U.S. Energy News

Former oil lobbyist to take helm of Interior Department

INTERIOR: A former oil and gas lobbyist will step in as acting director of the Interior Department, as Secretary Ryan Zinke steps down amid several ethics investigations. (Politico, The Guardian)

ALSO: President Trump tweeted Saturday that he will announce Zinke’s replacement this week. Outgoing U.S. Senator Dean Heller of Nevada is speculated to be a possible candidate. (Reuters, Las Vegas Review-Journal)

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EMISSIONS:
• A regional carbon cap program will reduce emissions and bring new revenue to Virginia, a clean energy advocate says. (Energy News Network)
• Political will is building in Oregon to pass cap and trade legislation next year, though some obstacles remain. (The Oregonian)

RENEWABLES: Houston business leaders say they want the city to remain the energy capital of the world even as industry shifts to renewables. (Houston Chronicle)

WIND:
A record-breaking offshore wind auction draws over $405 million in bids from companies looking to build off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. (Greentech Media)
• Senators from Massachusetts and Rhode Island ask the federal government to gather feedback from fishermen earlier in the offshore wind leasing and permitting process. (Associated Press)
• An unnamed customer planning a new facility in Minnesota seeks a power purchase agreement from a 150 MW wind project in South Dakota. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR:
Developers flock to a new Massachusetts solar incentive program, with more than 2,500 applications submitted in the first week alone. (Energy News Network)
• JinkoSolar will open its Jacksonville, Florida solar panel manufacturing plant in February. (Jacksonville Business Journal, subscription)
• Dominion offers a “performance guarantee” to protect ratepayers from financial risk if solar plants the company builds to power Facebook data centers don’t pan out. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

STORAGE: Colorado regulators adopt new rules requiring utilities to take energy storage into consideration in their integrated resource plans. (Utility Dive)

NUCLEAR: The U.S. Department of Energy restarts a nuclear test reactor that some believe will be pivotal to the future of the nuclear power industry. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION:
California regulators adopt a new rule requiring all public transit agencies to buy only zero-emission buses by 2029. (Green Biz)
Drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles in Utah will get hit with hefty new state fees when the new year begins. (Deseret News)

COAL:
• Dominion wants customers to pay $300 million to upgrade three coal-fired power plants. (Associated Press)
• Coal miners and Appalachian residents pressure Sen. Mitch McConnell to extend a coal company tax that funds medical expenses for miners with black lung disease before it is cut in half at the end of the year. (Ohio Valley ReSource)

BIOMASS: A ratepayer group asks federal regulators to invalidate a 2018 New Hampshire law that forces utilities to buy biomass power. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES:
• Dozens of Republican lawmakers push President Trump to save the Keystone XL pipeline after a court ruling last month blocked construction. (The Hill)
Stream crossing issues are creating roadblocks and delaying construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline. (Roanoke Times)
• A judge will allow PennEast natural gas pipeline developers to take possession of properties in New Jersey through eminent domain. (Associated Press)
• North Dakota landowners who sued the Dakota Access pipeline developer over land easements lose their appeal. (Associated Press)

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UTILITIES: Like his predecessor, Connecticut’s incoming governor will likely struggle to convince the state’s utilities to substantially alter their electricity delivery model. (CT Mirror)

COMMENTARY:
The U.S. has a moral obligation to fund medical benefits for coal miners with black lung disease, a Kentucky resident says. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• It was a record year for U.S. offshore wind, but much more needs to be done to combat climate change, says the head of an industry group. (RealClear Energy)
Coal communities in need of an economic transition are being left out of Democrats’ plans for a Green New Deal, an editorial board says. (Roanoke Times)
The Union of Concerned Scientists says Xcel Energy’s setting an ambitious carbon-reduction goal is one thing, “implementing it can be tricky.”

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