Western Energy News

Washington city considers sweeping natural gas ban

ELECTRIFICATION: Officials in Bellingham, Washington will consider a plan to ban all natural gas heating in homes including in existing structures. (New York Times)

ALSO: A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute says “removing fossil fuels from buildings” will be critical to meeting climate goals. (Reuters)

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CLIMATE: 2020 is the first year that Colorado lawmakers are forced to confront the climate impact of some of their legislation. (Denver Post)

COAL: A New Mexico advocacy group for utility customers wants the state’s Supreme Court to give regulators more time to review the proposed closure of a major coal-fired power plant and related costs. (E&E News, subscription)

SOLAR: California environmentalists say solar power should be installed on rooftops, landfills, and other disturbed lands in urban areas — not fragile desert landscapes. (Desert Sun)

OIL & GAS:
Environmental advocates says fracking in the Permian is expected to increase and could put local communities at risk by creating more air pollution and other environmental impacts. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)
Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy defends oil and gas development in the state, saying the alternative is further dependence on the federal government. (Anchorage Daily News)
Suncor Energy is set to restart equipment “in the next few days” at its Commerce City, Colorado oil refinery that released a clay-like substance December 11 and spewed smoke and ash, alarming residents nearby. (Denver Post)
California’s chief regulatory agency for oil and natural gas development changes its focus as the state’s oil and gas output decreases while low-carbon energy sources grow. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

TRANSMISSION: The Navajo Nation secures the rights to 500 megawatts of transmission capacity that could facilitate new renewable energy projects. (news release)

UTILITIES:
Proponents of a Montana utility’s resource plan defend fossil fuels at a hearing before state regulators. (Billings Gazette)
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis named energy attorney Susan Perkins to a four-year term on the state’s Public Utilities Commission. (Denver Post)

EFFICIENCY: A federal judge rules California can begin prohibiting the sale of several types of less-efficient light bulbs even as the U.S. Department of Energy works to reverse the expansion of definitions begun under the Obama administration. (Utility Dive)

GEOTHERMAL: Troubles with wastewater disposal at The Geysers geothermal field in northern California could put power customers on the hook for an estimated $400,000 in environmental charges. (Press Democrat)

MICROGRIDS: A community of senior citizens in Oakmont, California grapple with regulatory difficulties in implementing a community microgrid project. (Microgrid Knowledge)

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TRANSPORTATION: A Las Vegas car service is adding 30 Teslas to its fleet marketed toward high-end customers who might otherwise hail a limousine or black car service. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

COMMENTARY:
A San Francisco editorial board says PG&E wildfire victims should be the priority for claims, not government agencies. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• A lawyer specializing in the energy sector says climate change and the resulting legal and regulatory responses are beginning to change the core business model of utilities. (Power Magazine)
An associate professor at San Jose State University discusses the current challenges of California’s new solar requirement for housing and possible impact going forward. (KJZZ)

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