U.S. Energy News

Terms set by regulators could kill Montana’s largest solar project

SOLAR: The developer of a 480-acre solar farm, which is set to be the largest in Montana, says the project may be abandoned due to challenging terms set by state regulators. (Billings Gazette)

ALSO:
• Solar companies worry about the impact of a trade case brought by Georgia-based Suniva, as conservative groups line up to oppose tariffs on imported panels. (Reuters, Greentech Media)
• An Idaho co-op launches the state’s first community solar project. (KREM)

CLEAN ENERGY: Clean energy groups and officials in Madison, Wisconsin begin working with the local utility to move forward on the city’s goal to power its operations by 100 percent clean energy. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A Montana wind farm could be killing more birds and bats than expected, according to a preliminary study. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric-car startups continue to face tough odds due to high capital requirements and the challenge of mass producing vehicles. (Greentech Media)

FRACKING: The Trump administration moves to repeal Obama-era standards governing hydraulic fracturing on federal lands, which were designed to prevent companies from polluting water supplies. (The Hill, ThinkProgress)

NATURAL GAS: A bipartisan group of Appalachian lawmakers urge the Trump administration to preserve a loan program they say is needed for a proposed $10 billion natural gas storage hub. (Bloomberg)

PIPELINES: Two Iowa political activists admit to vandalizing the Dakota Access pipeline and causing millions of dollars in damage. (WHO-TV)

OIL & GAS: Environmental activists demand that Colorado oil and gas regulators accept a court ruling to protect people’s health and safety before drilling can be done in communities. (Denver Post)

COAL:
• The Sierra Club says Georgia Power’s plans to close 29 ponds that hold coal ash by dumping wastewater into the state’s rivers and lakes violates federal clean water law. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• The Texas Municipal Power Agency says it’s no longer economical to operate a 470 MW coal-fired plant in Anderson, Texas, year-round. (Utility Dive)

POLITICS:
• A group of Senate Democrats sends a letter asking the Interior Department’s deputy inspector general to investigate whether Secretary Ryan Zinke reassigned dozens of senior career officials to “silence their voices” on issues such as climate change. (Washington Post)
• The U.S. Senate confirms a former oil and gas industry lobbyist, who has been called a “walking conflict of interest,” as second-in-command at the Interior Department. (ThinkProgress)
• Recent moves by Republican lawmakers in North Carolina and California could indicate growing support for climate-friendly legislation among conservatives. (InsideClimate News)
• EPA administrator Scott Pruitt traveled to Oklahoma 10 times from March through May of this year, leading some to believe that he plans to seek state office again. (New York Times)

REGULATION: The Trump administration has been fighting environmental regulations by delaying their implementation, but that strategy may not work for long. (Scientific American)

EFFICIENCY: A leaked Department of Energy draft study on the reliability of the U.S. electric grid found that federal energy efficiency policies, which the Trump administration is working to roll back, will save consumers $545 billion. (ThinkProgress)

NUCLEAR: There were warnings about the potential for delays and cost increases prior to the start of the Vogtle nuclear plant expansion, transcripts from hearings show. (E&E News)

UTILITIES: A Canadian grid utility offers $5.3 billion to buy Washington-based electricity and gas utility Avista, which could be one of the largest cross-border utility acquisitions to date. (Greentech Media)

GRID:
• Utilities in Colorado, Wyoming and other nearby states are “highly likely” to join the Southwest Power Pool, says the president of the regional electricity transmission network. (Denver Post)
• Ohio regulators continue hearings this week to seek input on statewide grid modernization improvements. (Midwest Energy News)
• A new report commissioned by Congress says the U.S. grid is vulnerable to cyberattacks and natural disasters and calls on the Department of Energy to play a bigger role in coordinating with grid operators. (Morning Consult)

COMMENTARY:
• California Gov. Jerry Brown may have sacrificed a bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco as part of a compromise to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program, says an editorial writer for the Los Angeles Times.
• Two oil and gas officials in West Virginia say protecting the environment is a top priority for their industry and some people have “no interest in the facts.” (Charleston Daily-Gazette)

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