Western Energy News

Judges: Keystone XL pipeline construction can proceed

PIPELINES: An appellate court has tossed out a Montana judge’s ruling blocking the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, but other legal hurdles remain. (KTVQ)

EMISSIONS:
• A proposal to create a cap-and-trade policy in Oregon clears a subcommittee as it moves toward likely approval. (The Oregonian)
• Cap-and-trade advocates say expanding a regional market to Oregon could increase competition, lower compliance costs and speed decarbonization in the West. (CALmatters)

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UTILITIES:
• Officials with California’s largest utility have told state lawmakers they are considering pulling together an $11 billion pool of capital to settle wildfire claims. (Bloomberg)
• Utility regulators in Arizona and New Mexico are among those shaking things up in a new energy landscape being shaped by renewables, electric vehicles and the shuttering of coal plants. (E&E News)

STORAGE: Renewed interest in pumped hydro storage is surging in California and other states with expanded clean energy policies. (Bloomberg)

SOLAR:
• California’s largest utility installed more solar than any other utility in the country last year, according to a new industry report. (Solar Power World)
• Montana regulators can’t be forced to order a local power provider to buy energy from solar developers at higher rates, an appellate court has ruled. (Utility Dive)
• California has awarded $4.4 million to two community solar projects aimed at offering more clean energy to the state’s low-income residents. (Solar Power World)

HYDROPOWER: A $20 million hydro electric plant has gone online in southern Colorado. (Pueblo Chieftain)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: California is among the next group of states where WalMart plans to install electric vehicle charging stations. (UPI)

EFFICIENCY: An Idaho utility is offering a $1,500 incentive to builders who construct energy efficient, all-electric homes using heat pump technology. (Times-News)

OIL & GAS: New Mexico’s top oil and gas regulator says staffing is one of the biggest challenges facing her office due to industry competition. (Carlsbad Current Argus)

COMMENTARY:
• Arizona’s largest utility is making “eye-popping profits” while it’s disconnecting thousands of customers who can no longer afford to pay their bills, says a columnist for the Arizona Republic.
• The director of a Salt Lake City area regional planning organization says the best way to improve local air quality is to offer more transportation choices. (Deseret News)
• A group of Oregon farmers says it’s time for the state to take bold action on climate change or “the natural disaster costs to farms, forest and the state’s treasury will bury us.” (Capital Press)

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