U.S. Energy News

Trump officials plan emergency order to help coal and nuclear plants

POWER PLANTS: The Energy Department plans to take emergency action ordering grid operators to buy electricity from struggling coal and nuclear plants, according to a draft memo. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: FirstEnergy critics say its nuclear power plants’ failure to clear a regional capacity auction supports the case for closing them. (Midwest Energy News)

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FUEL EFFICIENCY: The EPA submits its proposal to weaken Obama-era vehicle efficiency standards, setting the stage for a legal battle with California and 16 other states. (New York Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• California regulators approve a $750 million plan to expand the state’s electric vehicle infrastructure and rebate programs. (Greentech Media)
• Vermont plans to use its $18.7 million share of the VW settlement on electric buses and new charging stations. (VT Digger)

SOLAR:
• The Trump administration’s import tariffs have helped to double U.S. solar manufacturing, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. (Bloomberg)
• Two of Wisconsin’s major utilities partner on a pair of solar projects that will be the largest in the Midwest. (Wisconsin State Journal)
• Warren Buffet’s Nevada utility will make the state’s largest ever investment in solar, but only if voters reject an energy choice ballot measure it opposes. (Las Vegas Review Journal)

WIND: West Virginia regulators deny Appalachian Power’s plan to buy two wind farms in West Virginia and Ohio, saying the proposal is not in the public interest. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

STORAGE: Longer duration batteries could help wind-plus-storage projects take off. (Utility Dive)

BIOFUEL: The EPA grants biofuel blending credits worth tens of millions of dollars  to two oil refiners that allege they were wrongly denied Renewable Fuel Standard waivers during the Obama administration. (Reuters)

UTILITIES: New Jersey’s largest utility proposes more than $5 billion in capital projects, mostly for energy efficiency and grid upgrades, it says are necessary to comply with recently passed laws. (NJ Spotlight)

GRID:
• A federal report identifies “gaps” that prevent electric utilities and other stakeholders from being prepared to respond to a major cyber assault on the grid. (The Hill)
• Puerto Rico is missing an opportunity to transform its electric grid to run off renewable sources, according to an energy expert. (Yale Environment 360)

OIL & GAS:
• Two corporations and an oil services firm file a joint application to start development in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Washington Post)
• Extremely cold temperatures may be preventing accurate detection of methane leaks from oil and gas operations in Alaska, according to new research. (InsideClimate News)
• The American Petroleum Institute says new tariffs on steel and aluminum will disrupt the U.S. oil and natural gas industry’s supply chain. (The Hill)

PIPELINES: Federal energy regulators don’t have a consistent process for tracking public comments on proposed pipeline projects and should increase transparency, according to a federal watchdog report. (Utility Dive)

COAL: While black lung disease rates surge, federal funds for treatment are at risk of insolvency due to reduced contributions from coal companies, according to a federal watchdog’s upcoming report. (Reuters)

EPA: The EPA’s Science Advisory Board votes to formally examine Administrator Scott Pruitt’s “secret science” proposal and five other controversial regulatory rollbacks. (The Hill)

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CLIMATE: A year after the Trump administration pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, business and state leaders are still pushing forward on climate action. (Fast Company)

COMMENTARY: Turbulent markets and disruptive technology could pose a threat to the future of natural gas, says a software executive. (Utility Dive)

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