U.S. Energy News

Judge: Feds must consider climate change in drilling and leasing plan

CLIMATE: A federal court says the Trump administration can’t move forward with a plan to lease millions of acres of federal land in Montana and Wyoming to fossil fuel companies, citing a failure to consider climate impacts. (InsideClimate News)

WIND:
Faced with opposition from landowners in Arkansas, the U.S. Department of Energy pulls out of an agreement with a developer to build a 700-mile transmission line to deliver wind power from Oklahoma to Tennessee and beyond. (Reuters)
How batteries can improve the economics of offshore wind projects. (Greentech Media)

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SOLAR:
• Crowdfunding campaigns are helping nonprofits — which can’t take advantage of federal tax credits — access funding for solar projects. (Midwest Energy News)
• Critics of a community solar program in Omaha, Nebraska, say it more closely resembles a utility-owned solar project. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES:
The U.S. could meet about 90 percent of its electricity needs with wind and solar power, according to a recent study. (The Guardian)
The 2018 federal budget bill shows that Republicans continue to support clean energy despite the president’s agenda. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Tesla launches a program to train electric car technicians. (Electrek)

OIL AND GAS:
The New Jersey Senate passes a bill to ban oil and gas drilling off its coast; Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign it. (Press of Atlantic City)
As West Virginia’s coal industry declines, the state’s oil and gas sectors are growing. (WVNews)
A new study says energy analysts are getting worse at predicting supply and demand for oil and gas. (NPR)

PIPELINES: Virginia environmental regulators approve erosion, sediment and stormwater management plans for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which is now authorized to begin construction in the state. (Roanoke Times)

COAL:
• Coal mining companies owned by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice have exploited a loophole to defer environmental clean-up. (Climate Home News)
• Half of U.S. coal plants did not earn enough revenue last year to cover operating expenses, according to a study released Monday. (Bloomberg)
• A federal study on the health impacts of mountaintop removal coal mining is officially disbanded by the Trump Administration. (West Virginia Public Broadasting)

GRID:
• By incentivizing upgrades for data communication, analysis and control systems, FERC could help the transmission system save customers $2 billion per year, according to a new report. (Utility Dive)
• California’s grid operator receives approval to cancel 18 transmission projects and modify 21 others to save $2.6 billion. (Utility Dive)
• A Pennsylvania bill to let utilities pass microgrid costs to ratepayers is one of the few policy efforts to do so, despite a recent Illinois decision. (Midwest Energy News)

EPA:
• A proposed EPA policy to only consider scientific research with publicly available raw data would prevent the agency from crafting rules that protect human health, because such studies often keep patients’ information confidential. (New York Times)
• How EPA administrator Scott Pruitt led the agency away from environmental protection and towards helping the fossil fuel industry. (The New Yorker)

REGULATION: Green groups sue the EPA for a rule change that allows some power plants to weaken pollution controls, saying it amount to a loophole under the Clean Air Act. (The Hill)

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UTILITIES: Democrats and Republicans are pushing the Trump administration to abandon its plan to sell off federal public utilities’ assets. (Washington Examiner)

COMMENTARY:
• An EPA proposal to stop relying on studies that include nonpublic scientific data would paralyze the agency, says the former head of the EPA and another top agency official during the Obama administration. (New York Times)
• New York utilities can play a significant role in advancing energy efficiency in the state, say an energy analyst and an attorney. (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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