GRID: Adding transmission capacity between the Eastern and Western interconnections would reduce costs by allowing power to flow freely across broad regions, according to a National Renewable Energy Laboratories study. (Utility Dive) 

A U.S. Department of Energy-funded study finds a Western regional transmission organization could save customers $2 billion per year while bolstering reliability and expediting renewable energy development. (news release)
California regulators extend operation of the aging Redondo Beach natural gas power plant through 2023, three years beyond the planned retirement of some of the state’s gas-fired plants. (Los Angeles Daily News) 

UTILITIES: Pacific Gas & Electric begins transitioning Kern County, California, customers to a time of use rate plan with higher power costs between 4 and 9 p.m. (Bakersfield Californian)

Construction begins on a 482 MW solar plus 394 MW storage project in San Bernardino County — the largest of its kind in California. (news release)
Developers begin construction on an 80 MW solar installation in Tooele County, Utah. (ABC4)

Indigenous and environmental advocates urge President Biden to designate a national monument on southern Nevada land where a Swedish developer is pursuing a large-scale wind power installation. (E&E News)
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management comment period ends today for a 400-turbine wind project proposed for southern Idaho. (KLIX)

A mineral production company announces it has converted lithium extracted from Utah’s Great Salt Lake brine into battery-grade lithium hydroxide. (news release)
A federal court’s rejection of an effort to block lithium mining at Nevada’s Thacker Pass highlights the legal obstacles Indigenous advocates face in protecting sacred sites. (Guardian)

A Navajo Nation nonprofit proposes converting an 80-mile rail line that carried coal from the Kayenta Mine to the now-shuttered Navajo Generating Station into a biking and hiking trail. (Navajo-Hopi Observer)
A western Colorado brickmaker plans to fuel kilns with methane captured from an abandoned coal mine. (Denver Post)

COAL: The operator of Montana’s Colstrip power plant agrees to begin removing two toxic coal ash ponds while developing its own plan to stop contamination of an aquifer. (Montana Standard)

OIL & GAS: California’s San Luis Obispo County approves 31 new oil and gas drilling permits despite environmentalist’s protests. (news release)

BIOFUEL: Shell oil company announces plans to build a dairy cow manure-to-methane production facility in southern Idaho. (KMVT)  

COMMENTARY: A Colorado scientist bemoans a move by his town’s utility to build a large-scale solar installation just months after cutting its rooftop solar net metering incentive by two-thirds. (Colorado Sun)

Jonathan hails from southwestern Colorado and has been writing about the land, cultures, and communities of the Western United States for more than two decades. He compiles the Western Energy News digest. He is the author of three books, a contributing editor at High Country News, and the editor of the Land Desk, an e-newsletter that provides coverage and context on issues critical to the West.