U.S. Energy News

Report: Solar employs twice as many U.S. workers as coal industry

SOLAR:
• The U.S. solar industry employed twice as many workers as the coal industry in 2017, according to a new report. (Bloomberg)
• Residential solar installer Sunrun sees a 37 percent boost in revenue year-over-year and expects to benefit from a California mandate requiring solar panels on all new homes. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES: Wholesale energy prices would drop up to 25 percent if wind and solar provided 40 to 50 percent of grid generation, but price fluctuations would likely increase, according to a new study. (Greentech Media)

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GRID:
• Batteries with 6 to 8 hours of capacity can meet peaks in electricity demand as well as gas combustion turbines in most circumstances, according to new research. (Greentech Media)
• Tesla tweets that 140 of its Powerpacks installed in Belgium are “balancing the European electrical grid 100 times faster than fossil fuel plants.” (Greentech Media)
• The grid that serves most of Texas breaks a record for peak demand in May as hot weather grips much of the state. (Platts)

COGENERATION: Midwest advocates look to reform standby charges in multiple states as a way to bring more combined heat and power projects online. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOMASS: A biomass company that wants to sell power to a Virginia college is challenging regulators’ interpretation of the state’s competitive supplier law. (Southeast Energy News)

COAL:
• A Montana conservation group asks the Interior Department to investigate whether a bankrupt Colorado coal company will be able to pay for future mining reclamation costs. (Associated Press)
• New York regulators propose stricter carbon emission limits for existing power plants, which could help the state reach a goal of phasing out coal by 2020. (Utility Dive)

EPA:
• The EPA’s Science Advisory Board criticizes a proposal to limit the use of “secret science” at the agency, saying it would remove valuable scientific studies from consideration. (The Hill)
• EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt confirms he has an external legal defense fund during a Senate committee hearing. (The Hill, New York Times)
• Pruitt says he didn’t pay a close aide to search for apartments for him, which appears to violate a law that prohibits federal employees from doing unpaid voluntary work for their superiors. (The Hill)
• The EPA has failed to protect immigrant and minority communities living near superfund sites. (Pacific Standard)

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CLIMATE: President Trump’s nominee to head the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Heidi King, wouldn’t say whether she believes climate change is caused by humans during a Senate hearing. (Washington Post)

COMMENTARY:
• California utility regulators should consider three tweaks to help build the state’s network of electric vehicle charging stations, says an attorney for Earthjustice. (Utility Dive)
• The Environmental Defense Fund says FirstEnergy’s request for a federal bailout for its nuclear plants would set a dangerous precedent that would allow other power companies to seek help as well.
• Two environmental advocates argue that biomass is not only bad for our forests, air, and climate, but it’s also uneconomic. (Southeast Energy News)

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