Western Energy News

Experts say outdated grid to blame for California power shutoffs

CALIFORNIA: Experts say California’s widespread power shutdowns are the result of relying on an outdated transmission network of electric lines strung over thousands of miles on vulnerable wooden poles. (Los Angeles Times)

ALSO:
PG&E faces increased scrutiny of its de-energization efforts in the wake of unprecedented fire-prevention outages and accusations the beleaguered utility is prioritizing its interests over its customers. (Greentech Media, Los Angeles Times)
California Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledges PG&E power shutdowns are frustrating but says they are necessary to prevent wildfires. (Los Angeles Times)

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CLIMATE:
Alaska’s Supreme Court hears arguments in a climate lawsuit led by 16 youth who say state policy encouraging oil development infringes on their right to a healthy environment. (Associated Press)
Climate activist Greta Thunberg will participate in a demonstration in Denver on Friday. (Denver Post)

SOLAR: The number of solar permits in Hawaii continues to grow, and an analyst expects the trend to continue even as federal tax credits are cut in January. (Pacific Business Journal)

UTILITIES: The judge overseeing PG&E’s bankruptcy allows a group of the utility’s noteholders to file their rival reorganization plan because it has the support of the committee representing wildfire victims. (Reuters)

COAL:
• The Navajo Transitional Energy Company is to defend its purchase of Cloud Peak’s three Wyoming mines to the Navajo Nation Council today. (Navajo Times)
• Blackjewel seeks to add about $100 million worth of reclamation obligations as a last-minute condition of the sale of its Wyoming mines. (Gillette News Record)
Critics say PacifiCorp’s draft 20-year energy plan doesn’t go far enough to abandon coal power. (Deseret News)
A test facility designed to produce a cleaner-burning and more-efficient coal is expected to be completely rebuilt in Gillette, Wyoming the next few months. (Power Magazine)

COAL ASH: A study finds mixing Powder River coal ash with water produces contaminants that are harmful to human health. (Casper Star-Tribune)

OIL & GAS:
Halliburton is permanently laying off 178 workers at its Grand Junction office; and expects to cut 650 jobs from its Rocky Mountains workforce due to decreased customer activity in the region. (Daily Sentinel)
The Colorado Oil and Gas Association says an anti-fracking group’s attempt to get a court to stop oil and gas drilling until new regulations are in place is a “petulant stunt” to cut industry jobs. (Colorado Independent and Denver Business Journal, subscription)
Weld County, Colorado’s unprecedented increase in assessed property value is the result up the “ramped up” oil and gas industry activity in the region. (Greeley Tribune)

PIPELINES: Two tribal leaders resign from a Montana task force in protest of the state attorney general’s support for Keystone XL. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A commissioner in King County, Washington wants to convert all of the Seattle area’s buses to electric by 2035. (Seattle Times)

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PUBLIC LANDS: The abrupt cancellation of a congressional oversight tour of public lands is being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics. (E&E News)

COMMENTARY: Two of the young plaintiffs in Sinnok v. State of Alaska climate lawsuit say Alaska’s government continues to prioritize fossil fuel development, sustaining the climate crisis. (Anchorage Daily News)

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