UTILITIES: Former Pacific Gas & Electric executives agree to pay $117 million to settle a lawsuit filed by victims of two wildfires in northern California sparked by the utility’s equipment. (Los Angeles Times)

ALSO: PG&E looks to sell a 49.9% stake of its non-nuclear generating assets to fund wildfire risk mitigation and clean energy investments. (Reuters)

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SOLAR:
Tulare County in northern California approves the second phase of a proposed 1,200 MW solar facility with 1,200 MWh battery storage planned for private farmland. (Porterville Record)
Supply chain constraints and inflation caused the postponement or cancellation of at least ten planned utility-scale solar projects in Colorado this year, leaving utilities scrambling for alternate power sources. (CPR)   
A northern California citizens’ group calls on county officials to revoke authorization for a proposed 2 MW solar facility, saying it would harm wildlife and quality of life. (Independent) 

GRID:
A California residential demand response firm says its customers collectively earned $2.7 million in rewards for reducing power demand by 1.5 GWh during the September heat wave. (news release)  
A California researcher uses machine learning and advanced control theory to model optimal ways to add more renewables to the grid without compromising stability. (Wired)

CRYPTOCURRENCY: New Mexico researchers find Bitcoin mining’s environmental and social cost is comparable to burning gasoline and nearly nine times that of gold production. (Verge)

OIL & GAS:
Researchers find burning off excess gas at oil and gas wells releases more methane than previously assumed, blaming unlit or inefficient flares. (NPR)
National laboratories in New Mexico launch an effort to identify orphaned oil and gas wells and determine their environmental impacts and cleanup costs. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)
A federal court begins hearing arguments related to a New Mexico environmental and Indigenous advocates’ bid to block 370 drilling permits issued since 2016 in the Greater Chaco Region. (news release) 

CARBON CAPTURE: Proposed carbon capture projects, including a plan to retrofit a retiring New Mexico coal plant, falter even as the Biden administration plans to spend billions to incentivize the technology. (S&P Global)

NUCLEAR: Pacific Gas & Electric relaunches the federal licensing process for the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant to keep it running until 2030, while also preparing to decommission it as planned in 2024 if the license is denied. (New Times)

EFFICIENCY:
A Washington state proposal to mandate heat pumps in new homes draws mixed reactions at a public hearing. (Spokesman-Review)
• A proposal to scale back Idaho energy-efficiency building codes could make some home sales ineligible for federal loans. (BoiseDev) 

COMMENTARY: A California editorial board urges state lawmakers to pass a bill requiring air conditioners in rental units and establishing a maximum safe indoor temperature. (Los Angeles Times) 

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Jonathan P. Thompson

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.