Western Energy News

In the Nevada desert, a solar plant could be poised to take on coal

SOLAR: Falling prices for molten salt storage technology could make it possible to provide on-demand solar power at a cost competitive with other forms of generation. (InsideClimate News)

ALSO:
• The next phase of a University of Arizona solar testing and demonstration site will focus on storage and grid management. (Arizona Daily Star)
• Despite its recent $217 million investment in solar energy, Houston’s Shell Oil Co. remains very much entrenched in fossil fuels. (Houston Chronicle)

WIND:
• A new plan to bolster Oklahoma’s budget includes a proposed wind generation tax, which is drawing skepticism from the state’s booming wind industry. (Daily Oklahoman)
• A Tuscon electric provider is seeking bids to produce between 100 and 150 megawatts of wind energy, enough power for about 30,000 homes. (Renewables Now)
• A Connecticut-based company brings three new wind farms in California, Colorado and New Mexico on-line. (reNews)

OIL AND GAS:
• Production in Texas’s Permian Basin continues to increase despite a slump in oil prices. (Forbes)
• After two years of declining incidents, oil and gas spills increased in 2017, with companies reporting almost two dozen accidents per week in Colorado. (Denver Post)
• Oklahoma scientists seek to better understand the role that oil and gas injection wells play in causing earthquakes even as the state saw a big decrease in the number of seismic events in 2017. (Daily Oklahoman)
• Texas oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens closes his hedge fund, citing health woes and a desire to put his money elsewhere. (Bloomberg News)
• Work to prevent a massive sinkhole from opening at a former brine well site near Carlsbad could cost almost $43 million, a significant increase over initial projections. (Associated Press)
• Facing a shortage of experienced workers, oil and gas companies are increasingly turning to technology to boost drilling efficiency. (Houston Chronicle)

PIPELINES: An Austin lawyer who represents the oil and gas industry predicts Texas regulators will soon take up the issue of setting transportation rates for intrastate pipelines. (Houston Chronicle)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Sales of electric vehicles continue to surge in Arizona but drivers who live outside the Phoenix area still struggle to find charging stations. (The Daily Courier)

POLICY:
• A growing number of Colorado cities plan to increase their renewable energy commitments in 2018 but are still working out the details of what that will ultimately look like. (Denver Post)
• Momentum is gathering for a local push to make Norman the first city in Oklahoma to get all of its power from renewable energy sources. (Norman Transcript)

COAL: The city of Oakland heads to federal court today to defend its ban on coal that was supposed be shipped from Utah and handled at local shipping terminal. (San Francisco Chronicle)

GRID: Panasonic is building out a “smart city” infrastructure near Denver, featuring high-tech highways, autonomous vehicles and and a solar-powered microgrid. (Business Insider)

GEOTHERMAL: The Trump administration is giving a boost to the geothermal industry, which already has a foothold in Western states like California and Nevada. (Washington Examiner)

COMMENTARY:
• A solar executive says President Trump should put the American worker first by opposing a solar tariff. (The Deseret News)
• Relying more on renewable energy should be among the strategies adopted by anyone who’s concerned about climate change, says a Colorado-based climate change activist. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

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