U.S. Energy News

Gas once again edges out coal as top U.S. electricity source

NATURAL GAS: Natural gas surpasses coal as the top electricity source in the U.S. for the second time. (Houston Chronicle)

CLEAN ENERGY: How falling prices for wind and solar are impacting capacity factors for fossil fuel generation. (Bloomberg)

COAL:
• “Breaking safety laws wasn’t just permitted, it was expected,” a federal prosecutor says in his opening statement in the criminal trial of coal baron Don Blankenship. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Former miners in southern Illinois rally against company bankruptcies that would threaten their retiree benefits. (Southern Illinoisan)
• A law firm with ties to the coal industry has been investigating Oakland, California city council members who oppose an export terminal. (East Bay Express)

CARBON CAPTURE: A Wyoming coal plant is selected as a testing ground for carbon capture technology. (Associated Press)

CLIMATE:
• A climate scientist faces backlash from Congress for investigating fossil fuel companies’ ties to climate misinformation efforts. (InsideClimate News)
• Concerned about climate impacts, Exxon in 1980 sought to address CO2 emissions from an undersea natural gas play. (InsideClimate News)

GRID: Power suppliers in the PJM power grid ask for lower under-performance penalties. (RTO Insider)

POLICY:
• Clean-energy advocates are supportive of a Missouri agency’s plan to turn to more efficiency and hike the state’s renewable standard. (Midwest Energy News)
• 
Officials putting together a comprehensive energy plan for Iowa want to focus attention on reducing demand. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• The National Renewable Energy Laboratory lays off 15 solar researchers, part of a broader trend of declining federal support for clean energy research. (Washington Post)
• Arizona regulators reject calls to recuse themselves from an upcoming solar decision. (Arizona Republic)

TRANSPORTATION: With coal-by-rail shipments declining, BNSF is building a freight “superhighway” between Los Angeles and Chicago for a range of other goods. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

WIND: A Nebraska county is in a dispute with townships over who can regulate wind farms. (David City Banner-Press)

EPA: One of the only groups praising the EPA’s new ozone rule represents investor-owned utilities across the country. (Greenwire)

OIL AND GAS:
• The White House threatens to veto a bill that would lift the ban on crude oil exports. (The Hill)
• While the industry’s carbon emissions increased last year, methane emissions from leakage fell for the third consecutive year, EPA data shows. (EnergyWire)
• A report pegs the cost of increased traffic crashes related to the oil and gas boom in Texas in the billions of dollars. (Texas Tribune)

NUCLEAR:
• Operators of a Massachusetts nuclear plant never addressed a 1992 federal advisory calling for emergency plans in the event of a control room fire. (Cape Cod Times)
• California regulators approve long-term storage of nuclear waste at a closed power plant on the state’s Pacific shore. (Greenwire)

ELECTRIC CARS: An Idaho National Laboratory study concludes availability of charging stations will drive electric car sales. (Associated Press)

TECHNOLOGY: The founder of A123 Systems launches a new venture that looks beyond electric cars as a market for batteries. (Boston Globe)

EFFICIENCY: A new law will require New York City stores and restaurants to keep their doors closed if their air conditioning is on. (New York Times) 

COMMENTARY: As utility business models are reformed, who should oversee competitive retail markets? (Vox)

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