U.S. Energy News

Sources: EPA decides to ease fuel efficiency rules

REGULATION:
• Sources say the EPA has decided to ease fuel efficiency regulations for cars and light trucks, handing a victory to automakers. (Bloomberg)
FERC has indicated that it may use a “minimum offer price rule” to help keep uneconomic coal plants online. (Vox)

POLICY: A bill giving Arizona utilities a pass on future voter-mandated clean energy requirements is signed into law. (Phoenix Business Journal)

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SOLAR:
• Microsoft will buy 315 MW of power from what is expected to be Virginia’s largest solar farm, and it may be the largest corporate purchase of solar energy thus far. (Utility Dive)
• A Brooklyn architect wants to install solar microgrids to power entire cities in Puerto Rico. (Wired)

STORAGE: Colorado passes a bill that gives electricity users the right to store power without being penalized by excessive rates. (Denver Post)

MICROGRIDS: Advocates are waiting to see whether a recent decision in Illinois to allow ComEd to recoup microgrid costs from ratepayers will impact other projects. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Utility companies in Maryland propose spending $104 million to support construction of a statewide network of charging stations. (The Baltimore Sun)
• Tesla CEO Elon Musk deletes the company’s Facebook page amid backlash against the social media company. (Vox)

BIOMASS: Federal lawmakers push agencies to recognize the burning of biomass as carbon-neutral energy, though scientists disagree. (E&E News)

GRID: Lawmakers are concerned that Russia could launch a successful cyber attack on the U.S. power grid, causing “rolling blackouts and chaos.” (The Hill)

SECURITY: FERC was targeted by an Iranian company that stole data from universities and companies around the world, according to the U.S. Justice Department. (Utility Dive)

TRANSMISSION: A proposed 145-mile transmission line to deliver Canadian hydropower to Massachusetts is being met with resistance from major energy companies and the wind and solar industries. (Press Herald)

COAL:
• West Virginia experiences a rise in black lung disease as workloads increase and newer equipment generates more silica dust. (The Register-Herald)
• U.S. coal production increased in 2017 even as domestic consumption fell thanks to high demand for exports. (The Herald-Dispatch)
• Across Appalachia, programs that support coal country are slated for funding increasesunder the new federal budget bill. (West Virginia Public Radio)
• Democratic attorneys general for Maryland, California, Washington and Massachusetts say a judge’s order for a federal utility to clean up coal ash at a Tennessee plant should not be overturned. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• Washington’s governor signs a bill tightening regulations for oil transportation through the state’s waterways. (Spokesman-Review)
• Experts say unique conditions in New Mexico make the state’s water supply especially vulnerable to fracking risks. (Los Angeles Times)

POLLUTION: A loose barge hit a concrete wall Sunday and spilled nearly 10,000 gallons of biodiesel into the Mississippi River in New Orleans. (The Times-Picayune)

NUCLEAR: Southern California Edison suspends an effort to transfer spent fuel at California’s San Onofre nuclear plant after a loose bolt is found inside one of the canisters. (Los Angeles Times)

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CLIMATE: Washington state’s failed carbon tax proposal shows that climate policies are hard to enact, even in liberal states. (The Intercept)

COMMENTARY: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s plan to fund maintenance in national parks using revenues from oil and mining leases is “a fantasy,” writes a correspondent at Outside.

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