U.S. Energy News

Federal agency to approve largest U.S. solar project

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SOLAR:
• Federal officials plan to approve a 690 MW solar project near Las Vegas, which would be the largest in the U.S. (Los Angeles Times)
The first phase of what will be the largest solar project in Texas begins operations. (Solar Power World)

OVERSIGHT: The Trump administration’s effort to weaken three key environmental regulations — including on vehicle tailpipe emissions — are at odds with established science, according to a panel of government-appointed scientists. (New York Times)

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CLIMATE: Experts begin putting together policy details for the Green New Deal, which is expected to be a political force in 2020. (InsideClimate News)

OIL & GAS:
• Major oil companies have announced emission-reduction commitments even as they continue to invest in projects that will boost fossil fuel production. (InsideClimate News)
Louisiana still hasn’t fully investigated 540 oil spills since Hurricane Katrina, likely leaving millions of dollars in uncollected fines needed to help restore the coast. (ProPublica, The Times-Picayune and The Advocate)
• U.S. shale producers are exercising restraint as years of rapid growth slows down in 2020. (Reuters)
• The natural gas boom in parts of northern Appalachia is giving way to a bust as out-of-state energy companies shutter offices. (Observer-Reporter) 

POLITICS:
• At a campaign rally in New Hampshire, presidential candidate Joe Biden says coal miners should “learn how to program,” referring to job training amid the industry’s decline. (The Hill)
• Nearly all Democratic presidential candidates support a ban on oil and gas drilling on public lands, sparking industry concern. (E&E News, subscription)

PIPELINES:
Attempts to double the capacity of the Dakota Access pipeline are rekindling opposition from tribal and environmental groups and raising questions among some state regulators. (Chicago Tribune)
• Tribal law experts say consultations required from the federal government on pipeline projects are routinely inadequate and inconsistent. (Grist)
• A federal judge will allow environmental and tribal groups to proceed with lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Pro-nuclear power groups argue that the industry doesn’t really have a waste problem, but the claims overlook waste that precedes electricity generation. (High Country News)

COAL:
• Three U.S. senators in call for an investigation of a federal tax credit for refined coal. (Reuters)
Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station and Kenyatta Mine face several years of decommissioning and cleanup as well as the possibility of decades of environmental monitoring. (Cronkite News)
Jobs and CO2 emissions are declining for the Navajo Nation after the closure of the Navajo Generating Station in November. (E&E News, subscription)

CLEAN TECH: Utilities are increasingly trying to figure out how blockchain software can help secure their operations as more customer-owned generation comes on the grid. (Energy News Network)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Massachusetts restarts its electric vehicle rebate program using discretionary funds after it ran out of money three months ago. (MassLIVE)
• Regions of Ohio faced with automotive plant closures look to reposition as hubs for electric vehicle development. (Associated Press)

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CLEAN ENERGY: Massachusetts could enact a new “clean peak standard” incentive to encourage renewables and storage, but some critics contend it could increase emissions. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY:
Energy News Network reporter Kari Lydersen says a recent trip to Antarctica drove home the “horror and tragedy of what humans have done to the earth with climate change.”
• A recent order involving grid operator PJM’s market shows federal regulators are now “actively working to counteract the effects of state-level clean energy policy,” writes Vox’s David Roberts.

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