Western Energy News

In Colorado, ‘mind-blowing’ low prices for clean energy

RENEWABLES: News that Xcel Energy has received bids from renewable energy developers in Colorado at unprecedented low prices shows that clean energy advancement is outpacing expectations. (Vox)

OIL AND GAS:
• The number of “orphaned” oil and gas wells is on the rise in the West as a result of the downturn in fossil fuel prices over time. (High Country News)
• Historic preservationists, tribal leaders and environmentalists are worried about the future of ancient petroglyphs as energy development on public lands picks up steam in Utah and other Western states. (Salt Lake Tribune)
• Facing pressure from an activist investor to trim operations, oil and gas company Hess Corp. plans to cut more than 300 jobs, a move that will be mostly absorbed by its Houston office. (Houston Chronicle)
• BP estimates it will cost an additional $1.7 million to settle claims associated with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. (New York Times)

WIND:
• A global investment firm announces it has secured financing for a 200 megawatt wind farm in Oklahoma. (Daily Oklahoman)
• A Tuscon electric provider is making its biggest move yet to add more wind energy to its portfolio, announcing it is seeking proposals for 150 megawatts. (Arizona Daily Star)

COAL: Attorneys quiz Oakland city officials on whether they had enough evidence to ban coal from being shipped from Utah to California on the first day of a federal trial into the matter. (East Bay Times)

UTILITIES:
• An Oklahoma utility is seeking a $72 million rate increase to cover its investment in a natural gas plant, but it expects to absorb much of that cost as a result of savings from recent corporate tax breaks. (Daily Oklahoman)
• New Mexico’s largest utility and state regulators appear to be moving closer to a deal on a proposed rate increase just as a major credit rating agency gives a negative outlook to Public Service Company of New Mexico. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
• In a flurry of last minute filings, several Nevada utilities ask state regulators to take another look at how savings from a recent corporate tax break might trickle down to their customers. (Nevada Independent)

PIPELINES:
• A group of Northeast Colorado landowners organizes to begin negotiating land easements for a proposed $1.4 billion pipeline that will transport gas from Kansas to Montana. (Journal Advocate)
• Environmentalists who are trying to stop the construction of a pipeline that will connect an oil and gas hub in Texas to refineries in Louisiana have asked a judge to force its owner to turn over records related to its use of eminent domain to acquire easements. (Times-Picayune)

POLICY: The Colorado Farm Bureau is proposing a ballot initiative that would compensate landowners should a setback requirement put their mineral rights out of reach. (Colorado Politics)

COMMENTARY: 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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