Western Energy News

PG&E facing stricter probation for wildfire safety failures

UTILITIES: PG&E’s criminal probation judge says the utility is failing “to operate its power grid safely,” citing a December 2020 report on the company’s vegetation management program. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: Hawaii regulators establish a “performance-based regulation” framework that changes the way Hawaiian Electric makes its money. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

WIND: Construction is expected to begin this year on Montana’s largest wind farm, a 750 MW facility that will tap into the grid near the struggling Colstrip coal plant. (Billings Gazette)

COAL: Analysts predict an uptick in demand for Powder River Basin coal in 2021, but not enough to stem long-term decline. (Casper Star-Tribune)

OIL & GAS: While roughly 580,000 Los Angeles County residents live less than a quarter-mile from a drilling site, many may not realize it because the wells are concealed by fake buildings and other structures. (Gizmodo)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
Tesla reports it delivered nearly 500,000 electric vehicles last year, and tests its autonomous driving feature on a long-distance drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. (Los Angeles Times, Tech Times)
Three Western-based electric truck and van companies are among nine working on integrating renewable natural gas and other efficiency improvements alongside electrification in 2021. (GreenBiz)

CARBON: The development of carbon capture technologies in Wyoming could be accelerated by the federal spending bill recently signed into law. (Casper Star-Tribune)

EMISSIONS: A University of Denver scientist finds that indoor carbon dioxide emissions from home cooking are likely to be very high, especially from gas stoves. (Fast Company)

MICROGRIDS: A study is underway to determine the feasibility of developing a microgrid to connect a cluster of public facilities near a Colorado airport. (Aspen Times)

NUCLEAR: A California-based startup is among developers focusing on tiny nuclear reactors, and its self-contained 1.5 MW plant functions like a battery in producing electrical power. (Popular Mechanics)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Two Utah ski resorts aim to reduce their environmental impact through a number of measures including renewable energy projects. (Park Record)

STORAGE: California regulators are considering six additional PG&E battery energy storage projects totaling 387 MW. (Renewable Energy Magazine)

SOLAR: A solar power startup is set to break ground on a production facility in central Washington at the end of this month. (Columbia Basin Herald)

CLIMATE: Missoula, Montana’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025 is feeling elusive as the city grapples with housing and health issues. (Missoula Current)

COMMENTARY:
The CEO of a New Mexico power company reflects on its achievements in 2020 and its goal aiming to transform the energy landscape. (Las Cruces Sun News)
A Colorado architect says investing in solar energy would increase jobs and help the state’s economy while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Estes Park Trail-Gazette)

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