U.S. Energy News

IEA Director: Solar on track to become cheapest electricity source

SOLAR: The executive director of the International Energy Agency says solar energy is “on track” to become the cheapest source of electricity. (Houston Chronicle)

ALSO:
• Shell becomes the largest shareholder of Nashville-based Silicon Ranch, acquiring 44 percent of the solar company. (Greentech Media)
• A California-based company is trying to prove that concentrated solar plants can meet electricity demands as well as coal and gas plants. (InsideClimate News)
• The NAACP will install solar panels on households and community centers and train 100 people in solar job skills. (Grist)
• Families are moving into what’s being called America’s first solar-powered town, about half an hour northeast of Fort Myers, Florida. (CBS News)

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WIND: Learning how fishermen in Europe coexist with wind farm developers may prove useful to New England fishermen concerned their livelihood will be disrupted by offshore wind farm development. (WBUR)

RENEWABLES: Global prices for clean energy will be competitive with fossil fuels by 2020, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency. (Greentech Media)

BIOFUELS: Many economists and some environmental groups now agree that biodiesel made from soybeans is a wasteful use of resources. (NPR)

CLEAN TECH: Manufacturing sensors and controls for various advanced energy purposes is a major economic opportunity for Wisconsin, according to a report released today. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL & GAS:
• Within days, the country’s oil output is expected to reach 10 million barrels per day, breaking a record set in 1970. (Reuters)
• The New York-based oil and gas company Hess Corp. says it will lay off about 300 employees starting this week. (Houston Chronicle)
• The cost of the 2010 BP oil spill continues to rise, with BP telling investors its costs grew by $1.7 billion. (The Hill)
• The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is calling for a gasoline tax increase to pay for infrastructure projects. (Washington Post)

PIPELINES: Opponents of a pipeline slated to cross 162 miles of land in in Louisiana are suing the project’s owners to make its records publicly available. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• A look at the future of shuttered coal plant sites around the country. (Utility Dive)
• Ten coal plants in Pennsylvania may have to reduce the toxic emissions they release into waterways as part of a settlement between the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and a group of environmental advocates. (Utility Dive)
• Up to a million tons of Montana coal will be shipped to Japan, where two state-of-the-art power plants will convert the fuel into synthetic natural gas. (Billings Gazette)

NUCLEAR: Workers at the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York are threatening to go on strike as they seek a labor deal that would extend beyond the plant’s planned 2021 closure. (Westfair Online) 

UTILITIES: An Iowa town’s plan to create a municipally owned utility is financially feasible, according to a consultant’s report. (Midwest Energy News)

REGULATION:
• FERC Commissioner Neil Chatterjee says the agency’s decision to reject an Energy Department proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants demonstrates the agency’s independence from the Trump administration, and the plan wasn’t legally defensible. (Houston Chronicle, The Hill)
• Chatterjee says a new FERC investigation into grid resilience could take longer than the 90-day time-frame established by regulators last week. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
Record-low bids to build renewables for Xcel Energy in Colorado are proof that “renewable energy is not ‘alternative’ anymore,” writes David Roberts. (Vox)
• A tariff on imported solar cells would artificially raise prices and hurt the United States’ burgeoning solar industry, says the editorial board of USA Today.

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