U.S. Energy News

Senate confirms former Ford lobbyist as next energy secretary

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WASHINGTON: The U.S. Senate confirms Dan Brouillette, a former Ford Motor Co. lobbyist, to replace Rick Perry as secretary of energy. (New York Times)

CLIMATE:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declares “the United States is still in” as UN climate talks begin in Spain, defying President Trump’s efforts to pull out of international climate agreements. (Reuters)
An analysis by Massachusetts climate activists makes the case for fossil fuel divestment based on financial rather than moral grounds. (Energy News Network)

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POWER PLANTS:
• Utilities continue to build new power plants despite flat electricity demand and rapidly falling renewable prices, in part because many business models reward them for building new infrastructure whether it’s essential or not. (S&P Global)
Authors of a recent study on “self-committing” coal plants operated by regulated monopoly utilities say these plants run “far more often than warranted by market prices.” (Forbes)

UTILITIES:
Louisiana’s largest power provider expands its services to include company-owned solar on homes and backup generators at businesses, but critics say the utility is protecting its monopoly. (E&E News)
A former top California regulator says the state needs to take over PG&E and other utilities, creating a state power company. (Los Angeles Times)

BIOGAS: Michigan utilities see a growing role for renewable natural gas to displace conventional gas, but relatively high costs remain a barrier to widespread deployment. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR:
• Community solar is maturing, but the model still has a few snags to work through in most states before it goes mainstream. (Greentech Media)
Sports equipment manufacturer Under Armour will power two of its Maryland sites with a 3 MW solar array. (Renewables Now)

STORAGE:
New energy storage research indicates California’s planned power outages will drive U.S. storage market growth in 2020. (Greentech Media)
A new analysis explores the limits of whole home battery backup, notably for extended blackouts. (Greentech Media)

OFFSHORE WIND: Some analysts suggest a delay in permits for the Vineyard Wind project may benefit the industry in the long run as it may insulate it from future lawsuits like those that killed Cape Wind. (Greentech Media)

CLEAN ENERGY: Vermont ski resorts extoll sustainability efforts by highlighting their solar panels, electric vehicle chargers and even dairy waste used to create electricity. (Burlington Free Press)

OIL & GAS:
Within a year, Oklahoma could get EPA approval to start issuing permits that would allow the oil industry to dump oil field waste in waterways. (E&E News)
• As far back as 1991, Exxon Mobil projected that a carbon tax would be needed to maintain a stable climate, according to newly released documents. (HuffPost)

PIPELINES: The Trump administration and oil and gas industry lawyers argue to the Supreme Court that the U.S. Forest Service has authority to allow natural gas pipelines to cross the Appalachian Trail. (Bloomberg Environment)

NUCLEAR: A House Democrat questions why a contractor with a questionable track record is helping clean up uranium waste sites on the Navajo Nation. (E&E News, subscription)

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BIOFUELS: Oil industry groups plan to “vigorously challenge” proposed federal changes that reallocate waived biofuel volumes. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY:
• Utility decarbonization is “becoming more of a business choice than a regulatory or policy-driven decision,” writes the editor of POWER Magazine.
• A study author says deploying too much wind and solar can stress the distribution system, forcing curtailments and adding costs. (Utility Dive)

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