Western Energy News

PG&E’s $23 billion bankruptcy plan approved

CALIFORNIA: PG&E gets court approval for its $23 billion bankruptcy financing plan after California Gov. Gavin Newsom drops his opposition. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIFICATION: A new poll suggests 70% of Californians prefer efficient electric appliances powered by clean electricity instead of gas. (Earthjustice)

BIOFUELS: A federal government-backed startup is looking at the viability of giant, drone-managed seaweed farms for fuel, despite concerns about unexpected effects on marine ecosystems. (Scientific American)

GEOTHERMAL: A California lithium startup is partnering with an Australian firm to develop a lithium-extraction facility at the Salton Sea as part of the area’s first new geothermal power plant in a decade. (Los Angeles Times)

SOLAR:
• California reportedly became the first state to add more than 300 megawatts of residential solar in a single quarter during Q4 2019, and added more than one gigawatt over the course of last year for the third time. (Greentech Media)
• San Francisco’s solar industry is preparing for no business due to the COVID-19 “shelter in place” order issued for all Bay Area residents yesterday. (E&E News, subscription)

COAL:
• Montana’s Consumer Counsel says NorthWestern Energy’s proposal to buy an extra 25% of Colstrip Unit 4 is missing key information. (Montana Public Radio)
• The future of water rights owned by energy companies in the wake of Western coal-fired power plant closures may decide the economic future of many rural communities. (Daily Yonder)

FOSSIL FUELS: Wyoming coal, oil, and gas companies are intensifying their response to the spread of COVID-19, attempting to keep workers safe while weathering volatile energy markets and keeping up production. (Casper Star-Tribune)

OIL & GAS:
• Celebrity drag queen RuPaul draws criticism from fans after revealing that he leases oil rights on his 60,000 acre Wyoming ranch. (Paper)
Wyoming’s oil and gas industry is expected to change significantly in the wake of two bills signed into law last week, notably the ability for mineral owners to receive 16% of the mineral royalty interest during the time the owner is paying the risk penalty. (Casper Star-Tribune)
Alaska faces upwards of a $600 million revenue reduction in the 2021 fiscal year starting July 1 due to plummeting oil prices. (Anchorage Daily News)
Initial results from a survey of Wyoming residents reveals significant support for natural gas and oil production. (University of Wyoming News)

POLLUTION:
Nine Colorado counties are suing the state over new oil and gas air-quality rules they say unfairly impact rural areas. (Associated Press)
A new study finds that California’s strict air quality regulations are helping boost the productivity of Central Valley farmers. (Phys.org)

PUBLIC LANDS: The BLM could sell off up to 50,000 acres of public lands in Nevada under a  newly-introduced  bill. (E&E News, subscription)

HYDROPOWER: Conservation groups asked federal agencies to cancel in-person meetings on plans for the Snake River dams due to COVID-19 concerns. (Spokesman-Review)  

COMMENTARY:
Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter discusses his continued dedication to renewable energy in a Q&A session. (Colorado Politics)
• A Colorado oil and gas industry executive says the industry pays its fair share of state taxes, notably ad valorem taxes on production. (Colorado Springs Gazette)
A Sunrun official says maximizing the utilization of batteries is more important to the company than their cost coming down. (Energy Storage News)

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