Western Energy News

San Jose to vote today on natural gas ban

ELECTRIFICATION: San Jose, California is expected to vote today on banning natural gas in new commercial and high-rise residential buildings starting August 2021. (Mercury News) 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
General Motors chooses not to take an 11% stake in Arizona-based electric vehicle company Nikola, dashing its plans for an electric and hydrogen-powered pickup truck. (Associated Press)
Lucid Motors completes the first phase of construction at its Arizona electric vehicle factory, initially planning to produce up to 30,000 electric cars annually. (Electrek)
Portland General Electric is co-developing a large public charging site for medium- and heavy-duty electric commercial vehicles with Daimler Trucks North America. (Automotive World)

OIL & GAS:
A yearlong state audit of California’s process for reviewing fracking and underground injections recommends reforming regulatory procedures found to have been inconsistently carried out. (Bakersfield.com)
Wyoming is now contributing $30 million to federal funding for the oil and gas industry, aiming to stimulate more than 5,000 jobs by funding the completion of projects delayed by the pandemic. (Wyoming Public Media)
Bank of America says it will not finance Arctic oil and gas exploration projects. (Bloomberg)

PIPELINES:
Wyoming environmentalists oppose a proposed pipeline project, concerned about the possible destruction of sensitive wildlife habitat and exacerbation of climate change. (Billings Gazette)
• Eugene, Oregon youth advocate against the use of natural gas in their community, in solidarity with Indigenous land defenders fighting against pipelines. (KLCC)

UTILITIES: California’s utility regulator in a letter to PG&E expresses concerns about the progress of the utility’s wildfire mitigation plan, and will require remediation on specific issues. (Reuters)

MICROGRIDS: A microgrid providing 50 kW of solar generation with a 0.5 MWh battery backup will help protect Soboba Band of Luiseño Indian lands in California threatened by wildfire-related blackouts. (Microgrid Knowledge)

SOLAR:
• New Mexico regulators are expected to vote tomorrow on 300 MW worth of solar power purchase agreements for the state’s largest utility. (Farmington Daily Times)
• A solar farm is at the heart of a land development battle in Northern California, which opponents say would consume protected agricultural land and threaten important native species. (San Francisco Chronicle)

NUCLEAR: University of Idaho researchers announce a “monumental step” in development of molten salt nuclear reactors, which are expected to be smaller, cheaper and safer than existing power plants. (news release) 

CLIMATE:
A new report finds that the City of Helena, Montana is making progress towards its ambitious climate change goals. (Helena Independent Record)
Great Basin caves reveal life-changing impacts of climate change on ancient peoples, and potential impacts on 56 million Western water users. (InsideClimate News)

COMMENTARY:
A California columnist says the time has come for Gov. Gavin Newsom to enact a law he signed authorizing the state to take over and/or force the selloff of parts of utility companies failing to discharge their duties. (Napa Valley Register)
Two business leaders say San Jose’s proposed natural gas ban could lead to increased reliance on diesel generators. (Mercury News)

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