U.S. Energy News

Trump budget slashes energy research, boosts drilling

POLICY: President Trump’s budget proposal for 2018 would cut $3.1 billion from energy research programs and open up vast new areas of public land for oil and gas drilling, prompting worry in the science community. (New York Times, Boulder Daily Camera)

EPA: Trump’s 2018 budget would cut EPA funding by over 31 percent to its lowest level in 40 years. (Washington Post, Mother Jones)

GRID:
• The federal agency that manages the power grid across the Pacific Northwest will replace its plan for a new transmission line with non-wires alternatives like efficiency, demand response and rooftop solar. (Greentech Media)
• Uncertainty over jurisdiction and compensation caused the estimated demand response availability in ISO/RTO territories to drop by 2 gigawatts over the last year, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• The Trump administration wants to privatize about three-quarters of the high-voltage transmission grid in the Northwest, saying it will save nearly $5 billion over 10 years. (Portland Business Journal)

OIL & GAS:
• Congressional lawmakers have mixed reactions to a Trump administration plan to raise nearly $23.5 billion over 10 years by tapping the nation’s emergency oil reserve and expanding drilling. (The Hill)
• A new study explores the risk of potential leaks from natural gas storage wells in Ohio following last year’s Aliso Canyon incident in California. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: Eminent domain laws are making it increasingly difficult for landowners to combat an ever-growing network of pipelines across the country. (McClatchy)

COAL:
• Despite campaign pledges to revive the coal industry, President Trump’s proposed budget would slash funding for “clean coal” research. (Bloomberg)
• West Virginia environmentalists ask a national committee to look into rates of cancer, asthma and birth defects for people living near coal mines. (Associated Press)
• A proposed bill in Ohio would provide a “perpetual subsidy” for two coal plants, guaranteeing income from customers when the market price of electricity is less than the cost to operate the plants. (Columbus Dispatch)

NUCLEAR:
• Westinghouse Electric reaches a deal to borrow $800 million to complete its business plan and move toward exiting bankruptcy. (Reuters)
• President Trump officially nominates three Republicans to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (Associated Press)
• The Energy Department says it will abandon a test to determine whether nuclear waste can be stored in 3-mile-deep holes underground, citing budget priorities. (Associated Press)
• A group of lawmakers is working to revive clean energy tax credits and extend a nuclear production credit. (Bloomberg BNA)

CLIMATE:
• Tesla founder Elon Musk tweets that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the U.S. staying in the Paris climate accord due to a conversation he had with President Trump three weeks ago. (Huffington Post)
• ExxonMobil loses an appeal to withhold records from investigators looking into whether the company committed climate fraud. (InsideClimate News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: EV charging stations in Portland, Oregon, will implement a $25 monthly fee for unlimited charging starting next month. (Portland Business Journal)

SOLAR: Government officials are moving forward with Suniva’s “extraordinarily complicated” trade case that seeks to impose tariffs on imported solar products. (Greentech Media)

WIND: General Electric will invest over a billion dollars in renewable-energy projects around the world, including deals to re-power existing U.S. wind farms. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY:
• An Arizona utility signs a deal to buy solar power at a “historically low price,” providing more evidence that the renewable revolution is unstoppable, says the founding editor of Climate Progress. (ThinkProgress)
• A Los Angeles Times columnist says although former coal CEO Don Blankenship is talking about his own mistreatment, he “didn’t do so badly” considering his retirement pension and other benefits.

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