U.S. Energy News

For California utility, a new solar customer every 11 minutes

SOLAR:
• California’s Pacific Gas & Electric announced Wednesday it now has more than 150,000 solar customers and adds another to the grid every 11 minutes, making it the largest solar utility in the U.S. (Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• A pro-solar conservative group in Florida cleared a major hurdle this week in its journey to make solar more accessible in the state through a 2016 ballot initiative. (ThinkProgress)
• New Tucson Electric Power asked the Arizona Corporation Commission Wednesday to approve a $22-per-month increase for home solar customers using net metering. (Arizona Daily Star)
• An almost 50 percent drop in crude oil prices in the past year has pushed diesel costs lower, leading mines and other energy users to delay adding solar and wind projects. (Bloomberg)

EMISSIONS:
Nearly 100 Catholic organizations Thursday launched a worldwide petition that calls for dramatically curbing greenhouse-gas emissions. (International Business Times)
• The U.S. Senate defeated an amendment to a nonbinding fiscal 2016 budget resolution Wednesday that called on Congress to address carbon emissions. (E&E Daily)
• Fort Collins, Colorado, led mostly by Republicans, has approved new targets to reduce emissions 80 percent by 2030 and become carbon-neutral by 2050. (InsideClimate News)
• A Massachusetts judge dismissed a lawsuit by environmental activists that tried to force the state to create stricter regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (MassLive)

CITIES: As prices drop, municipalities across the U.S. are plugging in to the sun and wind for their energy. (Scientific American)

COAL: A coalition of clean energy advocates is pushing the Oregon legislature to consider a pair of bills setting 2023 as the deadline for state utilities to stop burning coal to generate power. (Portland Business Journal)

TRANSPORTATION:
• For the second year in a row, U.S. automakers in 2013 surpassed the ambitious fuel-efficiency and emission-reduction demands of federal regulators. (InsideClimate News)
Fiat Chrysler purchased 1.05 million greenhouse-gas emissions credits for the 2013 model year from electric carmaker Tesla Motors to meet emissions requirements. (The Detroit News)

EFFICIENCY:
• The U.S. Department of Energy has tentatively approved a $259-million loan to Alcoa for upgrading a factory making high-strength aluminum that can improve automobile gas mileage. (Bloomberg)
• Texas utilities argued in Austin on Wednesday that “minimum-use fees” charged to customers who use too-little electricity each month are necessary to meet fixed costs of their power providers. (Fuel Fix)

FRACKING: In the stretch of New York state known as “the southern tier,” Governor Andrew Cuomo’s fracking ban has spurred talk of secession because of the region’s dire economic straits. (Los Angeles Times)

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