U.S. Energy News

White House aims to slash funding for renewable energy research hub

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• The Trump administration wants to cut 25 percent of funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy – a top renewable energy research hub that is credited with helping to drive the expansion of rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle batteries and LED lighting. (Washington Post)
• Renewable energy production grew by 7 percent last year, while fossil fuel production was down 7 percent, according to a new report. (The Hill)

POLICY:
•  A Senate committee advances bills to promote hydropower projects, advanced nuclear technologies, and energy efficiency standards for buildings. (Morning Consult)
• Lawmakers in Nevada are considering legislation that would expand the state’s renewable energy output, including a bill to create a green bank program that would improve access to capital for green technology. (KOLO 8 ABC)

SOLAR:
• Some Minnesota cities are collectively buying shares in community solar projects, offering a blueprint for others that may not have the resources to understand the industry. (Midwest Energy News)
• Solar advocates say they “broke the logjam” in Virginia with new legislation this year. (Virginia Business)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Toyota says it will invest $35 million on research partnerships with several universities in an effort to improve electric vehicle batteries. (Los Angeles Times)
• Tesla Inc. says it delivered a record-breaking 25,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2017, up 69 percent from the same period last year. (Reuters)

EPA: A new EPA spending plan offers details for what the Trump administration’s 31 percent budget cut to the agency would look like, which includes cutting over half the employees in a division that tests the accuracy of fuel efficiency claims by automakers. (Washington Post)

OIL & GAS: Warnings by California regulators that a troubled natural gas storage facility is necessary to prevent blackouts are unfounded, accorded to a study conducted by Los Angeles County. (Los Angeles Times)

FRACKING: A federal judge overturns a $4.24 million jury award against one of the largest natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, saying plaintiffs who claimed the company contaminated their well water didn’t present evidence that would justify a multi-million dollar award. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• Democratic lawmakers introduce legislation that would end the practice of self-bonding, which allows coal mining companies to certify that they will pay to clean up their mines using future income. (The Hill)
• A West Virginia senator tells coal miners there’s enough bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate to pass a bill that would continue to fund their healthcare(Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Some of the largest Native American tribes in the U.S. survive off the coal industry and are clinging to President Trump’s promises to revive the sector. (New York Times)

POLLUTION: Crude oil is leaking from a pipeline in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, which is home to endangered beluga whales; it’s the second underwater pipeline leak in that location since mid-December. (Associated Press, Reuters)

CLIMATE: EPA chief Scott Pruitt backpedals on earlier remarks, telling a Fox News host that human activity contributes to climate change in some measure. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY: Coal-mining represents a small fraction of jobs in West Virginia, and the idea of coal country exists more in the Appalachian imagination, says a columnist for the New York Times.

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