U.S. Energy News

Scott Pruitt may blame EPA staff for reported ethics scandals

EPA: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may blame his staff for reported ethical scandals at the agency when he testifies before Congress on Thursday, according to an internal agency document. (New York Times)

ALSO:
EPA employees hold a rally calling on Pruitt to be fired, saying he has created a “very frightening” work environment. (Huffington Post)
The EPA’s inspector general is looking into Pruitt’s ethics scandals, and what he uncovers could make or break the administrator’s career. (The Hill)

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POLITICS: A Michigan conservative group looks to make inroads with the controversial fossil fuel-backed group ALEC on clean energy policy positions. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
• The Oklahoma House votes to end tax credits for the wind industry. (Tulsa World)
• The world’s wind energy capacity is expected to grow from 539 gigawatts to 840 gigawatts by 2022, led by China. (Reuters)

STORAGE:
Hawaii’s Kauai Island Utility Cooperative was the top utility in the United States for energy storage last year, adding over 415 watts of storage per customer. (Pacific Business News)
A Massachusetts company will develop a 20 MW battery system for the UK’s first large scale storage project. (Windpower Engineering & Development)

BIOMASS: The EPA’s recent announcement that biomass will be considered carbon neutral is a big win for a lobbying group with close ties to Scott Pruitt. (InsideClimate News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Ohio regulators approve a $10 million rebate and incentive program for AEP to develop nearly 400 electric charging stations in its service territory. (Columbus Dispatch)

GRID: A collection of batteries at 21 high-rise buildings in Southern California is helping a utility balance the grid by reducing peak demand. (Greentech Media)

UTILITIES: Michigan regulators are expected to rule this week on a $1 billion, 1,100 MW natural gas plant for DTE Energy, but it’s not the only Michigan utility betting big on natural gas. (Midwest Energy News)

HYDRO: More than 97 percent of the United States’ installed storage capacity comes from pumped storage, but it’s not adequately compensated for the reliability and flexibility it provides to the grid, according to an industry report. (Hydro World)

OIL AND GAS:
• A state judge rejects a northern Colorado city’s rules establishing 750-foot setbacks for oil and gas development in the latest legal blow to cities seeking to establish industry safeguards. (Denver Post)
• With improvements in technology, Texas’s Permian Basin could surpass a Saudi Arabia oilfield to become the most prolific region in the world, some energy experts say. (Bloomberg)

COAL:
• A Kentucky jury awards $67.5 million in damages to two former coal miners who said defective dust masks led to their black lung disease. (Lexington Herald Leader)
• North Carolina’s attorney general challenges regulators’ decision to let Duke Energy start charging consumers $232 million over five years to clean up coal ash. (Associated Press)
• The Arizona governor signs a bill exempting coal from a sales tax in a last-ditch effort to stop the largest coal plant in the West from closing next year. (Arizona Republic)

PIPELINES: Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine blames protests against the Mountain Valley Pipeline on what he claims was a flawed permitting process by FERC. (WHSV)

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CLIMATE:
With global emissions on the rise, mankind is running out of time to curb climate change. (Nature)
Rising seas could make more than one thousand low-lying tropical islands “uninhabitable” by the middle of the century, according to a study funded by the U.S. military. (Washington Post)
French President Emmanuel Macron tells a joint session of Congress that he’s sure the United States will rejoin the Paris climate change agreement. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY:
The Trump administration will be remembered for “willfully trying to destroy the planet that we rely on for health and prosperity,” says a climate scientist. (The Guardian)
A regional grid operator for the Western U.S. would benefit renewable energy development and distributed generation, say clean energy advocates. (Greentech Media)
RGGI shows how it is possible to have a carbon pricing system that benefits local economies. (Vox)
• Our country needs policies that boost solar energy, not disrupt it, says a Nevada congresswoman who co-authored a bill to repeal recent solar tariffs. (The Hill)

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