UTILITIES: As the Dixie Fire in California grows to become the second largest in state history, a federal judge orders Pacific Gas & Electric to explain its role in sparking the conflagration. (Washington Post)

New Mexico regulators begin hearings today on the contentious and long-debated proposed merger of Avangrid and Public Service Company of New Mexico. (NM Political Report)
Utility bills for about 82,000 rural Alaskans could go up as much as 200% after the defunding of a state rate subsidy program, which is now being debated in court. (Anchorage Daily News)

GRID: A federal judge rejects challenges to a 300-mile high voltage transmission line proposed for Eastern Oregon, finding the U.S. Bureau of Land Management complied with environmental laws when approving the project in 2017. (East Oregonian)

The Bureau of Land Management advances three major solar-plus-storage projects proposed for Southern California, which would be the first to be developed under the Obama-era Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan. (E&E News, subscription)
A California university is preparing to test technology capable of generating solar power in space for use on Earth. (news release)

WIND: An energy company and a New Mexico university join forces to build a 39-turbine wind facility that will be used to generate power and train students. (Las Cruces Sun-News)

A high pressure system moving into the Northwest this week could push temperatures into the triple digits, straining the grid and threatening human health. (OPB)
Smoke from California and Oregon wildfires blanketed the Western U.S. for days last week, making Salt Lake City’s air quality among the worst in the world. (Salt Lake Tribune)

COAL: Two years after shutting down its coal mine on Navajo and Hopi lands in Arizona, coal-mining giant Peabody has yet to begin reclaiming the site, raising concerns among local activists. (Navajo Times)

Utah watchdogs raise concerns about the financial and environmental costs of a federally funded small modular reactor project proposed to be built in Idaho and supply power to utilities in Western states. (Kiowa County Press)
Arizona regulators will hold a virtual public hearing today on a groundwater permit for a proposed uranium mine near the Grand Canyon. (news release)

A New Mexico environmental activist and the daughter of a former Four Corners Power Plant worker argues the proposed merger of Avangrid and Public Service Company of New Mexico will improve air quality and human health by expediting the closure of the coal-fired plant. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
A Nevada editorial board says the recent death of desert tortoises following their removal to make way for a solar installation underscores the need to build renewable energy installations on previously developed land. (Las Vegas Sun)

Jonathan hails from southwestern Colorado and has been writing about the land, cultures, and communities of the Western United States for more than two decades. He compiles the Western Energy News digest. He is the author of three books, a contributing editor at High Country News, and the editor of the Land Desk, an e-newsletter that provides coverage and context on issues critical to the West.