U.S. Energy News

Residential and utility-scale solar installations fell in 2017

SOLAR: Following a strong year in 2016, residential and utility-scale solar installations declined last year for the first time since 2010. The solar industry installed 10.6 GW in 2017, down from 15 GW in 2016, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

STORAGE:
• Prices for lithium, cobalt and nickel — all key battery materials — are in flux due to the rise of electric vehicles and energy storage. (Greentech Media)
• Tesla and NextEra Energy are among the companies hoping to build the world’s largest Powerpack battery system in Colorado for Xcel Energy. (Electrek)

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WIND: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke continues to criticize wind projects for killing birds, but his department recently slashed protections that seek to prevent migratory bird species from being accidentally killed. (Huffington Post)

COAL:
• A House lawmaker proposes a tax credit that would let coal-fired power plant operators recover up to 30 percent of their operating costs. (The Hill)
• A last-ditch effort to save a coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation stalls as Arizona lawmakers fail to pass a proposal to give $12 million in annual tax breaks for coal sales. (Arizona Republic)

COAL ASH: The EPA’s new environmental justice adviser criticizes a proposal to weaken federal coal ash rules. (InsideClimate News)

OIL & GAS:
• Complex laws and court rulings are evolving over how royalties are distributed to private landowners, creating vast differences in payouts and prompting lawsuits against energy companies. (WKU)
• Recent explosions at an Ohio well pad and pipeline triggered uncontrolled releases of methane, raising questions about the climate risks of natural gas. (Midwest Energy News)

POLLUTION: More than 3,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled in the Trinity River in Texas by an Oklahoma energy company. (Houston Chronicle)

ADVOCACY: Black churches are teaming up to fight the fossil fuel lobby in Virginia. (Grist)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: Oregon’s governor says Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told her Oregon and Washington are “not very lucrative for offshore drilling.” (The Hill)

PIPELINES:
• Pipeline developers say they will pursue exemptions to avoid paying a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum. (Reuters)
• Five people are arrested during a sit-in in Maryland to protest a proposed natural gas pipeline project that would run beneath the Potomac River. (The Baltimore Sun)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: About three-quarters of American utilities are just now beginning to plan for widespread electric vehicle adoption, according to a new survey. (Greentech Media)

POLITICS:
• Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he’s not interested in becoming the secretary of Veterans Affairs, despite reports that President Trump is considering him for the post. (The Hill, New York Times)
• President Trump appoints climate denier and CNBC host Larry Kudlow as the new director of the National Economic Council. (ThinkProgress)

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CLIMATE: California lawmakers announce a plan to “protect all Californians from the threat of natural disasters and climate change,” which includes updates to liability rules and regulations for utility services. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
• Offshore wind energy is taking off along the East Coast, and governments need to make sure they reap the benefits, says the mayor of New Bedford, Massachusetts. (Governing)
• Advocates say electric vehicles now produce significantly fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline-powered cars “regardless of the local power mix.” (Forbes)

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