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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Lisa Ellwood

Lisa is a Lenape and Nanticoke Native American freelance journalist, editor and writer currently based in the U.K. She has more than two decades’ experience working in corporate communications and print and digital media. She compiles the Western Energy News daily email digest. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University; her specializations include data journalism and visualization. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, Investigative Reporters & Editors, Society of Professional Journalists, and the National Union of Journalists (U.K.).