Western Energy News

Study: Solar now the cheapest form of electricity in the Southwest

SOLAR: Solar energy is the cheapest way to generate electricity in the Southwest while natural gas is the most cost effective in parts of the northern Rocky Mountain region, according to a new study. (Utility Dive)

ALSO:
• New Mexico regulators will hold a hearing next month on a community solar project even after the utility behind the plan decides to pull it from the docket. (New Mexico Political Report)
• Two solar companies are installing arrays at six sites in western Colorado. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

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STORAGE: A Tempe, Arizona utility and the National Renewable Energy Lab are teaming up to conduct one of the largest home battery storage studies to date. (Utility Dive)

COAL: The operator of a Montana coal-fired power plant sues the facility’s former owner, accusing the company of taking $733 million it says should have gone toward employee pensions and future cleanup obligations. (Billings Gazette)

CARBON: If Washington voters approve creating a carbon fee, how much a typical family pays will vary based on how many cars they have and the amount of  fossil fuels burned to heat and provide electricity for homes. (Seattle Times)

EFFICIENCY: Clean energy advocates in Utah say a Salt Lake City utility is getting rid of home energy savings incentives, a claim the company rejects. (Deseret News)

RENEWABLES:
• Clean energy experts from Germany advise Hawaii leaders on how the state can achieve its goal of getting all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2045. (Hawaii Public Radio)
• With Colorado’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate calling for the state to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040, state utility officials are mulling the feasibility of such a move. (Denver Post)

POLITICS:
• Noted environmentalist and writer Bill McKibben and former Colorado governor Bill Ritter try to rally voters to support opposing sides of state ballot measure seeking to increase drilling setbacks. (Colorado Independent)
• Wyoming would likely benefit if Colorado voters approve tough, new drilling restrictions and companies follow through on threats to leave the state. (Wyoming Tribune Eagle)

OIL AND GAS: A Colorado county considers putting a moratorium on new oil and gas wells through November in order to assess the fallout of a ballot measure seeking to increase drilling setbacks. (Denver Post)

UTILITIES:
• California regulators are moving quickly to review utilities’ wildfire mitigation plans before next summer. (Utility Dive)
• Hawaii residents have the highest utility bills in the country, according to a new analysis. (Hawaii News Now)

COMMENTARY:
• The editorial board of the New York Times says voters in Washington state should approve a ballot measure creating a carbon fee — which could put pressure on Congress to adopt a national program.
• An Arizona columnist says a regulator’s cozy relationship with the state’s largest utility makes him appear like your “garden variety APS pocket pet.” (Arizona Republic)

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