Western Energy News

Montana utility seeks new charge for solar customers

SOLAR: Clean energy advocates are challenging a plan by Montana’s largest utility to impose a demand charge on its net-metered customers higher prices for solar energy. (Billings Gazette)

ALSO:
• An Arizona utility is considering replacing its controversial solar rates with even higher prices. (Arizona Republic)
• California’s major utilities are preparing to roll out a 10-year effort to spend up to $100 million on providing 300 MW of solar energy to low-income residents. (CleanTechnica)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A California-based company that pioneered electric motorcycle manufacturing in the U.S. releases two new models in an attempt to stave off competition from Harley Davidson and others entering the small, but growing industry. (CNBC)

UTILITIES:
• Faced with growing outrage from wildfire victims, California’s largest utility cancels $130 million in bonuses for about 14,000 employees. (The Mercury News)
• New Mexico lawmakers consider a proposed constitutional amendment to change the makeup of the commission that regulates utilities. (Albuquerque Journal)

OIL & GAS:
• A California judge has approved a $125 million court settlement stemming from a 2015 natural gas leak over objections from environmentalists and some residents. (Associated Press)
• New Mexico lawmakers consider allowing state oil and gas regulators to charge drilling permit application fees to help pay for agency staffing. (New Mexico In Depth)

WIND: An Oregon utility plans to repower its Wyoming wind farm, a $51 million project slated to begin in April. (Wyoming News Exchange)

POLITICS:
• Republicans, private utilities and some others in Washington are urging a “go slow” approach to the state’s efforts boost clean energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions. (InvestigateWest, Crosscut, KCTS)
• Washington’s governor and likely presidential candidate Jay Inslee praised New Mexico’s governor for her recent efforts to boost clean energy. (Associated Press)

COAL: Colorado lawmakers consider a bill aimed at easing the economic burden faced by communities with closing coal plants while lowering the impact on ratepayers. (The Colorado Sun)

TRANSPORTATION: A bill requiring low-carbon fuels in Washington advances out of a House committee. (Northwest Public Broadcasting)

COMMENTARY:
• Don’t believe the myth that California’s government-run energy programs aren’t signing contracts for new supplies, says the CEO of a local community choice aggregator. (Greentech Media)
• A bill that seeks to allow Montana’s largest utility to buy a struggling coal plant is a desperate “lose lose” proposition that should be rejected by state lawmakers, says a columnist for the Missoulian.
• The director of Oregon’s largest Latino farmworkers’ union is urging state lawmakers to support legislation placing a cap on carbon emissions. (The Oregonian)

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