SOLAR: A federal court rejects utilities’ argument that a solar-plus-storage installation in Montana is too large to be a “qualifying facility” under a law requiring some utilities to buy electricity from eligible projects. (Utility Dive)

Washington state officials recommend approval for two proposed 80 MW solar installations and begin reviewing a separate 160 MW project. (Yakima Herald-Republic)
An electric vehicle charging firm breaks ground on a 75 MW solar installation in southern California. (Inside EVs)

• Federal regulators undertake “enhanced surveillance” to determine whether market manipulation caused natural gas price spikes in California this winter, but stop short of launching a formal investigation. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
• Colorado lawmakers form a committee to investigate the causes of high utility bills. (CPR)
California utilities and energy experts urge policy-makers to wean the state from natural gas in buildings and electricity generation, saying it could relieve customers from volatile price swings. (Utility Dive)

ELECTRIFICATION: Opponents of Eugene, Oregon’s recently passed natural gas hookup ban launch an effort to bring the policy to a public vote. (KLCC)

EFFICIENCY: An economic impact analysis finds a proposed Colorado rule that would require building upgrades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could cost owners and tenants up to $3.1 billion. (Gazette) 

Utah State University partners with two other firms to develop a battery-powered electric train for the American market. (Electrive)
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, a Utah Republican, opposes a Biden administration plan to include electric vehicles in the federal renewable fuel program, calling it an assault on the internal combustion engine. (Reuters)
Cities in Oregon and Washington state receive their first electric fire trucks. (NWNews)

Colorado lawmakers propose plugging abandoned oil and gas wells with biochar, saying it could stop gas leaks and sequester carbon. (Associated Press)
• California advocates say the oil and gas industry weaponizes high gasoline prices to sway the public and lawmakers to oppose drilling regulations. (Capital & Main)

CLIMATE: Oregon lawmakers propose a bill that would require the state public employee retirement fund to divest from fossil fuel holdings. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

• New Mexico solar and wind industry officials push back against a proposal to codify the right to a clean environment, saying it could stifle clean energy development. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)
A poll finds a majority of Western voters support transitioning to 100% clean energy and protecting public lands from oil and gas drilling. (Los Angeles Times)

GRID: An environmental group says it has found evidence of prehistoric fossils in the path of the proposed Greenlink West transmission corridor in Nevada.
(news release)

NUCLEAR: Republican U.S. senators from Idaho and Wyoming introduce a bill that would establish a program aimed at boosting domestic uranium mining.
(news release)

HYDROPOWER: Lake Powell drops to a record low level, further diminishing Glen Canyon Dam’s hydropower generating capacity. (KUNC)

COAL: PacifiCorp officials urge Wyoming lawmakers to reject a bill that would expand a rule requiring utilities to consider extending retiring coal plants’ lives by installing carbon capture. (WyoFile)

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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.