U.S. Energy News

Report: U.S. coal production will continue to decline in 2018 and 2019

COAL: U.S. coal production will continue to decline in 2018 and 2019, thanks to cheap natural gas and coal plant retirements, according to predictions by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Washington Post)

• The CEO of coal giant Murray Energy slams federal regulators for rejecting a DOE plan to prop up coal and nuclear plants, calling the decision a “bureaucratic cop-out.” (Washington Post)
• In a win for environmentalists, commissioners at the Port of Vancouver in Washington vote to end a lease with developers seeking to build a giant oil terminal. (Portland Business Journal)
• Duke Energy will pay an $84,000 penalty and work to stop waste from three North Carolina coal plants from leaking into groundwater and rivers under a deal with state regulators. (Associated Press)

• After meeting with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he will remove Florida from the Trump administration’s plan to open nearly all U.S. coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. (Bloomberg)
• The removal of Florida from the White House’s plan to expand offshore oil and gas exploration underscores its deep unpopularity. (New York Times)

• The oil lobby group American Petroleum Institute (API) is pushing the Trump administration and Congress to include policies in a new infrastructure bill that will make oil and natural gas pipelines easier to build. (The Hill)
• FERC plans to review how it handles approvals for interstate oil and gas pipeline projects, but critics are skeptical that changes will help anyone but the industry. (Huffington Post)
• Environmental groups file a lawsuit against FERC over its approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, saying the agency didn’t do enough to establish a need for the project. (Associated Press)

• The White House and federal agencies have completed, or are on track to complete, the bulk of 14 requests made by coal CEO Robert Murray. (New York Times)
• The Department of Energy says it will “respect” and “honor” FERC’s decision to reject its plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants. (Utility Dive)
• Energy lawyers, environmentalists and former FERC commissioners are praising the agency’s decision to reject a Trump administration plan to boost coal and nuclear power. (Common Dreams, Utility Dive)
• President Trump’s former campaign manager slams FERC for rejecting the DOE proposal, tweeting that “the deep state is very real.” (The Hill)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: The government of Maryland tells EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that it formally opposes the agency’s plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan, unless it can be replaced with an “effective and enforceable” alternative to cut emissions. (Baltimore Sun)

CARBON TAX: Washington Governor Jay Inslee proposes a state carbon tax starting at $20 per ton of carbon emissions, which would go into effect in July 2019. (Spokesman-Review)

• Virginia Governor-Elect Ralph Northam announces the state will join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative in an effort to reduce emissions, garnering praise from activists. (Blue Virginia)
• Four House lawmakers – two Democrats and two Republicans – join a climate caucus that seeks bipartisan solutions to climate change issues such as carbon emissions and rising sea levels. (The Hill)

CLEAN ENERGY: Minnesota’s clean energy and emission-reduction plans include expanding the state’s electric vehicle fleet, rehabbing state-owned buildings and adding solar panels to rooftops. (Midwest Energy News)

• Pending regulatory outcomes in Massachusetts could make or break the second-largest non-residential solar market in the U.S. (Greentech Media)
• The Energy Department gives eight projects a total of $12 million as part of an effort to improve grid operators’ ability to predict solar power production. (Greentech Media)
• Panasonic says it’s beginning to manufacture solar cells at Tesla’s Buffalo Gigafactory, where orders are being taken for the company’s first Solar Roofs. (Greentech Media)

STORAGE: Analysts make four energy predictions for 2018, including strong energy storage growth and a surge in electric vehicle adoption. (Utility Dive)

NUCLEAR: Low natural gas prices, not renewable energy, are responsible for struggling nuclear plants according to a new study from MIT. (Utility Dive)

• FERC’s rejection of a DOE plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants is a serious setback for the Trump administration and opens the door for a national discussion about the performance of the electricity grid, writes David Roberts. (Vox)
• A University of Michigan researcher says FERC’s decision to reject a plan to bolster coal and nuclear plants is “the kind of evidence-based policymaking that Americans should expect from the federal government.” (The Conversation)

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