U.S. Energy News

Washington state joins 19 countries in pledge to phase out coal

COAL: Washington state joins 19 countries in a pledge to phase out coal for electricity generation. (The Hill)

ALSO:
• The Tennessee Valley Authority’s CEO says it would cost $900 million and take 24 years to comply with a court order to move its coal ash, though some question whether these estimates are too high. (Associated Press)
• Residents are pushing for the early shutdown of an 80-year-old coal-fired plant in Colorado Springs. (Denver Post)

PIPELINES:
• TransCanada shuts down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota after it leaks 210,000 gallons of oil, just days before Nebraska regulators are expected to release a decision on the company’s Keystone XL project. (Associated Press, InsideClimate News)
• Opponents of Keystone XL were already in the midst of a last-minute push to urge Nebraska regulators to reject a proposed route for the project, with one group saying the spill “should be a stark warning.” (Reuters, NRDC)
• The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes continue to push for stronger water protections and spill response plans for the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board scraps policies that gave offshore oil rig workers broad whistleblower protections. (Houston Chronicle)
• If Congress votes to allow drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge it could affect 240 people who rely on subsistence hunting there. (InsideClimate News)
• As part of an effort to reduce ozone levels, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission votes to increase the frequency of checks to small oil and gas wells in an area north of Denver. (Denver Business Journal)
• Officials say Wyoming has made $60 million from oil and gas lease sales this year, exceeding a state goal by 500 percent. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: Scientists behind a report that provided support for the EPA to strip protections for drinking water that may be harmed by fracking say there actually “is some form of risk from hydraulic fracturing to groundwater.” (InsideClimate News)

SOLAR: The U.S. solar industry faces a very different landscape than it did a year ago, and President Trump is most responsible for the changes. (E&E News)

WIND:
• North Dakota regulators advance four wind projects in the state. (Forum News Service)
• A British company proposes a 150-turbine wind farm in Indiana. (Logansport Pharos-Tribune)

RENEWABLES: Germany-based Siemens is cutting up to 6,900 energy division jobs worldwide due to what it called “disruption of unprecedented scope and speed” of the power generation industry caused by the rise of renewable energy. (Pittsburgh Business Times)

GEOTHERMAL: While solar has dominated much of the discussion of the Future Energy Jobs Act in Illinois, a new report highlights the role geothermal systems can play in the state’s economy. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• A tax bill passed by the U.S. House would eliminate a federal tax credit for electric vehicles. (NGT News)
• Elon Musk unveils Tesla’s electric semi truck, which has 500-mile range and semi-autonomous capabilities. (Vox)

NUCLEAR:
• The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering new safety rules for small modular nuclear reactors, as industry advocates hope the technology will be a growth area for the sector. (Utility Dive)
• The incoming president of South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. said he wants to implement an immediate 3.5 percent rate reduction, but will still charge customers for the abandoned Summer power plants over the next 50 years. (Associated Press, Post and Courier)
• A proposal from SCE&G will likely make any future nuclear developments even less enticing to developers, while many suggest South Carolina’s failed project foreshadows the future of Georgia’s Vogtle nuclear plant. (Greentech Media)

GRID:
• The Energy Department grants a key permit for a 192-mile transmission line that will carry hydropower from Canada to southern New England. (Associated Press)
• Market reforms proposed by the PJM Interconnection would provide incentives for large power plants. (Utility Dive)

CLIMATE: The senior U.S. diplomat at a U.N. climate conference in Germany tells attendees her country is open to rejoining the Paris agreement “under terms more favorable to the American people.” (New York Times)

CARBON TAX: With the election of another Democrat to the state Senate, Washington will have another chance to pass the nation’s first carbon tax in the next legislative session. (Mother Jones)

CAP-AND-TRADE: A proposed carbon cap-and-trade program wins preliminary approval from Virginia state regulators. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• Without a real plan to address climate change, the Democratic party may be scrambling to get ahead of the issue for years to come, says an editor at The Atlantic.
• Despite the rapid capacity expansion for natural gas in the U.S., regulatory roadblocks are hampering the construction of terminals, says the research director of a public policy research institute. (The Hill)

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