U.S. Energy News

Senate confirms former coal lobbyist as deputy EPA administrator

EPA: The U.S. Senate confirms former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as deputy EPA administrator, putting him first in line to replace embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. (Huffington Post, New York Times)

ALSO:
Scott Pruitt’s chief of security has reportedly clashed with those who opposed Pruitt’s spending, placing him at the center of inquiries by the agency’s inspector general’s office. (New York Times, Vox)
Senate Democrats call for a probe into Scott Pruitt’s use of three email accounts. (The Hill)

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POLICY:
Energy Secretary Rick Perry tells a House committee that he’s intent on taking action to support struggling coal and nuclear plants, saying their closure would threaten national security. (Utility Dive)
Educators say fewer tax breaks for fossil fuel companies would provide enough revenue to increase teacher salaries and boost school spending. (The Intercept)

REGULATION: The Trump administration moves to ease compliance with federal air quality standards designed to reduce ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. (The Hill)

GRID: Utilities and grid managers tell a FERC panel they need better real-time data to manage distributed energy resources on the grid. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES:
State lawmakers in New Jersey pass a bill requiring utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. (New York Times)
Metals like lithium and cobalt are crucial for the future of renewable energy, but finding a steady source of the materials may prove difficult. (Carbon Brief)

SOLAR:
Homeowners sue Los Angeles County over a solar loan program that allegedly ruined borrowers’ finances due inadequate consumer protections. (Los Angeles Times)
Hawaiian Electric will break ground on a 20 MW solar facility that is expected to produce the lowest-cost renewable energy in the state. (Pacific Business News)
Solar installations by U.S. corporations exceeded 3 GW in 2017, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
Solar costs have fallen so far and so fast that tariffs on imported cells and modules haven’t created the crisis some feared they would. (Utility Dive)

BIOFUEL:
Chevron and Exxon Mobil asked federal regulators for exemptions to the Renewable Fuel Standard, sources say, despite the hardship waivers typically being given only to small companies. (Reuters)
The Trump administration may allow the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol year-round, which would be a boon to corn farmers. (Reuters)

NUCLEAR:
New Jersey lawmakers approve $300 million a year in subsidies for two nuclear plants. (NJ.com)
An official with the country’s largest nuclear operator, Exelon, says it’s likely no new nuclear power units will be built after Georgia’s Plant Vogtle project. (Platts)
An Arizona utility says it could be forced to close one of its nuclear plants if voters approve a clean energy initiative, but the measure’s supporters say the claim is an exaggeration. (Arizona Republic)

COAL ASH: Duke Energy is fined $156,000 and ordered to speed up work to contain leaks at coal ash ponds at three North Carolina plants. (WFAE)

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CLIMATE:
An Alaska state task force releases a draft climate change policy that calls for reducing carbon emissions by 2030 but lacks a specific target. (Utility Dive)
A judge sets an October 29 trial date in a climate change lawsuit brought by 21 children and young adults who allege the government failed to protect them from the impacts of climate change. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
The Trump administration’s support of offshore wind shows it does not want to miss economic opportunities even as it ignore climate change. (Union of Concerned Scientists)
Fossil fuels and public education are tied in places like West Virginia and Oklahoma, where tax cuts for the fossil fuel industry have taken precedence over education spending. (ThinkProgress)
A California utility suspected of sparking last year’s fires in the state’s wine country should be held responsible, says a resident who “lost nearly everything” in the blaze. (Sacramento Bee)

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