U.S. Energy News

Wyoming bill seeks to block wind and solar energy

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• A bill sponsored by pro-coal politicians in Wyoming seeks to block utilities from providing electricity that comes from large-scale wind and solar projects. (InsideClimate News)
Employment in the electric power sector rose 13 percent in 2016, mostly due to construction on solar, natural gas and wind power projects, according to a new Department of Energy report. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• Tesla is planning to install a massive 70-megawatt solar rooftop array at its Gigafactory in Nevada, which would be the world’s largest rooftop solar project. (Tech Times)
• A judge grants a preliminary injunction against a Colorado solar installer for allegedly scamming 15 customers out of $450,000 for solar systems that were never installed. (Denver Post)
• Wyoming’s first major commercial solar project could be approved for construction by early next year. (Associated Press)
• The head of a solar advocacy group talks about the future of solar in the U.S., with a focus on Wisconsin. (Midwest Energy News)

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WIND:
Texas broke its all-time record for wind energy production last month by providing 40 percent of the state’s electricity for 17 hours straight. (Scientific American)
• Five major wind farms in Hawaii are killing endangered hoary bats at least three times faster than anticipated, according to a report to the 2017 state legislature. (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

UTILITIES: Utilities in Southern California are embracing battery storage, despite known risks. (New York Times)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric car-maker GreenTech Automotive lays off employees at its plant in Mississippi, amid reports that the company is shutting down. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: The EPA rejects a request from automakers to roll back fuel efficiency standards, saying the targets are achievable and “will save American drivers billions of dollars at the pump while protecting our health and the environment.” (Washington Post)

CLIMATE:
• Former Exxon CEO and secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson is trying to avoid giving testimony in a federal climate change lawsuit brought by a group of teenagers. (Reuters)
• Environmental advocates are pressuring lawmakers around the country to oppose Donald Trump’s climate-denying cabinet nominees. (ThinkProgress)

POLITICS:
• Military investments in clean energy are at odds with Donald Trump’s vow to end policies that “undermine” fossil fuel producers. (Associated Press)
• The Senate will hold confirmation hearings this week for EPA chief nominee Scott Pruitt and interior secretary nominee Ryan Zinke, who have both been accused of denying climate science. (NPR, The Hill)

NUCLEAR:
• An Oregon-based company unveils a design for safer, miniature nuclear power plants. (NPR)
• Environmental advocates are relatively unconcerned with the closure of a Michigan nuclear plant, because the resulting increase in emissions would be negligible and the plant has a history of safety concerns. (EnergyWire)

NATURAL GAS: Southern California’s Aliso Canyon gas leak will have long-lasting repercussions for nearby residents. (New York Times)

COAL: The pro-coal Trump administration will need to overcome opposition from West Coast states, which have consistently rejected coal port projects. (Fox News)

POLLUTION: Environmental groups are suing a Georgia environmental regulator for not updating pollution guidelines for what five coal-fired power plants can discharge into the state’s waterways. (The Telegraph)

PIPELINES: Protests are escalating over a proposed pipeline that would run across 600 acres of wetlands in Louisiana – a project being spearheaded by the same company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline. (The Guardian)

REGULATION: Following complaints from the oil industry, the Obama administration scales back new safety measures that require pipeline companies to conduct more rigorous inspections and install leak detection systems. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: Eight reasons why senators should be cautious about former Texas governor Rick Perry running the Department of Energy. (Huffington Post)

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