Western Energy News

University of California fully divests from fossil fuels

CLIMATE: The University of California announces its investment portfolios are now free of fossil fuels after the sale of more than $1 billion in assets, becoming the largest university system in the U.S. to do so. (Los Angeles Times)

ALSO:
City and county officials in Missoula, Montana sign off on a climate change plan that includes strategies to address air quality. (NBC Montana)
Google announces it will no longer build custom artificial intelligence tools to speed up oil and gas extraction. (Associated Press)

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COAL:
• The owner of two Powder River Basin mines has removed “coal” from its name and is making moves to shift its focus away from thermal coal and focus on metallurgical coal and other resources. (Wyoming Public Media)
• Peabody’s CEO says a subsidiary is laying off more than half of its workforce at a Colorado coal mine due to reduced demand driven by market volatility and the coronavirus pandemic. (Steamboat Pilot)
• Coal’s downturn is having a ripple effect in a Wyoming town heavily dependent on the railroad. (WyoFile)

OIL & GAS:
New studies find unhealthy levels of formaldehyde and other pollutants in New Mexico’s oil and gas communities. (New Mexico Political Report)
The BLM is reportedly deluged with requests for cutting oil and gas industry royalty payments or suspending oil leases. (E&E News, subscription)
County officials approve $800,000 in additional funding for remediation of a Carlsbad, New Mexico brine well site in danger of collapse. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)

CALIFORNIA: A new exploration of PG&E’s bankruptcy looks at the next steps  in restructuring for the beleaguered utility. (Forbes)

HYDROGEN: An energy group with no commercial track record or financing announces a deal for a $55 million facility in Los Angeles County that will make hydrogen by using plasma heating technology to disintegrate paper recyclables. (Los Angeles Times)

SOLAR:
• The California Solar and Storage Association releases a plan to support the state’s solar industry during the coronavirus crisis. (Solar Power World)
• Utah’s Ute Mountain Ute Tribe secures a $246,000 grant that will enable it to place rooftop solar on its government buildings in White Mesa. (Salt Lake Tribune)

STORAGE:
California regulators are considering seven battery projects totaling 423 MW that would help PG&E meet its share of a statewide procurement. (Greentech Media)
An executive with California-based EDF Renewables North America says around 80% of its projects in development are solar, many with batteries attached. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: States and fleets continue to move ahead on electric trucks despite the coronavirus pandemic, with California providing a policy boost in April. (Transport Dive)

EFFICIENCY: Stockton, California enlists the help of an energy consultancy to cut energy costs and become the state’s first “Zero-Emission School District.” (news release)

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UTILITIES: A new study looks at a Colorado utility’s efforts to boost grid resiliency in the wake of a destructive 2018 fire. (Aspen Times)

COMMENTARY: A columnist explores how to best use stimulus funds on energy projects to combat climate change, citing Washington Public Power Supply System’s troubles with nuclear and coal-fired plants. (Bloomberg)

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