LITHIUM: Drilling begins at a General Motors-backed effort to extract lithium for batteries and produce geothermal power at southern California’s Salton Sea. (Los Angeles Times)

GRID:
Southwest Power Pool, Xcel Energy and California Independent System Operator vie to form a Western regional transmission organization. (Utility Dive)
California’s independent grid operator restarts the process to expand its Western energy imbalance market to include day-ahead trading. (RTO Insider, subscription)
Tree-toppling winds in Washington state knock out power to about 40,000 homes. (Spokesman-Review)

HYDROPOWER: A Hawaii utility plans to convert an old irrigation system into a pumped hydropower storage facility to help the island of Kauai meet renewable energy goals. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
Honolulu’s city council weighs providing property tax exemptions to renewable energy projects, which saw a significant tax hike last year. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser, subscription)
Dozens of Pahrump, Nevada, residents express concerns about a proposed utility-scale solar development’s potential impacts to wildlife habitat, public lands access, and views. (Pahrump Valley Times) 

UTILITIES: Pacific Gas & Electric installed 300 new weather stations this year to help guide its wildfire threat response. (news release)

ELECTRIFICATION: A southern California city passes an ordinance requiring new buildings to use electricity for heating and clothes dryers and to be equipped with solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. (San Diego Union-Tribune) 

COAL:
• A California city that banned coal storage and shipping at its port agrees to allow a company to continue storing Asia-bound coal from Utah for four additional years. (Associated Press)
• Wyoming regulators revise a state law that mandated the addition of carbon capture equipment to coal plants before retiring them to allow exemptions and limit rate hikes to pay for the work. (WyoFile)

OIL & GAS:
The company behind last month’s southern California oil spill is facing a U.S. Justice Department probe, seven other investigations, and at least 14 lawsuits; financial filings suggest it may not be able to cover cleanup costs. (E&E News, subscription)
Researchers find methane emissions from Utah’s Uinta Basin oil and gas field fell alongside market-driven oil production decreases, but the rate of leakage stayed constant. (news release)
Regulators limit Permian Basin oil and gas wastewater injection volumes after seismic activity substantially increases in the area as oil production approaches a record high. (Alamogordo Daily News, Reuters)
Federal analysts expect domestic fossil fuel production to increase for another year due to unusually low temperatures and high energy prices. (KUNC)

TRANSPORTATION: New Mexico regulators approve utilities’ $11 million transportation electrification plans that include a buildout of charging infrastructure and electric vehicle education efforts. (news release)  

COMMENTARY:
An Arizona activist says regulators’ recent rejection of Arizona Public Service’s rate hike request indicates “the days of buying rubber-stamp regulators are over.” (Arizona Republic)
A Nevada advocate says provisions in the Build Back Better Act could help Indigenous nations on the front lines of climate change with investments in clean energy, transportation and new jobs. (Las Vegas Sun)