Western Energy News

University of Texas pulls the plug on its oil and gas institute

OIL AND GAS: The University of Texas system quietly shutters an oil and gas institute it founded after pouring millions of dollars into it. (Austin American-Statesman)

ALSO:
• A second wrongful death lawsuit has been filed in connection with a deadly natural gas rig explosion in Oklahoma that killed three men in January. (Associated Press)
Oil companies produced a record number of barrels in New Mexico last year, and experts don’t see output from the state slowing anytime soon. (Associated Press)
A group of Colorado mineral rights owners legally challenge a statewide ballot initiative that seeks to establish tougher setback requirements for the oil and gas industry. (Westword)

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RENEWABLE ENERGY: Clean energy initiatives in Arizona, Nevada and Michigan suggest renewable energy mandates are still needed even as solar, wind and other energy sources become even more cost-competitive. (Utility Dive)

SOLAR:
• New Mexico college students spend their spring break installing solar panels in tribal communities as part of a national program aimed at providing renewable energy to low-income neighborhoods. (Farmington Daily News)
• A San Antonio solar company purchases a 50-megawatt solar project that’s being developed in West Texas. (San Antonio Express-News)
• A California-based roofing and solar company plans to expand operations in Florida, Utah and Colorado. (PV Magazine)

WIND: The outgoing CEO of the company that just bought Texas’s largest utility sees an opportunity to use surplus wind power generated in the state for electric vehicles. (Bloomberg)

NUCLEAR: A Republican lawmaker is leading an effort to revive plans to send the nation’s nuclear waste to the Yucca Mountain repository in Nevada. (Washington Examiner)

UTILITIES: A Colorado electric utility begins testing drones to inspect power lines in the wake of a helicopter crash that killed one of its employees who was performing an aerial inspection. (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

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BIOFUELS: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt suggests that the government might limit Wall Street’s ability to trade ethanol blending tax credits as a way to lower costs for oil refiners. (Houston Chronicle)

COMMENTARY:
• The president-elect of the Salt Lake County Medical Society says it’s a great time for Utah residents to invest in things like solar panels and electric vehicles. (Deseret News)
• A coalition of New Mexico environmental groups see progress in recent negotiations with the state’s largest utility over plans to close a controversial coal-fired power plant. (Santa Fe New Mexican)

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