U.S. Energy News

Scientists resign over Zinke request for confidential energy data

POLITICS:
• Two senior U.S. Geological Survey officials resign after the agency provided Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke with data from an oil and gas study several days in advance of its public release, which allegedly violated guidelines. (Washington Post)
• Fraudulent emails sent to South Carolina lawmakers urging them to support Dominion Energy’s takeover of SCANA are not the first time the Consumer Energy Alliance has been linked to such tactics. (Think Progress)
• Influential GOP donors David and Charles Koch are fighting a new federal tax on gasoline that would be used to fund infrastructure legislation. (Washington Post)

SOLAR:
• A clean energy group fights for a ballot initiative that would let voters decide if Arizona adopts a new requirement to get half its power from renewable sources by 2030, which would replace a current 15 percent mandate. (Phoenix Business Journal)
• A closer look at the 10 states with the most solar jobs in 2017. (CNBC)
• New rules reducing compensation for rooftop solar in Maine will go into effect six weeks earlier than originally planned – angering solar installers. (Portland Press Herald)

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STORAGE: New Jersey’s bill to subsidize nuclear plants also includes a goal of 2,000 MW of energy storage by 2030. (NJ Spotlight)

WIND:
• Xcel Energy’s plan to build two massive wind farms along the Texas-New Mexico border hit a roadblock after a meeting of utility regulators in New Mexico. (Albuquerque Journal)
• A Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group scrutinizes an Ohio legislator’s ongoing opposition to wind energy and renewable portfolio standards. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: The bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance sends a letter urging Congress to block proposed DOE budget cuts that would slash funding for renewable energy and energy efficiency research. (Pacific Business News)

BIOFUELS: U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz blasts federal biofuel policy at an appearance at a Pennsylvania refinery that has filed for bankruptcy. (StateImpact)

SMART GRID: A report urges states to consider reforms that would give utilities more financial incentive to embrace cloud computing and other technology over traditional capital investments. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL & GAS
• A Utah Senate committee endorses legislation that would prevent local governments from passing oil and gas regulations. (Deseret News)
• The rise of shared and autonomous electric vehicles will lead to peak global oil demand in the late 2030s, according to a BP forecast. (Greentech Media)

PIPELINES:
• Duke Energy says the cost of building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline will be at least $1 billion higher than original estimates because of delays and more stringent regulations. (WFAE)
• A judge orders federal agencies to review documents related to the Trump administration’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline following accusations from environmental groups. (Associated Press)

COAL: Despite the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to undo Obama-era environmental policies, the energy industry remains deeply pessimistic about coal’s chances for a comeback. (CNN)

NUCLEAR:
• The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposes a $145,000 penalty against Southern Nuclear after discovering falsified reports related to safety inspections at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. (Washington Examiner)
• Santee Cooper wants to temporarily preserve the site of South Carolina’s now-failed Summer at a price of $19 million a year. (Post and Courier)

POWER PLANTS:
• Ratepayer and clean energy advocates push back against plans for a $700 million, 525-megawatt natural gas plant in Superior, Wisconsin. (La Crosse Tribune)
• DTE Energy’s CEO explains why a nearly $1 billion gas plant is needed to replace coal-fired generation, and why the utility is against efforts for a 30 percent statewide renewable energy standard. (WPHM)
• The Sierra Club opposes Duke Energy’s plan to modify a North Carolina coal plant to allow it to burn a mix of natural gas to produce electricity. (Charlotte Business Journal)

REGULATION:
• Supporters of repealing the Clean Power Plan are largely silent at a U.S. EPA listening session in Kansas City. (KCUR)
• A FERC commissioner tells a DOE advisory committee that the agency must carefully consider market reform proposals from PJM and other regional grid operators to ensure markets don’t “wither toward gradual re-regulation.” (Utility Dive)
• Texas regulators often target small, immigrant-owned gas stations for minor violations, while giving major polluters a slap on the wrist. (Texas Observer)

CLIMATE:
• The White House is considering Donald van der Vaart, a climate change skeptic and former secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality. (New York Times)
• New Jersey is now officially a part of the U.S. Climate Alliance after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill committing the state to the coalition. (Washington Examiner)

EMISSIONS: Tennessee Technological University’s president asks federal regulators to disregard an academic study on truck emissions paid for by a local trucking company, saying experts have questioned its “methodology and accuracy.” (New York Times)

COMMENTARY:
• California should build an energy system that relies on coordinated local energy and modern grid operations, instead of depending on distant energy sources that increase grid vulnerability, says the policy director for Clean Coalition. (Greentech Media)
• A plan to update California’s energy efficiency standards for buildings and require new homes to install rooftop solar panels would “be a big step forward,” says an expert for the Natural Resources Defense Council. (NRDC)

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