U.S. Energy News

Report: U.S. solar output grows by 47 percent in 2017

SOLAR:
• A Department of Energy report shows U.S. solar output grew 47 percent during the first nine months of 2017. (PV Magazine)
• Duke energy purchased California-based REC solar to expand its clean energy offerings for commercial and industrial companies. (Greentech Media)

WIND: NextEra Energy and American Electric Power opened a $200 million, 120 MW wind project in Indiana. (Electric Light & Power)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Car-sharing companies like Zipcar are pushing cities to expand their electric vehicle charging infrastructure and inspiring users to buy their own EVs. (InsideClimate News)

BIOFUEL: Republican senators met with President Trump to push for a rollback of the federal biofuel mandate, an idea he is reportedly open to. (Houston Chronicle, Reuters)

POLICY:
• How the GOP tax bill could hurt the growth of renewable energy in the United States. (The New York Times)
• The Trump administration is suspending a rule that limits methane leaks from oil and gas operations on federal land. The rule was set to go into effect next month. (Washington Post)
• In a blow to environmental groups, the Trump administration is rolling back an Obama-era rule that required oil trains to install electronically controlled pneumatic brakes by 2021. (Associated Press)
New photos show Murray Energy’s CEO making a policy pitch to FERC and Energy Secretary Rick Perry six months before the DOE announced a controversial proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants. (In These Times)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Congress that the Trump administration will be “introducing a replacement rule” for the Clean Power Plan. (NBC)

CLIMATE: Meanwhile, Pruitt told members of Congress that a formal, public debate over climate change science could launch as early as next month. (Reuters)

REGULATION: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) swore in new chairman, Kevin McIntyre, completing the five-member panel. (Reuters)

GRID:
• A California utility and the state’s grid operator announced a plan to deploy enough distributed energy resources to replace an aging power plant without building new transmission lines. (Greentech Media)
• Regional grid operator PJM approved $318 million in grid infrastructure upgrades across its service territory. (Utility Dive)

COAL: Several environmental and civil rights groups this week filed a federal lawsuit asking Duke Energy to remove coal ash pollution from a large storage basin in North Carolina. (News & Record)

OIL & GAS:
• The Trump administration auctioned oil and gas drilling rights for 10.3 million acres of land in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, but less than 1 percent was purchased between two companies. (The Hill)
• Boston-based General Electric, the world’s largest maker of gas turbines, plans to cut 12,000 jobs in response to falling demand for fossil fuel energy. (Quartz)

PIPELINES:
• Virginia’s water control board approved permits for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, the project’s last major regulatory hurdle. (Washington Post)
• The Atlantic Coast Pipeline cleared a key regulatory hurdle this week in West Virginia but is still waiting on water quality certifications and other permits in Virginia and North Carolina. (Natural Gas Intel)
• Alberta’s environmental and parks minister said Minnesota should support the contentious Line 3 pipeline, arguing it’s safer and more environmentally sound than the alternatives. (Midwest Energy News)

NUCLEAR: Meanwhile, the Vogtle nuclear project is tied to Congress’ tax reform package, which could shorten a decision timeline for the fate of the project. (E&E News, Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY:
• A California solar company manager predicts five ways the use and creation of solar power will change over the next 10 years. (Smart Cities Dive)
• A controversial Department of Energy proposal is nothing more than “a devious and reckless attempt to prop up coal-fired plants,” says The New York Times editorial board.
• Rhodium Group breaks down how pending tax reforms could affect solar, wind and electric vehicles. (Greentech Media)
• A columnist says market forces are pushing utilities across the country to change their energy strategies, and even coal country is falling in line. (Forbes)

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