U.S. Energy News

U.S. Energy Secretary: No more money for renewable energy

RENEWABLES: Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette says spending federal money on renewables is “inappropriate” because the technology is already viable. (Utility Dive)

ALSO:
Massachusetts cities participating in municipal energy aggregation programs are “shattering expectations,” according to a new report. (Energy New Network)
Advocates host an energy justice summit in North Carolina to discuss barriers that prevent low-income people from using renewables. (Watauga Democrat) 

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CONGRESS: Senators Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, unveil an energy bill that ensures their states can continue drilling while promoting renewables. (Grist)

OIL & GAS:
• The American Petroleum Institute says banning fracking on federal land would cost the U.S. economy $7 trillion in the next decade, but its report does not address the cost of inaction on climate change. (Reuters)
A federal judge has vacated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, ruling the BLM failed to allow public participation as required by law. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• An Indiana Senate committee advances a bill aimed at slowing coal plant retirements with amendments that would shorten the bill’s end-date and protect ratepayers from cost increases. (Indianapolis Star)
• “Nobody’s really for this bill, so why does it keep moving?” an official with the Indiana Chamber of Commerce asks of a bill to slow coal plant retirements. (Utility Dive)
• A lack of government enforcement allowed coal companies to transfer $865 million of disability liabilities to taxpayers during recent bankruptcies, according to a federal report. (Lexington Herald-Leader)

UTILITIES:
• California regulators impose a $2.14 billion penalty against PG&E for the utility’s role in causing catastrophic wildfires in 2017 and 2018. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• FirstEnergy Solutions emerges from bankruptcy as Energy Harbor after settling issues with tax liabilities and nuclear refueling. (Utility Dive)
• Xcel Energy announced earlier this week that it cut carbon emissions 10% last year, raising questions about Boulder, Colorado’s effort to launch a municipal utility. (Boulder Daily Camera)
• Michigan’s Consumers Energy plans to get to net zero carbon emissions faster than any major utility in the country, and is doing so by not building new fossil fuel plants. (InsideClimate News)

POLICY: The Virginia legislature gives final approval to a measure that would make the state a full participant in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade program. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sues South Carolina utility SCANA and two of its top executives, alleging they “repeatedly deceived” investors and regulators by hiding problems with a nuclear project. (Post and Courier)

GRID: Ameren Missouri’s $7.6 billion grid modernization plan also includes investments in solar and storage to boost rural reliability. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR: Solar installations fell by about 50% and employment fell in Massachusetts last year as the industry copes with regulatory barriers and landowner resistance. (Utility Dive)

PIPELINES: A Minnesota agency issues three draft permits for the Line 3 pipeline expansion project, setting off a month-long public comment period. (MPR News)

TRANSMISSION: The ongoing dispute over a proposed Wisconsin transmission project is part of a broader debate about who pays for and benefits from the changing electric generation business. (Chicago Tribune)

WIND: Some experts say the wind energy boom in Texas could fuel a Bitcoin mining rush. (MIT Technology Review)

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CLIMATE: Bernie Sanders has an audacious and expensive climate plan, but there are doubts about its political and economic feasibility. (MIT Technology Review)

COMMENTARY:
A Texas A&M professor says a just transition from fracking to renewable energy is possible, and that we shouldn’t listen to those who will try to overstate the costs. (Houston Chronicle)
Climate was supposed to be a strength for Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign but has become a liability instead, as his plans appear incremental compared to other Democratic candidates, a reporter writes. (New York Times)
A solar company director thinks all-in-one solar-plus-storage systems will become the new normal this decade, among other predictions. (Greentech Media)

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