U.S. Energy News

Electric vehicle sales surging in California

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric vehicle sales rose over 90 percent in California during the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same time last year, thanks largely to Tesla and Chevrolet Bolt sales. (Los Angeles Times)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• Why 100% renewable energy goals — whether in a city like Atlanta or a small town like Abita Springs, Louisiana — are more than just symbolic. (Southeast Energy News)
• Small and average-size companies face challenges when it comes to harnessing solar and wind power, but some organizations are trying to lower the barriers. (Wall Street Journal)

WIND:
• A bill in Texas would prevent local governments from offering tax incentives for wind farms near military aviation facilities, paralleling a similar debate in North Carolina. (Times Record News, Southeast Energy News)
• The footprint for an Oregon wind farm being developed for Apple may be decreased with taller, more powerful turbines. (Portland Business Journal)
• The developer of a Wyoming wind project will offer a free program to train wind farm technicians and is setting its sights on unemployed coal miners. (New York Times)

UTILITIES: Utilities are re-branding themselves as energy service providers, offering customers solar panels, home batteries and energy saving tools. (Time)

REGULATION:
• The Trump administration’s efforts to loosen environmental regulations are beginning to pay off for the oil and gas industry, with one Oklahoma company scrapping its plans to prevent dangerous gas leaks. (New York Times)
• California regulators propose the strictest regulations in the country for underground natural gas storage facilities. (Associated Press)

EPA: A Trump administration budget proposal for 2018 would cut the EPA’s Office of Science and Technology by nearly half and reduce funding to clean up hazardous waste sites by about 25 percent. (New York Times)

CLIMATE:
• Sixty-one percent of Americans say the U.S. should remain in the Paris climate agreement, according to a recent poll. (Huffington Post)
• A Republican senator and gubernatorial candidate in Virginia calls for an emergency legislative hearing on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s plan to regulate the state’s carbon emissions. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

OIL & GAS:
• Dozens of protesters march to California Governor Jerry Brown’s mansion to demand that politicians reject campaign money from oil companies. (Los Angeles Times)
• In March and April, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke held more than half a dozen meetings with executives from nearly two dozen oil and gas firms. (Washington Post)

PIPELINES: A federal judge dismisses a lawsuit launched by the developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline that sought monetary damages from a tribal chairman and four others who protested the project. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• Despite a 17 percent increase in coal production over last year, U.S. mining jobs are still down, and eight coal-fired power plants have announced plans to close in 2017. (Quartz)
• A fourth coal miner is killed on the job in West Virginia this year, exceeding the number of deaths for all of 2016. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship has relaunched a campaign to convince people that natural gas – not methane gas and excess coal dust – caused a deadly explosion at his West Virginia mine 2010. (Associated Press)

GRID:
• Researchers say the forest around transmission lines is “incredibly important” for songbirds. (Associated Press)
• Xcel Energy is helping lead efforts in Minnesota to modernize the state’s power grid, recently proposing a new software platform and a new energy storage system instead of a substation. (Midwest Energy News)

COMMENTARY:
• The questions Energy Secretary Rick Perry asked his staff about the future of the electric grid are based on an outdated world view, says a power sector transformation expert for America’s Power Plan. (Greentech Media)
Dominion Energy is “politically toxic” in Virginia, due in large part to the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project, according to an editorial in the Washington Post.

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