Western Energy News

Oregon adopts stricter rules for solar on farmland

SOLAR: An Oregon land commission approves new rules restricting commercial solar development on millions of acres of prime farmland, a move supported by some of the state’s winemakers. (Oregon Public Broadcasting)

• Clean energy advocates say a utility’s plan to create a new charge for net-metering customers in Montana could kill the state’s burgeoning rooftop solar industry. (Associated Press)
• A Washington entrepreneur’s “solar rover” is helping to provide portable, clean energy to events throughout the Pacific Northwest. (Seattle Times)

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• Over the next five years, PG&E will bury distribution lines that serve the fire-ravaged community of Paradise and other nearby towns. (Utility Dive)
• Tree trimmers are in high demand as California utilities face increasing pressure to reduce wildfire risks by keeping lines clear of branches, limbs and other vegetation. (New York Times)
• City officials in Boulder, Colorado, say a recent legal settlement with Xcel Energy won’t deter them from forming their own municipal utility should voters endorse such a move. (Boulder Daily Camera)
• The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority withdraws its application to leave the state’s largest utility. (The Nevada Independent)

WIND: A Danish wind turbine company is adding hundreds of jobs at its Colorado manufacturing facility. (Denver Business Journal)

GRID: A San Diego utility’s plan to build 100 MW of battery-backed microgrids suffers a setback with a judge’s ruling. (Greentech Media)

• The owner of a Montana coal plant searches for a new supplier as its contract with its longtime source expires in December. (Billings Gazette)
• A bankrupt coal company’s debtors will assume ownership of a Wyoming coal mine and hire a new operator. (Wyoming Public Media)
• Montana regulators revisit how much a South Dakota utility can charge customers for costs associated with a struggling coal plant it partially owns. (Montana Public Radio)

• The Trump administration’s plan to roll back vehicle emissions standards is more an inconvenience than it is a threat to states with ambitious electric vehicle goals like California and Colorado. (Forbes)
• Nevada’s governor signs a bill authorizing funds for school districts to invest in electric buses. (The Nevada Independent)

• Colorado regulators fine a major oil and gas company $68,000 for three spills in the southern part of the state where it will also pay for $12.5 million in pipeline repairs. (Durango Herald)
• Central California residents and environmental activists urge the Trump administration to abandon plans to open nearby public lands to drilling. (San Luis Obispo Tribune)
• An Alaska agency asks the state to rescind a new law requiring oil and gas companies to put up higher bond amounts to cover “orphaned” wells. (Alaska’s Energy Desk)

PUBLIC LANDS: Two federal lawmakers ask for an investigation into whether the Trump administration broke the law by assessing whether land inside the former boundaries of a Utah national monument could be leased for drilling. (Salt Lake Tribune)

TRANSPORTATION: A California company backed by tech billionaire Elon Musk is awarded a $49 million contract to build a tunnel beneath the Las Vegas Convention Center where people will be transported by self-driving electric vehicles. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: A columnist says Arizona regulators’ decision to let a citizen complaint challenging a rate increase proceed was an unexpected yet welcomed move. (Arizona Republic)

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