U.S. Energy News

U.S. government makes a record-breaking solar buy

SOLAR: A 150-megawatt solar array in Arizona will generate roughly one-third of the electricity needed for 14 naval installations in California, amounting to the largest procurement of renewable energy by the federal government. (Washington Post)

ALSO:
• A Wal-Mart executive says the company is formulating an energy storage strategy as it heads towards a goal of 100 percent renewable power. (Greentech Media)
• How NRG Energy is developing community solar projects in states with vastly different rules and markets. (Greentech Media)
• Sharing smart meter data with third party energy service providers is an onerous process in Texas, which has 7 million smart meters but less than 1,800 data-sharing agreements, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• A company installs a 150-square-foot solar sidewalk in a plaza in Idaho. (Associated Press)
• Smaller-scale solar projects can be just as effective as utility-scale projects due to reduced transmission costs, according to a new report. (Midwest Energy News)

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HYDRO: A new hydroelectric system in Alaska will allow a utility to run off 100 percent renewable energy during the summer months. (Alaska Dispatch News)

ENERGY STORAGE: As costs decline, flow batteries show promise for handling fluctuating levels of renewable energy better than traditional lithium ion batteries. (Yale Climate Connections)

UTILITIES: An Illinois utility launches an initiative to increase enrollment in its efficiency programs by doing outreach among low-income, largely Latino neighborhoods in Chicago. (Midwest Energy News)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Clean Power Plan opponents file court briefs saying the federal government went far beyond its authority by implementing standards for coal plants that are based on carbon-capture technology that is not commonly used. (The Hill)

POLITICS:
• Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman harshly accused a billionaire environmental donor of damaging her presidential campaign by vowing to only spend money on candidates with specific clean energy pledges, according to leaked emails from 2015. (The Hill)
• Republicans say the Democratic governor of Montana should return campaign donations from anti-coal environmental groups. (Billings Gazette)

CLIMATE: The Securities and Exchange commission won’t provide records related to a possible investigation of ExxonMobil because it cannot confirm that an official investigation is underway, thwarting a request from the chairman of the House Science committee. (InsideClimate News)

PIPELINES:
• A documentary filmmaker could face up to 45 years in prison for filming a protest against TransCanada’s Keystone Pipeline in North Dakota. (Huffington Post)
• An environmental non-profit asks the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject a permit application for the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, saying the proposed route crosses at least 10 properties that are part of a Virginia conservation program. (ThinkProgress)

POLLUTION:
• Residents of a poor, mostly African American community in Alabama have been living with the stench of gas since lightning struck an underground pipeline 8 years ago. (Los Angeles Times)
• A Duke Energy plant in North Carolina failed to discover a 50-foot breach in a cooling-pond dam and admitted that coal ash washed out of another holding pond. (Charlotte Business Journal)

FRACKING: Pennsylvania energy companies are suing the state over new fracking rules, which they say threaten jobs and add up to $2 million to the cost of drilling a well. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• Minnesota regulators approve a plan to close the state’s two largest coal-fired generators by 2026, eliminating the state’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. (Star Tribune)
• The chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says utilities need to “step up” when it comes to protecting low-income and minority communities from coal ash pollution. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
• The auto industry has made impressive progress on fuel efficiency standards. (Huffington Post)
• New Jersey residents are right to celebrate the closure of two of the country’s dirtiest coal plants. (Huffington Post)

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