Western Energy News

Study: Western U.S. in grips of climate change-induced megadrought

CLIMATE: A new study finds that a vast region of the western U.S. is in the grips of the first climate change-induced megadrought, more severe than some of the worst in 1,200 years. (Washington Post)

ALSO: A University of California professor says the 450% increase in wildfires on federal lands during the decade ending with 2012 are closely linked to increased temperatures and a greater frequency and intensity of drought. (Utility Dive)

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CALIFORNIA:
A PG&E lawyer tells a federal judge the utility’s bankruptcy exit plan has the support of wildfire victims, as lawyers representing the victims were set to ask a different judge to “carefully word” his valuation of the settlement deal to prevent victims from being shortchanged by PG&E’s attorneys. (Associated Press & Bloomberg, subscription)
PG&E says their wildfire prevention work has to proceed despite California’s shelter-in-place order because of the coronavirus pandemic. (KPIX)

PIPELINES:
A federal judge “reluctantly” rejects an environmental group’s effort to require inspections of thousands of miles of pipelines on public lands. (Bloomberg Environment, subscription)
Native American tribes urge a federal judge to shut down work on the Keystone XL pipeline, citing land damage and coronavirus risks from worker camps. (Associated Press)

BIOFUELS: Biofuel and farm groups oppose five states asking the EPA for a nationwide waiver exempting the oil-refining industry from federal biofuel requirements. (Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
Carlsbad, New Mexico’s city council approves more than $2 million in additional funding requests from a state agency for remediation of a brine well site that is in danger of collapse. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)
Wyoming’s plans for a network of carbon dioxide pipelines across the state could avoid greater sage grouse habitat. (Bloomberg Environment, subscription)
ConocoPhillips announces it will cut another $200 million from its Alaska work program this year due to decreased demand and market volatility as a result of the coronavirus crisis. (Anchorage Daily News)
Oily water continues to seep into Port Valdez, Alaska as a result of an oil leak from a marine terminal near the city last weekend. (Anchorage Daily News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The construction of electric vehicle charging stations is slowing down in California because of the coronavirus pandemic. (E&E News)

TRANSPORTATION: Fuel cell experts agree that the trucking industry needs to continue adopting electric technologies including fuel cells to fight pollution. (Transport Topics)

STORAGE:
PG&E is proposing two lithium-ion battery storage projects to replace an Oakland, California jet fuel power plant. (Utility Dive)
California’s Long Duration Energy Storage Association is optimistic about creating new jobs and economic opportunities while helping the state achieve its climate and reliability goals despite the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
Northwestern Energy’s CEO says energy infrastructure workers are critical to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. (Great Falls Tribune)
A University of California Berkeley climate and clean energy expert says the state’s grid can handle the transition from gas to the electrification of buildings. (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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