U.S. Energy News

Report: Federal coal leasing leaves billions of dollars on the table

COAL: A new report says coal companies are being undercharged to mine on federal lands, to the tune of $1 billion per year. (U.S. News and World Report)

• West Virginia reaches an agreement with Patriot Coal that will set aside about $50 million for the coal company’s environmental cleanup responsibilities. (The Wall Street Journal)
• Patriot Coal says it is laying off about 1,000 coal miners in West Virginia. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)
Advocates say a South Dakota utility overcharged customers for expenses related to a coal plant outage they say could have been prevented. (Associated Press) 

• Utah regulators hear arguments about the value of solar. (Deseret News)
• Some developers in Minnesota claim the state’s largest utility is violating previous agreements by taking too long to approve or deny community solar projects. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Colorado co-op is the latest to introduce a new fixed charge aimed at customers with rooftop solar. (Denver Business Journal)

• California Gov. Jerry Brown will sign into law today a bill raising the state’s renewable energy standard to 50 percent. (Contra Costa Times)
• A Texas city announces plans to get 70 percent of the its electricity from renewable sources. (Texas Tribune)
• More than 100 renewable energy projects have been approved for production tax credits in Iowa but aren’t operating, forcing other developers to wait in line. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A U.S. senator from Oklahoma introduces a bill that would remove the production tax credit from the federal tax code. (The Oklahoman)

FERC: Philip Moeller announces he will step down from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the end of this month. (The Hill)

• The U.S. Senate is probing whether $50 million in tax subsidies may have gone to VW owners under false pretenses. (Associated Press)
• VW said it will recall affected diesel-powered vehicles beginning in January with hopes of retrofitting them by year-end 2016. (Associated Press)

KEYSTONE XL: The “prospect of losing” an eminent domain fight in state court led TransCanada to seek Keystone XL pipeline approval from Nebraska regulators, experts say. (Associated Press)

• Oil executives warn of a “dramatic” decline in U.S. production. (Reuters)
• More trains carrying crude oil from North Dakota are being rerouted through densely populated areas of Minneapolis, records show. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• An analysis suggests track failure could be blame for many oil train incidents. (Los Angeles Times)

EFFICIENCY: Some major universities are cutting their emissions and saving millions by switching from steam to hot water in their energy systems. (ClimateWire)

UTILITIES: Washington D.C.’s mayor reverses course and will now support a proposed Exelon/Pepco merger. (Washington Post)

GRID: A new study outlines a broad range of benefits from battery storage. (Greentech Media) 

COMMENTARY: Why are we more angry at VW than we were at BP? (Huffington Post)

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