LITHIUM: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes designating critical habitat for a rare flower in the path of a proposed Nevada lithium mine, dealing a major setback to the project. (E&E News)

California grid operators release a 20-year transmission outlook calling for a massive buildout of utility scale solar and wind generating capacity along with geothermal, battery and long-duration energy storage. (PV Tech) 
• A study finds the Western grid can acquire 90% of its power from renewables and storage by 2040 but will need “emerging clean and flexible” resources to cover the final 10%. (RTO Insider, subscription)
Washington state’s Avista and Tacoma Power will join the Western Energy Imbalance Market next month even though the much larger Bonneville Power Administration delayed its own entry. (RTO Insider, subscription)

A California county urges state regulators to require SoCalGas to relocate a planned natural gas compressor station to a less-populated area. (Ventura County Star)
An Arizona town’s residents oppose Salt River Project’s planned natural gas power plant expansion in a low-income neighborhood. (ABC15)
Montana regulators advance NorthWestern Energy’s proposed 50 MW battery storage facility despite unanswered questions about customer costs. (Helena Independent-Record)
A California court rejects a bid to conceal details of a grand jury investigation into Pacific Gas & Electric’s involvement in the 2018 Camp Fire. (ABC10)
Two southern California cities opt into a community choice energy program that will provide them 100% clean power. (Orange County Register)

ELECTRIFICATION: An investigation finds a San Jose energy company executive helped craft a controversial exemption to the California city’s 2020 ban on natural gas for new commercial buildings. (San Jose Spotlight)

Construction is underway on a solar-powered Colorado steel mill. (Colorado Public Radio)
A California county seeks public input on how to regulate utility-scale solar and battery project construction in unincorporated areas. (The Independent) 

CLIMATE: A record dry January in parts of California and Nevada dims hopes that early season snows would bolster drought-depleted hydroelectric generating capacity. (Guardian)

OIL & GAS: The federal government appeals Hawaii’s order requiring the U.S. Navy to drain tanks at a fuel storage facility suspected of contaminating drinking water. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser) 

New Mexico Democratic lawmakers advance a bill that would establish a clean fuel standard and aim to reduce transportation emissions 30% by 2040. (Albuquerque Journal)
Two Colorado companies partner to develop a bidirectional electric vehicle charger allowing any brand of EV to transfer power to the grid. (news release) 


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.