U.S. Energy News

Utilities are slated to retire 4 percent of U.S. coal fleet in 2018

COAL: Utilities are slated to retire almost 12 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity this year, according to a review of federal figures. (E&E News)

ALSO:
• EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt met with an Indiana coal executive and Trump donor last year who sought to soften a pollution rule. (Politico)
• Arizona copper mining officials say their companies would be interested in hiring coal miners displaced from the pending closure of a coal-fired power plant near the Arizona-Utah border. (Arizona Republic)

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OIL & GAS:
• In a surprise move with potential to reshape Arizona’s energy future, state regulators institute a nine-month moratorium on new natural gas plants. (Greentech Media)
• The Trump administration promises to sell oil leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as fast as possible, despite pushback from environmental groups who say the process should not be rushed. (Reuters)
• Speakers at a major oil industry conference in Texas were more than 85 percent male, and its organizers declined to join forces with a nearby female-focused energy event. (Bloomberg)

OFFSHORE DRILLING:
• U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says Florida remains in the administration’s offshore drilling plans, despite earlier promises to the contrary. (Platts)
• Zinke says the first draft of the offshore drilling plan will be released this fall. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

PIPELINES:
• FERC reinstates permits for the Sabal Trail and Southeast Market pipelines, after a federal appeals court ruled last year the commission failed to adequately consider climate impacts. (E&E News)
• Colonial Pipeline will pay Alabama $3.3 million in damages and penalties from a 2016 explosion and spill. (Reuters)

GRID:
• Russian state hackers successfully infiltrated U.S. nuclear power plants and electric systems, and could have shut down power at will, according to the Trump administration. (New York Times)
• A federal energy regulator says he’s “very nervous” about ISO-New England’s ability to provide reliable electricity with the region’s ambitious state renewable energy plans. (Utility Dive)
• A FERC decision to approve ISO New England’s new market pricing proposal has some clean energy advocates worrying the agency will use the minimum offer price rule to gut zero-cost, state-supported wind and solar power. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• Solar installations between 2018 and 2022 are predicted to be 13 percent lower than original estimates due to new tariffs on imported solar modules and  changes in federal tax laws. (Reuters)
• Utilities in the Southeast are an indicator of changes happening in the nation’s power sector around solar. (Utility Dive)
• A proposed order would block customers of cooperative and municipally owned utilities in downstate Illinois from claiming state solar incentives. (Midwest Energy News)
• Texas’ grid manager says the state’s solar power capacity is expected to nearly double in 2018, but its rapid growth could upset the state’s power mix. (Houston Chronicle)

VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT: Minnesota regulators propose to split the state’s $47 million share of the Volkswagen settlement between urban and rural areas based on where vehicles were registered. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES:  Dozens of major U.S. utilities write a letter asking Congress to lift the cap on electric vehicle tax credits, as they seek to benefit from growing EV adoption. (Quartz)

POLICY:
• Energy Secretary Rick Perry defends proposed DOE funding cuts to a House subcommittee, saying programs like the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy are victims of their own successes. (The Hill, Greentech Media)
• More than a dozen oil industry executives meet with President Trump and Vice President Pence to discuss the administration’s policies on trade, taxes and regulations. (The Hill)

EPA: Environmental groups are suing the EPA for failing to release public documents pertaining to the agency’s correspondence with the Heartland Institute, a conservative group that is denied climate science. (The Hill)

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CLIMATE:
• U.S. government scientists, State Department envoys and federal agencies are still working to combat climate change, despite the Trump administration’s rhetoric against climate science, according to a new report. (Reuters)
• The Federal Emergency Management Agency removes references to climate change from its new strategic plan, despite 2017 being the costliest year of climate and weather disasters in the U.S. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY: The Trump administration shouldn’t be retreating from the field of clean energy, just as dramatic cost reductions are leading to an explosion in the global market, says the executive director of New Energy America. (The Hill)

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