U.S. Energy News

Lessons from the polar vortex

GRID: Grid operator PJM says its system performed reliably during the polar vortex due to planning and lessons from a 2014 freeze. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
Michigan utilities’ request for customers to turn down their thermostats to lower demand during the polar vortex was a widespread exercise in demand response. (Energy News Network)
• Coal generation surged this week, prompting supporters to celebrate the figures as evidence of the fuel’s importance. (E&E News)
The extreme cold showed many people just how poorly insulated their homes are. (Vox)

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SOLAR:
Only a few states didn’t take policy actions related to distributed solar in 2018, according to a new report. (Solar Industry)
• “If you’re in a polar vortex, how are you going to stay warm with solar panels?” A Fox News host’s uninformed take on solar power goes viral. (HuffPost)
• Wisconsin regulators decline to hear a case about whether owning and leasing solar panels qualifies an entity as a utility. (Wisconsin State Journal)
• A developer proposes building a utility-scale solar farm next to a Wyoming coal-fired power plant rather than pay for environmental upgrades. (Casper Star Tribune)

WIND: The sound of rotating wind turbine blades does not have negative health impacts but is linked to “feelings of annoyance,” Iowa researchers find. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

RENEWABLES:
New Mexico would channel $50 million from state investments to solar and wind energy development under a new legislative proposal. (Associated Press)
A Virginia House bill that sought to wean the state’s electricity sector off fossil fuels by 2050 fails on a partisan vote. (Energy News Network)

CLIMATE: Oregon lawmakers unveil their plan to use a cap and trade system to sharply curb the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

COAL: Murray Energy cuts ties with its longtime lobbying firm after President Trump nominated the coal company’s former lobbyist to head the EPA. (Huffington Post)

NUCLEAR:
• The Army prepares to carefully break up and haul away a nuclear plant in Virginia that was the first to supply power to the grid. (Washington Post)
Frigid temperatures force a nuclear reactor to shut down in southwest New Jersey. (Press of Atlantic City)

TRANSPORTATION: Air pollution from cars continues to increase in California, a reality that doesn’t bode well for other sprawling U.S. cities. (Reuters)

GRID: Texas is likely to be hotter than usual this summer, and the buffer between electricity supply and demand is at a record low. (Houston Chronicle)

COURTS: A federal appeals court judicial nominee previously defended fossil fuel companies against lawsuits blaming them for climate change. (E&E News)

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OVERSIGHT: Ohio’s governor considers four finalists for a vacant Public Utilities Commission of Ohio seat. (Energy News Network)

COMMENTARY: A flurry of activity at the state level shows what happens when governors run on climate action and win, writes David Roberts. (Vox)

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