Western Energy News

Facebook ordered to pay half the tab of a New Mexico transmission line

TRANSMISSION: New Mexico regulators have ordered the state’s largest utility to bill Facebook for more than half the cost of a new $85 million transmission line, a surprise decision some local economic officials worry could have a chilling effect on their ability to recruit big companies. (Albuquerque Journal)

SOLAR: An Idaho-based company is seeking to build what could become Montana’s largest commercial solar farm, a 160 MW project on state leased land. (Montana Standard)

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EFFICIENCY:
• The construction of new, completely electric homes in California could save homeowners up to $540 a year compared to owners of gas-fueled homes, according to a new utility-funded study. (Daily Energy Insider)
• The Washington Senate has approved legislation aimed at boosting energy efficiency throughout the state by creating retrofit requirements for older buildings and establishing new appliance standards. (Seattle Times)
• A Portland utility will soon begin installing 76,000 smart meters in central Oregon as part of its statewide effort to boost efficiency and create cost savings for customers. (Bend Bulletin)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• Concerns over the growing threat of wildfire-related blackouts in California is driving demand for solar panels and batteries. (E&E News, subscription)
• California lawmakers are grappling with how the state can meet its ambitious climate goals while maintaining grid reliability. (Greentech Media)
• Concerns about possible increasing electricity costs linger over a new Utah law giving two cities and a county more flexibility to pursue their goals of achieving 100% clean energy by 2030. (KUER)

OIL & GAS:
• A former air quality inspector in Colorado says rule infractions from the oil and gas industry rarely led to meaningful sanctions from state environmental regulators. (The Story Group)
• Wyoming environmental regulators extend the public comment period on a company’s plan to discharge oilfield wastewater into a reservoir upstream of a community’s drinking water. (Gillette News Record)

COAL:
• Critics of Utah’s plan to reduce regional haze say it does not do enough to reduce emissions from two coal plants. (Deseret News)
• Colorado, Idaho and New Mexico are some of the states set to retire coal plants early, paving the way for more clean energy. (Axios)

NUCLEAR: The U.S. Energy Department has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit from Nevada challenging plutonium shipments to a site north of Las Vegas. (Associated Press)

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PUBLIC LANDS: U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren becomes one of few presidential candidates to press the issue of protecting public lands. (Washington Post)

COMMENTARY:
• Leaders of a Colorado-based clean energy think tank say that leveraging the power of economic markets is the best way to drive climate change solutions. (New York Times)
• A columnist for the Arizona Republic argues for the state to start appointing its utility regulators.

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