U.S. Energy News

Report: Trump plan to help coal plants will ultimately hurt sector

POLICY:
• A new report by The Brattle Group says the Trump administration’s plan to boost coal plants will ultimately disadvantage the sector because it wouldn’t curtail competition from natural gas. (Utility Dive)
• FERC commissioners seem to be divided over Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants. (Greentech Media)

BIOFUEL:
• President Trump has reportedly directed the U.S. EPA to table plans that would weaken federal biofuel mandates, apparently in response to pressure from top lawmakers from Iowa. (Bloomberg)
• President Trump personally tells Iowa’s governor that he is committed to supporting the federal biofuels mandate, but a White House spokesperson said the administration “didn’t make any assurances.” (Reuters)

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OIL & GAS:
• Republican senators introduce a bill that would fast-track applications to export small-scale volumes of liquefied natural gas “without modification or delay.” (The Hill)
• The U.S. wants to expand its natural gas exports to Asia, which would benefit export terminals being developed along the Louisiana and Texas coasts. (The Advocate)
• Republican lawmakers are exploring ways to expand drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Arctic and Atlantic oceans using congressional budget rules. (Bloomberg)

POLLUTION: Over $5 million in settlement funds from the 2010 BP oil spill will be used to improve the Texas coastline. (Houston Chronicle)

PIPELINES: A federal judge will hear arguments over the next month on whether the Dakota Access pipeline developer must stage spill-response equipment near a tribes’ reservation. (Associated Press)

CARBON CAPTURE: The Department of Energy will provide up to $26 million for as many as 14 carbon capture research projects. (Utility Dive)

REGULATION: FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee lays out his priorities for the agency, which included pipeline approvals, cyber security and grid reliability. (Utility Dive)

SOLAR:
• The CEO of First Solar wants to help solve the “duck curve” problem in California by having utilities pay solar farms to stop generation when the grid doesn’t need it. (Bloomberg)
• Fox news personality Sean Hannity voices an advertisement opposing tariffs on imported solar panels, saying “American solar can compete just fine on its own.” (Bloomberg)
• Utilities in Nebraska and Ohio are among a growing number to approve “plug and play” solar devices that make it easier and less costly to install solar panels at homes. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES:
• Dominion Energy Virginia is seeking bids for approximately 300 megawatts of solar and onshore wind generation in the state. (Utility Dive)
• Rates paid to developers of renewable energy projects in North Carolina will decline due to a recent order from state regulators. (Utility Dive)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Tesla employees say a recent round of firings weren’t performance related, but appeared to be a cost-cutting measure. (CNBC)
• Three former Tesla employees are suing the company after experiencing “racially motivated abuse” while working at the carmaker’s factory in California. (Los Angeles Times)
• Volkswagen’s failure to secure long-term cobalt supplies for its electric vehicle batteries raises the question of whether companies will be able to access the material quickly enough. (Greentech Media)

NUCLEAR:
• South Carolina regulators have filed a motion asking the state’s utility oversight commission to decide the best way for ratepayers to get money back from the now-failed Summer nuclear plant. (The State)
• SCE&G faces a $3,200 fine for letting sewage leak from the Summer nuclear station into a creek and contaminating a popular recreational river. (The State)

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CLIMATE:
• After public backlash, New Mexico’s public education agency says it will restore references to climate change that had been stripped from the state’s proposed science education standards. (Mother Jones)
• New talks on the Paris climate agreement are scheduled for next month, putting the U.S. in the awkward position of attending despite plans to formally leave the accord in 2020. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY: U.S. automakers should stop fighting against successful fuel economy and emissions standards, says a former EPA administrator. (New York Times)

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