Western Energy News

Xcel Energy pledges to be carbon-free by 2050

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UTILITIES: At an event in Denver, Xcel Energy announces a bold plan to get all of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2050, an unprecedented move for the electric power industry. (Greentech Media)

ALSO: Xcel’s announcement could revive the debate over carbon capture, particularly as it relates to the future of a Pueblo, Colorado coal plant. (Energy News Network)

SOLAR: New Mexico regulators approve a plan by the state’s largest utility to build five new solar plants to help meet its goal of getting 20 percent of its retail sales from clean energy. (Albuquerque Journal)

UTILITIES:
• A San Diego utility has asked California regulators to drop a high usage charge it says unfairly penalizes customers during heat waves. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• Oregon regulators are suing a county over its attempt to stop a local utility from charging customers who opt out of a smart meter program. (KLCC)

COAL: A bankrupt Colorado coal company hasn’t provided enough information in its restructuring plan to be allowed to proceed, according to a court filing from the federal government. (Casper Star Tribune)

OIL & GAS:
• New Mexico regulators approve an oil and gas company’s request to double its well density in the state’s northwest corner after a last-ditch attempt by the state land commissioner fails to stop the move. (Santa Fe New Mexican)
• A northern Colorado county approves an oil and gas company’s plans to horizontally drill under a protected open space and historic farm. (Loveland Reporter Herald)

BIOMASS: Arizona’s largest utility may pull the plug on plans to develop a biomass project after only one company expressed interest. (White Mountain Independent)

PUBLIC LANDS:
• One year after President Trump decided to shrink two national monuments in Utah, the fight endures over whether the land should remain off-limits to mining and energy development. (Deseret News)
• Meanwhile, a new study finds that multiple rare bee species could be harmed by disturbances to the former monument land. (The Hill)
• The Trump administration’s “energy dominance” agenda is rolling back protections for public lands throughout the West at a record-setting rate, according to a new study. (The Guardian)

TECHNOLOGY: A California company has developed an “energy kite,” now being tested in Hawaii, in a novel way to produce wind energy. (NBC News)

COMMENTARY:
• California regulators should step in and stop a natural gas provider from lobbying against climate progress while passing those costs on to customers, says an attorney for an environmental group. (CALMatters)
• The recent decision by federal land managers in Nevada to deny a proposed wind farm reflects a troubling pattern of environmentalists teaming with “NIMBY” locals to kill clean energy projects, says the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

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