U.S. Energy News

Report: Wind produced 6.3 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017

WIND: Wind power accounted for a record-breaking 6.3 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017, with four states getting over 30 percent of their electricity from wind, according to a new report. (North American Wind Power)

ALSO:
New Mexico led the nation last year as the fastest growing state for wind energy, according to the same report. (Albuquerque Journal)
U.S. wind installations fell 14 percent last year, partly because a tax credit extension gave developers more time to complete projects. (Bloomberg)
Scientists are using weather radar systems to detect migrating birds and protect them from wind turbines. (NBC)

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SOLAR:
The DOE will offer $105 million in funding for about 70 solar research and development projects. (Greentech Media)
Government data shows solar thermal plants had the lowest capacity factor of any renewable energy source last year at less than 22 percent. (Greentech Media)
A new insurance program that guarantees energy production for solar projects sells its first policies at three Virginia solar farms. (Greentech Media)
• The middle-class city of Ypsilanti, Michigan, attracts national attention for the amount of solar being installed there. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUELS: More than a dozen U.S. senators demand to know which refineries were given waivers by the U.S. EPA from federal biofuel requirements. (Quad-City Times)

BIOGAS: Hog waste becomes a streamlined fuel source in North Carolina, where it’s reducing methane emissions and being used to fuel renewable natural gas. (NPR)

GRID:
• A case pending before Texas utility regulators could test the limits of FERC’s recent ruling on energy storage. (Utility Dive)
• Illinois regulators will study the value of distributed generation put onto the grid years ahead of schedule following strong interest in community solar projects. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES:
Officials in Glendale, California, vote against a proposed 262 MW gas plant, saying the city should look into cleaner energy options. (Greentech Media)
A new report says a Vermont utility’s distributed energy efforts will have to scale up significantly to meet state clean energy targets. (Greentech Media)

TRANSMISSION: New Hampshire regulators schedule a new hearing for the $1.6 billion Northern Pass project after rejecting a permit for the project last month. (Associated Press)

REGULATION: FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre tells a House committee that his agency could act to keep uneconomic coal and nuclear plants online if it believes those generation resources are under threat. (Utility Dive)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: The Interior Department says it won’t reduce the federal royalty rate from offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. (Houston Chronicle)

PIPELINES: Pipelines owned and operated by the companies building Louisiana’s Bayou Bridge Pipeline had 527 hazardous incidents, including spills, from 2002 to 2017, according to an environmental group’s report. (Times-Picayune)

EMISSIONS: The transportation sector emits at least twice as much CO2 as power plants in blue states like California and New York, but the Trump administration’s plan to weaken vehicle efficiency standards will make it harder to curb those emissions. (E&E News)

POLITICS:
President Trump’s top policy adviser on energy and environmental issues will return to his previous job at a lobbying firm. (The Hill)
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has repeatedly claimed to be a geologist when justifying decisions to extract natural resources on public lands, but he has never worked as one. (CNN)

CLIMATE: A group of nine religious leaders were forbidden from talking about climate change during a meeting with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. (E&E News)

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CLIMATE: Two Colorado counties sue Suncor Energy and ExxonMobil for damages associated with climate change, making them the first non-coastal U.S. communities to seek climate compensation from fossil fuel producers. (Denver Post)

COMMENTARY:
Any other president would have fired EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who “is not just an industry lap dog but also an arrogant and vengeful bully,” says the New York Times editorial board.
It’s a brave new world when a utility that does business in coal-producing Western states plans to ramp up renewables and move away from fossil fuels, says a solar developer. (PV Magazine)

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