U.S. Energy News

Report: Prices for utility-scale solar fell 30 percent in first quarter

SOLAR: Prices for utility-scale solar dropped about 30 percent over the last year, mostly due to a mismatch between supply and demand in China, according to a new report. (Utility Dive)

ALSO:
• A report finds that interest in solar is up in all 50 states, but customers feel there’s a lack of options where they live, and the financial benefits aren’t drastic enough to persuade them to buy. (Greentech Media)
• Utah regulators are considering a proposal to grandfather current net-metering customers into the existing system through 2035. (Deseret News)

STORAGE: A detailed look at how California uses its utility-scale energy storage to integrate renewable resources. (Utility Dive)

WIND: The Alphabet-owned wind power startup Makani says it plans to test an airborne plane with wind turbines next year in Hawaii. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES: California’s plan for 100 percent renewable energy failed due to concerns that it would threaten grid security and cost electric and utility workers jobs. (Greentech Media)

UTILITIES: Arizona Public Service Co. and Southern California Edison are combating the “duck curve” problem by revamping demand response programs, changing rate design and rolling out electric vehicle pilots. (Utility Dive)

GRID: For regional grid operators, integrating higher levels of renewable energy brings both planning and operational challenges. (Utility Dive)

ALTERNATIVE FUEL: North Carolina advocates want the state to revoke a permit for a proposed biomass wood pellet facility, raising questions about climate benefits and local environmental impacts. (Southeast Energy News)

OIL & GAS: Two green groups are suing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to make it rescind oil drilling leases it granted on federal land in Nevada, saying the agency failed to consider the potential consequences of fracking on the environment. (Associated Press)

POLLUTION:
• Three spills reportedly occurred at a former petroleum industry waste processing plant in Houston after Hurricane Harvey, releasing cancerous chemicals from one of the city’s dirtiest Superfund toxic waste sites. (Associated Press)
• The five biggest oil companies – ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, BP and Total SA – collectively curbed their pollution by 13 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to a new report. (Bloomberg)

PIPELINES: Virginia’s DEQ says it doesn’t plan to slow down the process for two proposed pipeline projects, despite requests from state lawmakers, opposition from environmental groups and delays in West Virginia and North Carolina. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

COAL: A plan to build an 895-megawatt coal plant in southwest Kansas appears to be dead, and the developer is writing off as a loss more than $93 million it has already spent on the project. (Lawrence Journal-World)

NUCLEAR:
• Under the terms of a court settlement, a California utility agreed to form an expert panel to study its nuclear waste disposal dilemma, but it may not bring a solution on spent fuel any closer. (Utility Dive)
• Santee Cooper’s retiring CEO says South Carolina’s unfinished nuclear reactors should not be sold and the project could be finished in the future. (The State)

CLIMATE:
• U.S. governors are pledging to work with international leaders on climate change at a United Nations General Assembly meeting this week. (New York Times)
• That major companies who supported the Paris climate agreement also donated to Republican groups that challenge U.S. climate policies “speaks … to the difficulties for corporations trying to navigate the political system in a country that’s polarized — particularly on climate change.” (Center for Public Integrity)

CARBON TAX: Tribal leaders in Washington state could move forward with their own plan to tax carbon emissions after another group failed to include them in negotiations. (News Tribune)

COMMENTARY:
• The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) is still essential for ensuring competition in electricity markets and should be protected, says the director of the Energy Democracy Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. (Greentech Media)
• President Trump is using the EPA to prop up the coal industry, which “overlooks the blossoming of profitable and cleaner energy products simply because of Mr. Trump’s hollow showmanship before his campaign base,” says the New York Times editorial board.
• Politicians are using many troubling tactics to block rooftop solar power nationwide, says a sustainability research associate at Center for Biological Diversity. (CNBC)

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