U.S. Energy News

Trump taps former auto lobbyist to head Energy Department

WASHINGTON: President Trump says he will nominate deputy secretary Dan Brouillette to succeed Rick Perry as energy secretary. (New York Times) 

ALSO: Brouillette’s background as a lobbyist for the automotive industry fits a trend among Trump administration cabinet members. (New York Times)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Chicago residents living in apartments push for better access to electric vehicle charging stations as the city adopts new regulations to address the issue. (Energy News Network)
• The need for utilities to respond to increased demand from electric vehicles could come sooner than expected, analysts say. (Utility Dive)

RENEWABLES:
• The International Energy Agency says renewable electricity is growing faster than expected and could expand 50% in the next five years. (The Guardian)
• Virginia enters a contract with Dominion Energy to buy 420 MW of power from four solar projects and a wind farm. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Roanoke Times)
A new analysis explores why renewable energy projects are slow to develop on tribal lands. (Arizona Central, subscription)

EFFICIENCY: A small Minnesota city uses drones to document building heat loss in order to find opportunities for energy efficiency. (Energy News Network)

UTILITIES:
• Google and Facebook executives say utilities, not green-minded corporations, need to take the lead on decarbonizing the grid. (Greentech Media)
PG&E executives faced intense criticism over recent power outages from California PUC president Marybel Batjer, who said the bankrupt utility “failed on so many levels on pretty simple stuff.” (New York Times)
Illinois regulators approve a ComEd pilot program that allows customers to test time-of-use rates. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR: Dominion Energy is proposing to pay the lowest avoided cost rate in the country to solar projects under PURPA in South Carolina. (PV Magazine)

STORAGE: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves energy storage proposals by PJM Interconnection and Southwest Power Pool. (Utility Dive)

POLITICS:
• West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has frequently promoted his own coal companies, farms, and resorts despite promising to focus on public service. (ProPublica/Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Industry officials say President Trump is starting to lose key political support in Iowa over uncertain biofuel policy. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

PIPELINES:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers attorneys say no more studies are needed on whether the Dakota Access pipeline impacts tribes. (Associated Press)
• Construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline slows for the winter after key permits were revoked because of environmental concerns. (Roanoke Times)
• Rural Texas landowners, environmental groups, and conservative-leaning municipalities band together to stop construction of Kinder Morgan’s Permian Highway Pipeline. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: Massachusetts is considering a host of policies to create a zero-emissions transportation sector, including electrifying mass transit by 2035. (MassLive)

COAL:
Experts say the accelerating closure of coal plants across the West isn’t quick enough to meet climate change goals. (Arizona Central, subscription)
“We need to be proactive instead of reactive,” say some preparing for the transition from coal in North Dakota. (Bismarck Tribune)

GRID: A new analysis says PacifiCorp, the largest grid operator in the West, is representative of how fast renewable energy adoption is happening on a regional scale in the transition from coal. (Park Record)

OHIO: Today is the deadline for supporters of a referendum on nuclear and coal subsidies to submit petition signatures. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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CLIMATE: State and local leaders across the West are collaborating across party lines to fight climate change in the absence of federal action. (Bitterroot)

ACTIVISM: An artist uses historic markers in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to depict future events that could occur due to rising seas and other disasters that could be caused by climate change. (Associated Press)

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