U.S. Energy News

FERC floats interim plan to boost coal and nuclear plants

POWER PLANTS: FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee provides details of an interim plan to help coal and nuclear plants while the commission considers a controversial DOE rule to subsidize the energy sources. (Utility Dive)

ALSO: Critics of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to boost coal and nuclear energy sources are ready to file legal challenges should FERC adopt some version of the proposal. (E&E News)

BIOFUELS: A federal biofuels policy is contributing to climate change by encouraging farmers to turn wetlands and forests into cropland for biofuels production, according to a new study by scientists from the University of Wisconsin. (Reuters)

SOLAR:
• Sunrun will surpass SolarCity as the country’s top residential solar lease provider by the end of the year, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• A Virginia electric cooperative is working to inform members of proposed rate increases as part of a settlement with the Sierra Club, which said the co-op failed to be transparent as well as disregarded the impact on its customers. (Southeast Energy News)
• Solar developers in Illinois are cautiously optimistic about a new draft power plan released by the Illinois Power Agency, even as pricing for incentivized energy credits remains obtuse. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
• Missouri’s largest wind farm is online after a year of construction and can generate enough electricity to power 100,000 homes. (Kansas City Business Journal)
• Portland-based Avanagrid Renewables acquires a permitted but unbuilt wind project in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, but the company may not begin construction until 2020. (Portland Business Journal)
• Completing large amounts of offshore wind farm construction on land could cut project costs by 37 percent, according to researchers at the University of Delaware. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES: California’s three biggest investor-owned utilities are predicted to reach a 50 percent renewable energy goal in just three years, a decade ahead of schedule. (Grist)

EFFICIENCY: Consumers will lose hundreds of billions of dollars in cost savings under Trump administration proposals to cut appliance efficiency rules, fuel economy standards and programs like Energy Star. (Greentech Media)

OIL AND GAS: A Senate committee advances legislation to allow oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Associated Press)

OVERSIGHT: The Senate narrowly approves David Zatezalo, a West Virginia native and retired coal company executive, to oversee U.S. mining safety. (Associated Press)

GRID:
• Puerto Rico’s agreement with Whitefish Energy – a tiny, inexperienced Montana company – to rebuild the island’s damaged electric grid was a horrible deal, according to the findings of a congressional investigation. (Vox)
• More than 30 states are considering grid modernization, including new ways to integrate battery storage. (Utility Dive)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A Massachusetts electric provider used targeted marketing and consumer engagement to impel consumers to shift their charge times to off-peak periods, averting the need to impose demand charges or time-of-use rates. (Utility Dive)
• General Motors is planning to launch a new family of electric vehicles in 2021, which will be sold by different GM brands in the U.S. and China. (Reuters)
• With a price tag about $70,000 higher than traditional diesel vehicles, electric trucks aren’t expected to go mainstream any time soon. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES:
• An Oklahoma-based pipeline company files plans with FERC to build an $84.6 million natural gas transportation expansion project in the New Jersey area. (The Oklahoman)
• Energy Transfer Partners paid a private security firm to build a massive racketeering suit against green groups opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, according to three former employees. (The Intercept)

FRACKING: Documents show the EPA has allowed chemicals with known health concerns to be used in fracking operations around the country. (Marketplace)

CLIMATE: Climate deniers who attended a meeting sponsored by the Heartland Institute last week have a list of energy goals for the Trump administration, including ending federal tax credits for wind and solar producers. (Washington Post)

COMMENTARY:
• Nuclear energy and carbon capture are important tools for combating global warming, but the Trump administration’s denial of climate change is hurting support for the technologies, according to clean energy experts at the public policy think tank Third Way. (Greentech Media)
• A managing partner at a global energy consultant firm explains why Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants “is a good proposal.” (The Hill)

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