U.S. Energy News

Report: Coal will continue to decline in Texas

COAL:
• Coal-fired power plants are unlikely to make a comeback in Texas, primarily due to cheap natural gas and low-cost renewables, according to a recent report. (Greentech Media)
• Texas’s largest power generator will close a coal mine and lay off 132 workers before the end of the year. (FuelFix)
• A clean energy group creates a map of coal ash sites across the Southeast, which includes industry responses to EPA deadlines on coal ash rules. (Southeast Energy News)

REGULATION: A federal judge sides with coal giant Murray Energy, saying the EPA has failed to properly estimate job losses caused by its regulations of the fossil fuel industry. (The Hill)

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OIL & GAS:
• New Yorkers send an open letter asking the state’s public pensions to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. (Common Dreams)
• The government rewrites three rules dealing with royalty rates for oil and gas drillers on federal and Indian land. (The Hill)
• The Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturns a 2012 law that lets companies seize private land for the purpose of storing natural gas underground. (InsideClimate News)

PIPELINES:
• Shell Pipeline Co. says it will begin construction on a 92.3-mile ethane pipeline between Ohio and Pennsylvania in late 2018. (Pittsburgh Business Times)
• About $2 million of construction equipment for the Dakota Access Pipeline is destroyed by arsonists in Iowa. (Reuters)
• A judge dismisses riot charges for a radio journalist who was reporting from a Dakota Access Pipeline protest. (New York Times)

CARBON CAPTURE: A San Francisco-based company wants to capture 10 percent of global CO2 emissions and is offering funding to researchers who can turn the gas into useful products like cement. (Carbon Brief)

EMISSIONS: Missouri becomes the 17th state to sue Volkswagen over its diesel emissions cheating scandal. (Reuters)

CLIMATE: ExxonMobil asks a federal court to block climate change-related investigations of the company, calling the effort a baseless “conspiracy” by the attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts. (The Hill)

UTILITIES: Critics say a new electricity charge ordered by Ohio regulators could amount to a $1 billion “bailout” for FirstEnergy, which is “essentially rewarding the company for bad bets that it made on coal.” (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Declining costs for wind and solar are making renewables more competitive with natural gas. (CleanTechnica)

HYDRO:
• Federal agencies that oversee 14 hydropower facilities on two rivers in Washington state must convince a judge that the projects won’t hurt endangered fish in the region. (Seattle Times)
• Small-scale hydropower projects could help rural communities in Alaska, where energy costs are high and people rely on diesel fuel for heat and power. (Alaska Dispatch News)

SOLAR:
• A new report finds the “duck curve” – an imbalance between solar generation and load – is growing faster than expected in California. (RTO Insider)
• A new analysis from the Department of Energy suggests that federal policy sparked the massive expansion of utility-scale solar in the U.S. (PV-Tech)
• Amazon is funding a project to make open-source software and hardware that allows a solar-powered bicycle or tricycle to become an autonomous vehicle. (Triangle Business Journal)
• Tesla plans to partner with Panasonic to manufacture solar cells at SolarCity’s factory in upstate New York – slated to be the largest solar panel factory in North America – but the deal hinges on Tesla’s pending acquisition of SolarCity. (Greentech Media)
• Maine residents and solar installation companies tell the state’s Public Utilities Commission that its proposal to phase out net metering will stifle the growth of solar. (Portland Press Herald)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A senator from Ohio proposes a bill to give up to $3,000 in annual pre-tax benefits for people who use electric vehicles to commute to work. (Autoblog)

NUCLEAR: A plan to build a dozen small nuclear reactors in Idaho could result in cheaper and safer nuclear energy. (The Guardian)

COMMENTARY:
• Autonomous cars, electric vehicles and ride sharing could revolutionize American transportation and fight climate change. (The Hill)
• A closer look at the political “train wreck” around Washington state’s carbon tax proposal. (Vox)

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