U.S. Energy News

Trump considering ‘new, central institution’ to promote fossil fuels

POWER PLANTS:
• The Trump administration is considering creating “a new, central institution” to advocate for natural gas and coal. (E&E News)
• A senior Energy Department official says the administration is considering several strategies to keep coal and nuclear plants online. (Bloomberg)

UTILITIES: Washington state regulators direct three utilities to use social cost of carbon estimates when planning projects. (E&E News)

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NUCLEAR:
• More than a quarter of U.S. nuclear power plants don’t make enough money to cover operating costs and are at risk for early retirement. (Bloomberg)
• Up to 19 FBI agents and U.S. Department of Justice officials visited the site of South Carolina’s failed V.C. Summer nuclear project last week. (The State)

GRID:
• PJM Interconnection has sided with the coal and nuclear industries — and against other grid operators — on FERC policy proposals. (Greentech Media)
• As Texas braces for a hot summer, the state’s grid operator says several investors have expressed interest in building new plants. (Austin American-Statesman)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY:
• Several Connecticut environmental groups and businesses are suing the state over the legislature’s decision to remove $165 million in state energy funds to balance the state’s budget. (Connecticut Post)
• A University of Chicago study finds white homeowners are most informed about smart meters, signalling racial and income gaps among ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)

COAL:
• Washington state regulators ask utilities how they would replace electricity from Montana’s Colstrip coal-fired power plant if it closed. (Billings Gazette)
• Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station, slated to close next year, could get a lifeline from Congress with a bill that would exempt new owners from certain federal environmental regulations. (Arizona Republic)
• A federal judge strikes down the city of Oakland’s ban on transporting coal through a proposed export terminal. (Bloomberg)

OIL & GAS:
• As the natural gas industry booms in Appalachia, residents worry local, state and federal agencies are understaffed and unfocused. (E&E News)
• Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be the keynote speaker at an oil industry conference this month in North Dakota. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: A federal court vacates a key permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline because it failed to set clear limits for impact on threatened or endangered species. The order’s immediate impact is in dispute.  (Washington Post, Associated Press)

BIOFUELS: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley wants EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s ouster if he keeps granting biofuel waivers for oil refiners. (Reuters)

SOLAR: A surge in utility-scale solar farm applications in the Pacific Northwest is generating pushback from farmland preservation advocates. (KLCC)

STATE POLITICS:
• Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wants to boost energy production by 25 percent by 2020 through “advanced coal,” solar and other projects. (Deseret News)
Three controversial bills, including bills on net metering and biomass, are headed to New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s desk. (New Hampshire Business Review)

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CLIMATE:
• Alaska, a major oil and gas producer, is crafting a plan to address climate change as the impact there have already “been so real and widespread that it’s become impossible to ignore.” (New York Times)
• Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is backing a new proposed ballot initiative that would put a fee on carbon emissions. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: California’s new mandate to include solar panels on all new homes prompts debate over whether more solar everywhere is always better. (Vox)

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