Western Energy News

Sources: Contura Energy would close Wyoming coal mines within months

COAL: Sources say Contura Energy, which was approved to purchase two Wyoming coal mines from bankrupt Blackjewel this week, plans to keep the mines open for less than 12 months. (Wyoming Public Media)

POLLUTION:
• The EPA wants to reclassify the Denver region as a “serious” violator of federal health standards due to high ozone levels linked to fossil fuels. (The Denver Post)
• Challengers criticize a Salt Lake City mayoral candidate’s proposal to improve air quality by relocating an oil refinery and power plant, calling it a “desperate” and “sensationalized” effort to gain votes. (The Salt Lake Tribune)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The number of electric vehicles in Hawaii is poised to reach the 10,000 mark, but they still represent less than 1 percent of passenger vehicles in the state. (Honolulu Star-Advertiser)

UTILITIES:
• New Mexico’s governor wants to reform the state’s Public Regulation Commission in an effort to address high electricity rates and slow adoption of renewables. (Utility Dive)
• The Sierra Club accuses Southern California Gas Company of creating an “astro-turf” group to represent its interests to state regulators. (Los Angeles Times)
• Tucson Electric Power is installing 10 new natural gas generators, which the utility says will make it easier to meet its goal of transitioning to 30% renewable energy sources. (Arizona Public Media)
• In Arizona, a debate is raging over whether to open the state to power providers beyond regulated electric utilities. (E&E News)

GRID:
• Hawaii regulators question a grid plan proposed by Hawaiian Electric Companies that excludes non-wires alternatives. (Utility Dive)
• A Colorado county appeals a decision by state regulators to cancel a proposed pilot program that would have tested consumer acceptance of time-of-use electric rates. (Utility Dive)

SOLAR:
• A program that provides financial incentives to California property owners for installing solar systems on low-income, multifamily housing receives more than 240 applications representing over 74 MW of capacity within the first day of launching. (news release)
• Solar power is giving farmers opportunities to lease land; California is the top solar farming state with enough energy to power more than 1 million homes. (AG Daily)

OIL & GAS:
• A Texas company plans to search for untapped oil and gas deposits using seismic testing at an offshore lease site in Alaska’s lower Cook Inlet. (Alaska Public Media)
• The developers of a proposed natural gas pipeline and export terminal in Southern Oregon sent a letter to the governor, saying the project would yield approximately $48 million in annual corporate taxes for the state. (Mail Tribune)
• Alaska officials announce a preliminary plan to allow a firm to explore for oil and gas along the shores of the Gulf of Alaska. (Anchorage Daily News)
• Persistently low oil revenues are forcing Alaska politicians to consider changes to the state’s oil wealth Permanent Fund Dividend, which gives out checks to residents each year. (Associated Press)

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TECHNOLOGY: Companies want to turn an underground salt deposit in Utah into a giant compressed air storage battery. (Los Angeles Times)

COMMENTARY:
• California should combat its air pollution problem by moving away from petroleum-diesel trucks and adopting zero-emission technologies, says a state senator. (Bay Nature)
• California’s low-emission vehicle standards don’t make sense for Colorado because rural residents need trucks and sport utility vehicles due to extreme weather and difficult terrain, says a state senator. (The Business Times)

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