Western Energy News

Legislation revives discussion of a California hydro project

HYDROPOWER: A bill recently given preliminary approval by California lawmakers could jumpstart a controversial $2.5 billion pumped-storage hydroelectricity project near Joshua Tree National Park. (Los Angeles Times)

GRID: A Southern California utility’s decision to scrap plans to build a new gas peaker plant and install a battery system instead illustrates how storage paired with clean energy might replace a crucial gas market sector. (U.S. News and World Report)

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TRANSPORTATION: Areas of California where reductions in vehicle emissions have led to air quality improvements have fewer new cases of children with asthma, new research shows. (KNPR)

RENEWABLES: California must eliminate natural gas as an electricity resource if it wants to become a zero-emissions economy by 2045, experts say. (Utility Dive)

COAL: A majority of shareholders for New Mexico’s largest utility have rejected a request that the company prepare a report on the coal ash generated from its plant in the northwestern part of the state. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A Southern California utility is offering to support new charging infrastructure as part of a new program aimed at the electrification of buses, tractors and other larger vehicles. (Utility Dive)
• Officials with Nevada’s largest utility are giving Las Vegas-area residents the chance to test drive several electric vehicle models at an upcoming event. (News 3 Las Vegas)

GEOTHERMAL:
• A Hawaii geothermal plant could reopen by the end of the year following a potential renegotiation of its contract with the state’s largest utility. (Ars Technica)
• Nevada officials are using machine learning techniques to find new geothermal resources, which could lead to more energy development. (University of Nevada, Reno)

UTILITIES: California regulators rule that a utility won’t be allowed to cover its dues to an industry group that has fought net-metering policies around the country by charging its customers. (PV Magazine)

OIL & GAS:
• Colorado officials say they have no plans to stop issuing drilling permits while oil and gas regulators write new rules for the industry emphasizing safety and environmental protection. (Associated Press)
• As drilling in New Mexico’s Permian Basin surges, some residents say their health has been adversely impacted by oil and gas development. (High Country News)

CLIMATE: As Oregon lawmakers move closer to passing cap and trade legislation, some clean energy advocates think the state’s electricity sector may be on the verge of a revolution. (Oregon Business)

NUCLEAR:
• Federal regulators have told the operators of a closed California nuclear plant that they can resume moving waste from one part of the plant to a new, onsite storage facility following safety lapse there last year. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• A U.S. House committee rejects a funding request to restart the licensing process to permanently store nuclear waste at Nevada’s Yucca Mountain. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

COMMENTARY: Without offshore wind development, it seems unlikely that California can meet its clean energy goals under the current timeline, say advocates for the wind industry and a building trades union. (Sacramento Bee)

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