U.S. Energy News

Nine East Coast states pledge to cut emissions by 30 percent

CLIMATE: Nine East Coast states pledge to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent between 2020 and 2030 as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), marking a “major victory” against climate change. (Washington Post, Huffington Post)

• A controversial grid study commissioned by Energy Secretary Rick Perry recommends that federal regulators make licensing and permitting easier for facilities “such as nuclear, hydro, coal, advanced generation technologies, and transmission.” (New York Times, Associated Press)
• The same Department of Energy report says cheap natural gas has been the “biggest contributor” to coal and nuclear plant closures, not renewables or environmental regulations. (E&E News)

• A group of 27 solar equipment manufacturers write a letter asking the International Trade Commission to reject a call for new import tariffs. (Greentech Media)
• A private equity firm has revived the bankrupt Sungevity brand, which was the fifth-largest residential solar installer earlier this year. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: A representative for solar power plant developer sPower told a Utah legislative committee to boost the state’s portfolio of utility-scale renewable power generation, saying it will draw major corporations to the state. (Deseret News)

BIOFUEL: A group of researchers in California wants to turn ocean kelp into biofuel by a process called thermochemical liquefaction. (NPR)

• A Michigan-based company that supplies batteries for electric buses announces another round of layoffs. (MLive)
• Meanwhile, LG announces it will spend $25 million to build a new factory near Detroit to produce battery packs for electric vehicles. (Dow Jones Newswires)

• President Trump’s description of “clean coal” during a speech in Phoenix reveals that he may not understand the concept as it relates to carbon capture and storage. (Washington Post)
• The EPA knew about the health dangers of a 2008 coal ash disaster in Tennessee but didn’t follow recommendations to protect clean-up workers, according to official documents. (Knoxville News Sentinel)
• As part of a settlement agreement with the Sierra Club over environmental violations, Michigan’s largest municipal utility agrees to shut down a second major coal plant by 2025. (Lansing State Journal)

• Over 17 million people in the U.S. live within a mile of an active oil or natural gas well, and almost 50 percent of the population lives within a mile of a well in West Virginia and Oklahoma, according to a new study. (Daily Climate)
• Texas oil companies added about 20,000 jobs over the past 12 months and have seen a 10 percent increase in employment compared to the same time last year, according to a state index. (Houston Chronicle)

UTILITIES: In response to a court ruling that FERC did not consider the climate impacts of a pipeline project, Florida Power & Light said coal consumption will be increased if access to natural gas is curtailed. (Palm Beach Post)

TECHNOLOGY: Connecticut-based FuelCell Energy Inc. says it will build a fuel-cell power plant in Pittsburgh. (Pittsburgh Business Times)

NUCLEAR: Selling South Carolina’s state-owned utility in an effort to recoup costs from the abandoned Summer nuclear project would still leave billions of dollars of debt. (Associated Press)

REGULATION: An environmental group is suing the EPA for allegedly failing to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request for documents pertaining to its regulatory reform task force. (The Hill)

• The only reason the Trump administration would end a federal study into the possible health effects of living near coal mines in Appalachia is to please the coal industry – and that reason is not good enough, according to an editorial in the Lexington Herald Leader.
• Electric vehicles represent a huge opportunity for utilities to invest in the distribution system, says an energy expert for America’s Power Plan. (Greentech Media)

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