U.S. Energy News

Report: Widening political divide on environmental issues

POLITICS: A report from the League of Conservation Voters shows a widening political divide on environmental issues, with Republican campaigns increasingly funded by fossil fuel interests. (InsideClimate News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Six states propose legislation that would add to the cost of owning an electric vehicle, saying the fees are necessary to make up for falling gasoline taxes. (Utility Dive)

SOLAR:
• State-supported solar power increased nearly 800 percent in New York over the last five years, representing 744 megawatts of new projects. (PV-Tech)
• SolarCity has reached long-term lease agreements with homeowners who defaulted on their mortgages dozens of times in recent years, raising questions about how the company vets its customers. (New York Times)
• Houston’s city council votes to purchase 50 megawatts of power from a solar plant under construction in West Texas, replacing an equivalent amount of coal-generated power. (Houston Chronicle)
• Charlotte-based Duke Energy must defend its solar policies during a regulatory hearing in May, following allegations from a solar developer that the company is violating state and federal law by failing to connect its projects to the power grid. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• County commissioners in North Carolina vote to ban the construction of solar farms following complaints from residents. (Associated Press)
• Renewable energy supporters rally in Montana to support a bill that expands opportunities for new solar projects in the state. (Independent Record)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: A 4.6-megawatt project in Minnesota is slated to be the first commercial integrated solar-wind hybrid power project in the country. (North American Windpower)

GRID:
• The University of Toledo joins a federal research project that’s aiming to upgrade the national electric grid by monitoring energy prices, generation and demand in real time. (Utility Dive)
• A nonprofit research group creates a four-step process for utilities and regulators to see how making smart grid upgrades may or may not help them achieve specific goals. (Greentech Media)

NUCLEAR: People are voicing opposition to a pending bill that would classify Connecticut’s only nuclear power plant as a renewable energy resource. (Utility Dive)

OIL & GAS:
• A U.S. senator from Alaska is sponsoring legislation to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. (Associated Press)
• An oil industry services company is ordered to pay $9.5 million for safety and pollution violations linked to a 2012 offshore platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico that killed three workers. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: State representatives vote to establish regulations to govern fracking in Georgia, with a goal to protect water sources there. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

PIPELINES:
• Officials clear Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from their main camp in North Dakota, arresting at least 30 people. (Los Angeles Times)
• Dakota Access Pipeline opponents vow to keep fighting after their camp is cleared. (Common Dreams)
• A commission is expected to vote Friday on a proposed gas pipeline that would run through New Jersey’s protected Pinelands forest. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• The closure of a massive coal-fired power plant in Arizona will cause the shutdown of a nearby coal mine, which could further impoverish a Native American tribe. (Arizona Republic)
• A power plant in Illinois shows how converting to natural gas can bring new life to aging coal plants. (Midwest Energy News)

POLITICS: Angry voters grill a Republican senator from Nevada for approving Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator, asking “why did you vote for a man who doesn’t believe in climate change?” (Mother Jones)

CLIMATE: President Trump’s daughter and son-in-law convince him to remove criticism of the Paris climate deal from a forthcoming executive order. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY: Repealing the Clean Power Plan could take years and will require a new rule to be crafted. (Vox)

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