Western Energy News

Regulators downplayed the cost of expanding California’s grid

GRID: California regulators intentionally minimized the cost of expanding the state’s grid to include other states, newly obtained emails show. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

COAL:
• “Clean coal” produced by companies in Colorado and a handful of other states are making staggering amounts of money for investment firms because of a little known tax credit inserted into a 2004 federal jobs bill. (Reuters)
• The BLM office in eastern Montana is taking public comments on its revised plan to manage coal resources in the region after a federal judge ruled the agency must consider climate change. (Billings Gazette)
• The operator of Utah coal mine is refusing to plug wells leaking dangerous amounts of methane gas even though it hasn’t operated in almost a decade, creating a standoff with state regulators. (Salt Lake Tribune)

EFFICIENCY:
• A new study finds that converting gas heat pumps to electric could slash greenhouse gas emissions in half in California homes. (Greentech Media)
• A Southern California gas provider launches an alert program to help manage demand during the winter. (City News Service)

TRANSPORTATION: A California lawmaker introduces legislation that would direct air quality regulators to come up with a plan ensuring all cars sold in the state are free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. (San Francisco Chronicle)

UTILITIES:
• Citing its efforts to beef up clean energy in Colorado, a utility industry publication names Xcel Energy “Utility of the Year.” (Utility Dive)
• A California lawmaker is delaying legislation that would give utilities financial relief from paying wildfire damages incurred his year. (Los Angeles Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Portland utility will build 36 electric vehicle charging stations as part of a $2.6 million plan. (The Oregonian)

SOLAR:
• An Arizona utility plans to build a 100 MW solar plant to power a computer chip maker’s Phoenix area campus. (KTAR)
• Stanford University will run its main campus entirely on solar energy when a new plant comes online in 2021. (The Stanford Daily)

POLITICS:
• Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is fueling speculation he’ll run for president on a climate change focused platform. (Rolling Stone)
• Cap and trade legislation will likely be passed in Oregon next year under a Democrat-controlled state legislature, a lawmaker tells a statewide cattlemen’s group. (Capital Press)

CLIMATE: One of the leaders of a climate change commission in Hawaii says the state must embrace clean energy to minimize the effects of a warming world. (Maui News)

OIL & GAS: Federal land managers in Nevada plan to lease almost one million acres for oil and gas exploration in March, one of the largest offerings in recent years in the state. (The Nevada Independent)

COMMENTARY: San Diego’s economy should rely on a clean coast, not offshore drilling, says a coastal mayor and the chief policy officer for a national environmental group. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

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