U.S. Energy News

Pro-drilling Interior Department plan fails to mention climate change

CLIMATE: A leaked draft of a five-year plan for the Interior Department includes auctioning off millions of acres of public lands for oil and gas development, while failing to mention climate change or climate science. (The Nation)

EPA:
• EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he will get tough on corporate polluters, despite leading efforts to roll back Obama-era environmental regulations. (Bloomberg)
• The EPA says it will review how laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act impact job growth in the energy sector. (Reuters)
• Pruitt also seeks to weaken independent scientific review at the EPA in what critics say is part of a broader effort to undermine climate science. (The Economist)

POLICY:
• Coal industry groups object to the Energy Department’s proposed requirement for power plants to store 90 days of fuel on site. (SNL Energy)
• Dynegy, which operates multiple coal plants around the country, also opposes the Energy Department plan because it could potentially damage competitive electric markets. (E&E News)
• Energy Secretary Rick Perry says the U.S. discriminated against the nuclear and coal industries under the Obama administration. (Reuters)

WIND:
• Six companies are using grant money from the Department of Energy to develop technology for small and medium-sized wind turbines. (Greentech Media)
• With anti-wind governor Chris Christie stepping down, wind farm developers say “the time is right, and the market is ripe” to build off the coast of New Jersey. (Bloomberg)
• Facebook is working with a developer to build a 320-megawatt wind farm to power its upcoming data center in Nebraska. (Associated Press)
• South Dakota regulators reject a plan for a 200-turbine wind project that would have spanned more than 29,000 acres. (Watertown Public Opinion)

SOLAR:
• The largest utility-scale solar-plus-storage system in Hawaii is being developed on Kauai and is expected to be operational by the end of 2018. (Pacific Business News)
• Oregon-based SolarWorld – one of the two companies petitioning for tariffs on imported solar equipment – says it’s now aiming to hire 350 production workers, up from the 200 workers it talked about hiring a few weeks ago. (Portland Business Journal)
• Percentage-wise, solar panel installers represent the biggest projected job growth over the next decade, according to government estimates. (CNBC)
• A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers introduce a bill that would reinstate a tax exemption for small-scale distributed generation projects, hoping to clarify a policy that has left some residents paying more to install solar panels. (Midwest Energy News)

STORAGE: A new housing development in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul will use grid-interactive electric thermal water heaters to enable a community energy storage project. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: A bipartisan group of senators are proposing legislation that would allow firms building wind turbines, solar farms and other alternative energy projects to use a beneficial legal entity that lowers their taxes, which is already used by the oil and gas sector. (Washington Post)

COAL: A judge rules that coal giant Peabody Energy is not responsible for climate impacts incurred before its 2016 bankruptcy filing, protecting it from lawsuits brought in California state court. (Bloomberg)

OIL & GAS:
• The Commerce Department sends a report to President Trump with recommendations on whether to change the boundaries of 11 marine sanctuaries to allow more oil and gas drilling, but the information was not made public. (Reuters)
• An organization that supplies the energy industry with equipment is tracking protests against pipelines around the country. (Associated Press)
• State regulators approve a $277 million plan for a pair of natural gas plants to be built in the central Upper Peninsula to replace an aging coal plant. (POWER Magazine)

FRACKING: Researchers say five types of air and water pollution commonly found near fracking sites are linked to brain problems in children. (Environmental Health News)

NUCLEAR:
• South Carolina officials tell state senators that equipment at the now-abandoned Summer nuclear project could be damaged because it is not being maintained, which would increase the price of finishing the $9 billion reactors. (Post and Courier)
• Despite the failure of the Summer nuclear project, South Carolina’s governor says he wants the state to continue producing nuclear power for “our national security, but also our prosperity.” (WCBD)
• Florida regulators approve a settlement agreement with Duke Energy Florida that will allow customers to stop paying for the never-built Levy nuclear power plant. (Miami Herald)

COMMENTARY: A Department of Energy proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants would “reverse 30 years of dogged work” by previous FERC commissioners to promote fair competition in electricity markets, according to two contributors to the New York Times.

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