U.S. Energy News

First major energy bill since 2007 passes Senate

CONGRESS:
• The Senate passes the Energy Policy Modernization Act, the first significant federal energy bill since 2007; the bill still faces opposition in the House. (New York Times, Greenwire)
• Electricity generated from biomass plants would be considered a carbon-neutral, renewable source under the bill. (Climate Progress)

CLIMATE:
• 160 countries, including the United States, are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on climate change tomorrow. (Associated Press, The Hill)
• Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says action on climate change “is going a lot faster than many had expected.” (Christian Science Monitor)

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SOLAR:
• An industry group estimates the U.S. has surpassed one million solar installations. (Greentech Media)
• San Francisco will become the first major U.S. city to require solar panels on all new buildings. (Quartz)
• Maine solar supporters begin rallying lawmakers to override an expected veto of solar legislation by Gov. Paul LePage. (Associated Press)
• An Idaho town will install solar roadway panels in a 150-square-foot pilot project. (Inlander)
• Will storage help solar customers “regain the upper hand” in Nevada? (Vegas Inc.)

WIND:
• Federal officials estimate a significantly lower number of eagle deaths from a proposed Wyoming wind farm than projected in 2012, in part due to mitigation efforts. (Casper Star-Tribune)
• Wind turbine technician is the country’s fastest-growing profession, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. (Inside Energy)

COAL:
U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy deflects criticism that federal regulations are killing coal-industry jobs, saying market conditions are the primary culprit. (ClimateWire)
• Environmental groups sue several federal agencies for extending operations of a coal plant on Navajo Nation land in New Mexico. (Durango Herald)
• The EPA grants seven coal plants a one-year extension to meet mercury and air toxins pollution rules. (Platts)

PIPELINES: Developers drop plans for a controversial $3.3 billion natural gas pipeline from New York to Massachusetts. (Boston Globe)

FRACKING: Industry and environmental groups await a decision from a federal judge in Wyoming on rules for fracking on public lands. (Associated Press)

OIL:
• The first overseas shipment of North Dakota crude since the U.S. export ban was lifted arrives in the Netherlands. (Associated Press)
• An oil company faces criminal charges for failing to report a spill that polluted a Montana stream in 2011. (Associated Press)

NATURAL GAS:
• California lawmakers will hold hearings examining whether closure of the Aliso Canyon gas field would lead to blackouts. (Los Angeles Times)
• A U.S. House transportation bill includes tougher rules for natural gas storage. (Los Angeles Times)

POLLUTION:
• An American Lung Association report finds more than half of Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of air pollution. (NBC News)
• Volkswagen plans to pay $1 billion to owners of diesel cars that were programmed to cheat federal pollution standards. (Detroit News/Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: Advocates say municipally owned utilities in Iowa are underachieving when it comes to energy efficiency goals and could be pushed to do more. (Midwest Energy News)

POLITICS: Changing economics mean Republican opposition to clean energy is waning. (Bloomberg)

UTILITIES: Experts say this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on states’ interfering with wholesale power markets through power plant subsidies will likely lead to more challenges. (EnergyWire)

COMMENTARY:
• How the federal energy bill “could end up accelerating climate change.” (New York Times)
• Michael Bloomberg says the U.S. can meet its climate targets under the Paris agreement even if the Supreme Court strikes down parts of the Clean Power Plan. (BloombergView)

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