SOLAR: A global company plans to establish a 600-employee solar panel manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona, by the end of the year. (KTAR)

• A Colorado man accused of setting fire to and disabling a 100 MW solar array in Nevada tells investigators he intended the attack to send a message supporting clean energy. (Associated Press)
The 224 MW Athos III solar-plus-storage facility on federal land near Blythe, California, becomes fully operational. (news release)

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The federal Bureau of Land Management is set to release its environmental review of the 1,000 MW Lava Ridge Wind Project proposed for southern Idaho. (Boise State Public Radio)
An Idaho county’s officials urge the federal Bureau of Land Management to update its 40-year-old management plan before considering more wind power facility proposals. (Magic Valley Times-News) 

An analysis finds some Colorado oil and gas companies are proposing reclamation bonds that are inadequate to cover the cost of plugging and cleaning up their wells. (Capital & Main)  
The federal Bureau of Land Management works to complete a greater sage grouse management plan including possible new restrictions on oil and gas and renewable energy development across 10 Western states. (E&E News)
The late December temporary shutdown of the only oil refinery in Colorado due to malfunctions and fires has not yet caused the state’s fuel prices to spike as previously feared. (CPR) 
A federal environmental assessment finds a planned oil and gas lease sale in the Permian Basin would not significantly impact air quality or groundwater. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)

Federal regulators approve PacifiCorp’s proposal to expedite interconnection procedures for power plant owners looking to replace retiring generators. (Utility Dive)
Consumer watchdog groups urge federal regulators to reject Pacific Gas & Electric’s proposal to sell generating assets, saying it could cloud transparency and impede oversight. (Utility Dive)   
New Mexico’s newly restructured utility regulatory commission holds its first open meeting. (KRQE)

A judge rejects Tesla’s counterclaims in a lawsuit alleging widespread racial discrimination at the electric vehicle manufacturer’s Fremont, California, factory. (Bloomberg)
The U.S. Energy Department awards two California companies nearly $6 million to work to make electric vehicle batteries run longer, charge faster and cost less. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
A study finds Washington state and California drivers would see the nation’s greatest cost benefits by switching to electric vehicles. (news release) 

LITHIUM: Indigenous advocates gather in Reno, Nevada, to protest the proposed Thacker Pass lithium mine. (KUNR)

TRANSPORTATION: A New Mexico lawmaker proposes studying the feasibility of building a high-speed rail line across the state. (Source NM)

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Jonathan hails from southwestern Colorado and has been writing about the land, cultures, and communities of the Western United States for more than two decades. He compiles the Western Energy News digest. He is the author of three books, a contributing editor at High Country News, and the editor of the Land Desk, an e-newsletter that provides coverage and context on issues critical to the West.