UTILITIES: Xcel Energy announces a plan to cut its Colorado emissions 85% by 2030, retire all of its coal plants by 2040, and add 5,500 MW of wind, solar and storage to the grid. (Denver Post)

ALSO:
• An Xcel official acknowledges that keeping natural gas generation online will be key to the utility’s plan. (Colorado Public Radio)
• Xcel commits to transition workers to other jobs as it closes coal plants in Colorado. (Steamboat Pilot & Today)

GRID:
• In a daylong hearing, experts warn California that higher electricity costs are imminent to prepare infrastructure for future climate-related disasters, and utilities discuss proposals to ease the impact on lower-income households. (Orange County Register)
• During the hearing, a PG&E executive acknowledges the company’s power line started the 2019 Kincade Fire, a reversal from the utility’s previous denials. (ABC 10)
• A group representing 80,000 California wildfire victims is suing former PG&E executives and board members for negligence. (Associated Press)
• Colorado Gov. Jared Polis urges regulators to protect utility customers from bill spikes caused by energy shortages during last week’s winter storms. (Colorado Sun)

CLEAN ENERGY: Arizona’s House approves a bill to remove state regulators’ power to require utilities to use renewable energy; the state Senate has yet to take up the issue. (Capitol Media Services)

PUBLIC LANDS: New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland appears set to become the nation’s next Interior secretary after Sen. Joe Manchin says he will vote to confirm despite disagreements over drilling and pipelines. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Indigenous leaders say a Montana bill to increase penalties for trespassing and property damage is “a direct attack” on tribal citizens designed to weaken opposition to pipelines. (Billings Gazette)

OIL & GAS:
• An environmental group files a lawsuit challenging California’s approval of thousands of oil and gas wells. (Palm Springs Desert Sun)
• A wave of oil company bankruptcies raises questions over who will pay for cleanup of abandoned wells. (The Guardian)

CLIMATE:
• Officials in Missoula, Montana formally oppose a state bill to prevent cities from imposing carbon taxes, calling it “a mystery solution in search of a problem.” (Missoula Current)
• Environmental justice advocates in Seattle speak out against a proposed state cap-and-trade program, warning that pollution impacts will still disproportionately harm communities of color. (South Seattle Emerald)

POLLUTION: A proposed “surge telework” proposal in Utah would encourage state workers to telecommute instead of driving to work during periods of poor air quality. (Deseret News)

STORAGE: A Colorado Republican urges lawmakers to include pumped hydro storage in the state’s renewable energy standard. (Grand Junction Sentinel)

COMMENTARY:
• A conservative group calls Arizona Republicans’ effort to roll back a clean energy requirement “nonsensical” and warns it will increase reliance on more expensive coal generation. (Arizona Capitol Times)
• A seismologist says the Texas blackouts should serve as a warning to California utilities to examine their preparedness for earthquakes. (Los Angeles Times)

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.