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TAX REFORM: The Republican tax bill headed for President Trump’s signature will take effect January 1 and has mixed consequences for energy, with benefits for utilities, oil companies and electric vehicles. (Greentech Media)
OIL & GAS
• The fight over drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge has just begun, opponents vow after Congress passes a tax bill that includes a provision opening the northern coastal plain to drilling. A look at what happens next. (Reuters, New York Times)
• The developer of a proposed oil refinery near a national park in North Dakota says it’s not trying to skirt state law in its application, even though the proposed plant capacity is just barely below a threshold that would trigger a costly site review. (Associated Press)
• The Maine Public Utilities Commission will decide whether a natural gas supplier can recoup years worth of underbillings. (Maine Public Radio)
BIOFUELS: Texas Sen. John Cornyn “is working hard to unify all stakeholders in a consensus effort to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard,” according to an aide. (Reuters)
• U.S. lawmakers lay the groundwork to guarantee $800 million in federal tax credits for Georgia’s long-delayed and over-budget Vogtle nuclear project, while state regulators meet today to determine if the project will continue. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• Georgia and South Carolina’s nuclear projects were supposed to be identical projects and the start of America’s nuclear energy renaissance, but they now seem to be a study of contrasts. (Post and Courier)
• The fate of the Vogtle nuclear project has significant implications for Florida utility JEA’s ratepayers, who are on the hook for as much as $1.7 billion. (Florida Times-Union)
• New Jersey lawmakers vote unanimously to support a bill to subsidize nuclear power plants at a potential cost of $300 million. (Reuters)
EFFICIENCY: North Carolina officials voted to reverse more stringent energy conservation requirements for new homes, leaving the state with a residential building code that’s 16 percent less energy-efficient than the nation’s model code. (Southeast Energy News)
• In Kansas, a rural electric cooperative and solar installers find common ground over a demand fee by orienting panels toward the west to increase production during peak, late afternoon hours. (Midwest Energy News)
• Advocates are concerned by a draft report from Michigan Public Service Commission staff that would restructure the state’s net metering program, saying it provides a disincentive for residential solar. (E&E News, subscription)
• A solar campaign in Amherst, New York resulted in the installation of 59 new roof-mounted solar arrays. (Buffalo News)
• A North Carolina appeals court again ruled against a county in favor of a solar developer. (Triangle Business Journal)
• A city council in Virginia voted to reject what might have been the city’s first solar farm. (Virginian-Pilot)
• A nonprofit organization has developed a first-of-its-kind solar program in Florida that offers wholesale prices and 100 percent financing. (TC Palm)
• President Trump has delivered 1,200 coal mining jobs but claims to have created 45,000. (Newsweek)
• In an exclusive interview with a Kentucky newspaper, Santa Claus confirmed the coal he gives to naughty children comes from the state’s mines. (Courier-Journal)
• MidAmerican Energy will be able to pursue a second round of federal production tax credits as part of a plan to “re-power” turbines at more than 700 locations. (Rapid City Journal)
• The final pieces are coming into place for a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm in southeastern South Dakota. (Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan)
• A 105 MW wind farm in western Minnesota won’t be required by the state to prioritize the hire of local workers. (Worthington Daily Globe)
• Georgia’s Public Service Commission gives Georgia Power 30 days to respond to questions about a fire that shut down power for 11 hours at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• California’s three investor-owned utilities are on pace to hit a 50 percent renewable electricity target a decade ahead of schedule. (Engadget)
• The Longmont, Colorado City Council hears a presentation on how its local utility could provide “zero net carbon” electricity by 2030. (Longmont Times-Call)
• Months after pledging not to finance oil and gas pipelines, U.S. Bank has entered a $4 billion loan deal with a company backing the Dakota Access pipeline. (DeSmogBlog)
• After a year-long protest in North Dakota over the Dakota Access pipeline, the project continued to dominate the state’s news cycle in 2017. (Associated Press)
BATTERIES: A California hobbyist has become the “reluctant battery king” of YouTube with over 140,000 subscribers. (Motherboard)
• The Baltimore Sun editorial board says Maryland lawmakers should end renewable energy incentives for trash incineration.
• The Economist says throwing subsidies at coal is not the way to make electricity reliable, cheap and green.
• The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy doesn’t expect the new federal tax bill to significantly impact energy efficiency.