds their electricity consumption. (Windpower Engineering)
• Ohio state Rep. Bill Seitz distributes a wind energy study on theoretical turbine incidents though other research says there is no overall trend of such incidents. (Midwest Energy News)

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SOLAR:
• An Arizona utility and Tesla reach a settlement in an antitrust lawsuit over solar installation fees. (KJZZ)
• Mayors from 180 U.S. cities write a letter calling for increased solar energy use, saying communities “need to act quickly to continue our progress toward renewable energy.” (Smart Cities Dive)
• A ranking lists the top 15 developers, engineers and other companies that make up the downstream U.S. commercial solar industry. (Greentech Media)
• Chinese solar manufacturer JinkoSolar could win incentives to build the first U.S. panel plant since Trump imposed tariffs on imported solar modules. (Bloomberg)

STORAGE: The Trump administration’s new tariffs on steel could increase battery-installation costs by as much as 3 percent. (Bloomberg)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Ford is teaming up with India’s Mahindra & Mahindra to develop an electric vehicle. (Reuters)

EFFICIENCY: The Trump administration’s new budget and tax reforms are helping the business case for combined heat and power. (Greentech Media)

OIL AND GAS:
• Scientists discover that two massive sinkholes in West Texas are part of a bigger problem caused by decades of oil activity. (Texas Tribune)
• Despite natural gas power generation seeing record declines in 2017, it still remains the country’s top fuel source. (Greentech Media)

COAL: Duke Energy tells shareholders it could be out of the coal business within 30 years, which will involve the development of new carbon-free technologies. (Charlotte Business Journal)

POLLUTION: The damage from toxic spills during Hurricane Harvey, which struck the nation’s petrochemical hub in Texas, may be far greater than authorities reported. (Associated Press, Houston Chronicle)

NUCLEAR: SCANA will pay shareholders $529 million in dividends from its failed nuclear project in South Carolina, which is more than a quarter of what the utility is charging electric customers for the project. (Post and Courier)

GRID: House lawmakers grill FEMA on why over 100,000 residents of Puerto Rico are still without power after Hurricane Maria, saying “no one would leave a state without power for six months.” (The Hill)

EPA: A new EPA policy that blocks the use of non-public scientific data could undermine a federal review of the risks posed by soot and other air pollution. (InsideClimate News)

POLITICS: The main U.S. coal miners’ union will endorse two Democrats running for Congress in West Virginia, giving a boost to Democrats trying to win over a constituency that voted heavily for President Trump. (Reuters)

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CLIMATE:
• Chevron lawyers say energy demand — not extraction — drives greenhouse gas emissions, while defending the company from a lawsuit that accuses five oil companies of climate-related damages. (E&E News)
• Climate models that oil companies are using to defend themselves from the lawsuit are outdated and have routinely underestimated the rate of global warming. (Grist)

COMMENTARY:
• The Atlantic Coast Pipeline hasn’t received final approval, but it may already be violating permits, says an environmental policy analyst. (NRDC)
• A lobbying group for GM, Ford and Toyota is pushing bad science in an effort to weaken clean car standards, says a columnist for ThinkProgress.

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