U.S. Energy News

Three gas-fired plants are slated for closure in California

UTILITIES: A subsidiary of NRG Energy plans to retire three gas plants in California for economic reasons. (Los Angeles Times)

ALSO:
• Most investor-owned utilities across the Midwest have made clean energy pledges that go above and beyond what’s required by state law, but the commitments aren’t binding and lack urgency, critics say. (Midwest Energy News)
• Duke Energy is set to release a climate change report this month that “sketches a drastically changed electricity mix” in the future. (Axios)

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GRID:
• Grid operators respond to a FERC order to examine the “resilience” of their transmission networks against superstorms, cyberattacks or other potentially destabilizing threats. (Greentech Media)
• Regional grid operator PJM asks federal regulators to update market compensation for power plants based on resiliency attributes, which critics say could amount to “low-profile bailouts.” (Utility Dive)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Twenty-six large-scale renewable energy projects totaling $1.4 billion have been selected to help New York meets its clean energy goals. (Platts)

SOLAR: California utilities are less interested in purchasing solar power now that the state is ahead on its renewable energy targets. (Quartz)

WIND: The Midwest’s wind energy industry can’t thrive unless transmission infrastructure improves, experts say. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Utah lawmakers approve a proposal to allow Tesla to sell its vehicles directly to customers, bypassing a state law that banned car manufacturers from owning dealerships. (Associated Press)
• Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, says an electric vehicle revolution is coming and Congress is eager to encourage the transition. (Houston Chronicle)

BIOFUELS: Iowa biofuel advocates say Sen. Ted Cruz’s plan to give waivers to oil refiners would reduce biofuel production by 300 million gallons. (Radio Iowa)

OIL AND GAS: The oil and gas industry looks to petrochemicals as they come to grips with increasing demand for electric cars, renewable energy and a desire to wean the world off fossil fuels. (Houston Chronicle)

OFFSHORE DRILLING:
• The Trump administration wants to rollback regulations put in place following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, as some oil and gas companies say they need the relief to survive financially. (New York Times)
• The Trump administration’s plan to expand offshore drilling could add up to $590 billion to the economy within two decades, according to four studies released by the American Petroleum Institute. (The Hill)
• New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the Trump administration’s plan to allow offshore drilling along the Atlantic coast is a “really really dumb idea.” (The Hill)

POLICY:
• Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signs into law a major overhaul of electric utility regulations that includes boosts for grid modernization and renewable energy, though critics say it allows utilities to continue charging higher-than-necessary prices. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice signs a bill requiring only 75 percent of the owners of a property to approve drilling, despite earlier indications he might veto the bill. (MetroNews)
• President Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are likely to hurt the very industries his administration has been trying to help: coal, oil and natural gas. (Vox, Politico)

POLITICS: A top Interior Department official argued against climate science by citing research funded by the fossil fuel industry and rejected data reported by The New York Times, according to newly released emails. (Huffington Post)

EPA: The EPA’s scientific advisory board hasn’t met in over six months and hasn’t held conference calls or votes since August. (The Hill)

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CLIMATE: White House chief of staff John Kelly was responsible for killing an EPA plan for a public “red team, blue team” debate on the merits of climate science. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY:
• President Trump’s executive orders to roll back Obama-era regulations has created a fog of regulatory uncertainty for the utility industry, says David Roberts. (Vox)
• A solar developer marvels at the size of storage bids included in Xcel Energy’s recent request for proposals for new energy sources. (PV Magazine)

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