U.S. Energy News

Feds auction off 51,000 acres in Utah to fossil fuel companies

• The Bureau of Land Management auctions off more than 51,000 acres of federal land for oil and gas development near the former Bear Ears national monument in Utah, sparking opposition from conservation groups (Reuters, Deseret News)
• U.S. natural gas generation fell by 7.7 percent in 2017, compared to 2.5 percent for coal generation, according to federal data. (Utility Dive)

FRACKING: Dozens of chemicals that can affect the fertility of humans and animals are found in the air near fracking wells, according to a new study. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

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• Federal officials say legal challenges to the Dakota Access pipeline are stalling completion of a required environmental study. (Associated Press)
• A judge orders an Oregon activist to pay $3,775 for illegally shutting down a crude oil pipeline as part of a multi-state protest. (Associated Press)

COAL: Critics say federal and state regulators, as well as a government-owned utility, are not doing enough to address safety and environmental concerns at Illinois’ most productive coal mine. (Midwest Energy News)

• The CEO of SunPower says the company will lay off workers and forego investments in U.S. solar manufacturing if the Trump administration doesn’t grant it an exemption from import tariffs. (Greentech Media)
• The history of the “duck curve” — the shape that solar demand takes throughout the day — with the lead researcher of the group that first identified it at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. (Vox)
• The Southeast solar market is finally growing, as evidenced by developments in Virginia, Florida and South Carolina. (Bloomberg)

• How charging corridors will make electric vehicle ownership more viable in the West. (High Country News)
• Electric vehicle chargers could add 1 GW of peak demand to California’s grid by 2025, according to a new report. (Utility Dive)
• Three out of four U.S. drivers live in areas where it’s cleaner to drive an electric vehicle than a gasoline-powered car that gets 50 mpg, according to a recent analysis. (Greentech Media)

• Multiple utilities and a regional grid operator ask FERC to reconsider an order to include energy storage in wholesale electricity markets. (Utility Dive)
• The EPA wants to change pollution rules for oil refineries, saying the move would save the industry $11.5 million annually. (The Hill)

GRID: Some worry that a plan to expand California’s electricity market across the West could give FERC more power over the state. (Utility Dive)

• A federal nuclear regulator says some nuclear plants “are not economic,” but the problems affecting the sector differ from region to region. (Washington Examiner)
• Santee Cooper customers’ monthly payments will more than double as bills for South Carolina’s failed nuclear project come due. (Post and Courier)

CARBON TAX: Nine states continue to pursue carbon pricing legislation after a failed effort in Washington state. (Governing)

BUDGET: Energy Secretary Rick Perry testifies before a Senate panel about budget requests that prioritize nuclear security while making large cuts to energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. (Daily Energy Insider)

• Former coal baron Don Blankenship, on probation following a one-year prison sentence for his role in the Upper Big Branch mining tragedy, appears to be in a dead heat in the Republican West Virginia Senate primary, flummoxing the GOP. (ThinkProgress, Politico)
• Conservative advocates in Michigan are actively supporting renewable energy, focusing on declining costs and opening the market to third-party developers. (Midwest Energy News)

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• Lowering carbon emissions would probably save more than 150 million lives worldwide, according to a Duke University study. (Washington Post)
• A judge schedules a five-hour tutorial on climate science, which will address eight questions, to prepare for two lawsuits filed against major oil companies for their role in climate change. (Vox)
• McDonalds says it will work to cut emissions by 36 percent compared to 2015 levels. (Fast Company)

• Analysts say growing evidence shows integrating variable sources like wind and solar benefit the grid and doesn’t jeopardize reliability. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)
• Cities, states and companies should be allowed to sign on to the Paris climate agreement, say two Yale researchers. (Yale Environment 360)

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