U.S. Energy News

Study: Grid remains resilient amid renewable energy growth

GRID:
• A recent report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation says the power grid is remaining reliable and resilient amid the growth of variable, distributed generation. (Midwest Energy News)
• Colorado regulators will allow Xcel Energy to install over $600 million worth of new smart meters in homes and businesses across the state. (Denver Business Journal)

POLITICS:
• During his first budget hearing, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said keeping coal plants running and building more oil pipelines is key to energy security. (InsideClimate News)
• Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to energy research and science programs at the DOE won’t be passed by Congress. (ThinkProgress)

CLIMATE:
• Officials from more than a dozen states ask California’s insurance commissioner to stop requesting that companies publicly disclose fossil fuel investments and divest from the coal industry. (Associated Press)
• California is debating a new climate policy that would require the state to consider the carbon footprint of materials used in infrastructure projects. (ThinkProgress)

CAP-AND-TRADE: A deeper look at California’s ambitious cap-and-trade program and what may lie ahead for the policy. (The Guardian)

RENEWABLES:
• A new software platform combines market data and regional cost models to show corporate buyers where wind and solar projects are most economical. (GreenBiz)
• A federal court of appeals this week upheld FERC’s approval of the PJM Interconnection’s new electricity market rules, which clean energy groups say could increase customers’ costs and harm wind and solar efforts. (Solar Industry Magazine)
• Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz is launching a research think tank and advisory firm focused on clean energy innovation. (E&E News)

SOLAR:
• An Austin, Texas, utility is launching a solar-plus-storage pilot project to help it reach its goal of 10 megawatts of distributed storage and 55 percent renewable energy by 2025. (Greentech Media)
• House lawmakers in Maine give initial approval to a bill that delays net-metering rules and directs utility regulators to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the policy, but it will likely be vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage. (Portland Press Herald)

WIND: As wind energy deployment grows in the Great Plains, opponents raise questions about its reliability, though experts say there isn’t cause for concern. (NPR)

EPA:
• More than a dozen state attorneys general are suing the EPA for trying to delay a methane pollution rule while it’s under review. (The Hill)
• The EPA tweets about incense and bonfires being potential triggers for asthma, while delaying air quality standards for asthma-causing ozone pollution. (ThinkProgress)

NUCLEAR:
• Senators question Energy Secretary Rick Perry about his efforts to build a nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. (The Hill)
• A federal judge blocks the purchase of a company that runs Texas’ only nuclear waste dump, saying it would create a monopoly on radioactive waste disposal. (Texas Tribune)
• Despite troubled nuclear projects, several companies are still considering future reactors in the Southeast. (Utility Drive)

COAL:
• Mississippi regulators tell Southern Co. to develop a plan to run the Kemper “clean coal” plant on natural gas instead, and to shield ratepayers from further cost overruns for “unproven technology.” (Bloomberg) 
• Ohio coal CEO Robert Murray files a defamation lawsuit against TV host John Oliver over a segment critical of Murray and the coal industry. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

OIL & GAS:
• Tropical Storm Cindy has shut down one-sixth of the oil production in the Gulf, and it could disrupt even more oil and gas operations when it makes landfall. (Bloomberg)
• Louisiana’s sinking coastline threatens the state’s oil infrastructure. (Oilprice.com)

PIPELINES:
• Two weeks before two highly anticipated studies about the future of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline were to be published, the state of Michigan terminates an agreement with one of the contractors, citing a conflict of interest with an employee. (Midwest Energy News)
• A judge allows oil to keep flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline this summer while further environmental review is conducted. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• An energy consultant says the idea that cities are leading on climate action is “mindless cheerleading.” (Greentech Media)
• A new apprenticeship initiative signed by President Trump could help retrain coal workers for solar jobs, says the director of Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Lab. (Huffington Post)
• The Trump administration’s attacks on national monuments is all about gaining access to fossil fuels, according to an analysis on Columbia Law School’s Climate Law Blog.
• A letter from red states that threatens to sue California for its climate change initiative is “borderline hysterical” and will likely go nowhere, says a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

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