CLEAN ENERGY: A top U.S. Interior Department official says the federal government should expedite clean energy permitting by increasing land agency funding and staffing, not by gutting environmental laws as some senators propose. (Los Angeles Times)

ALSO: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signs a slew of energy related bills, including one setting a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target and others encouraging solar and geothermal development. (Colorado Newsline)

GRID: A report estimates California must spend $50 billion to prepare its grid to meet rising demand due to increased electrification. (The Hill) 

A California county says it may suspend enforcement of electrification mandates if a court’s rejection of Berkeley’s natural gas hookup ban stands. (Santa Cruz Local)
A celebrity chef threatens to nix plans to open a restaurant in Palo Alto, California, if local electrification codes prevent him from cooking with natural gas. (San Francisco Chronicle)

An environmental group sues California to block 21 new oil and gas drilling permits, saying regulators relied on antiquated analyses and failed to consider climate change or health effects when issuing the approvals. (ABC News)
• Federal regulators propose fining an energy company $3.4 million for safety violations that led to a 2021 oil spill off the southern California coast. (Associated Press)
New Mexico environmentalists accuse state regulators of inadequately enforcing pollution rules for oil and gas facilities. (NM Political Report)

COAL: Montana analysts say the U.S. EPA’s proposed power plant emissions rules would force the Colstrip coal plant to shut down or spend billions on unproven carbon capture technology. (Billings Gazette)

NUCLEAR: Microsoft commits to purchasing 50 MW of nuclear fusion power from a Washington state startup by 2028, rapidly accelerating commercialization of the technology. (Insider)

A Wyoming startup plans to install fast electric vehicle chargers around the state to attract tourists and promote EV adoption among residents. (Casper Star-Tribune)
U.S. lawmakers from Colorado introduce a bill that would equip school buses with bidirectional energy flow capability so they could send power back to the grid when not in use. (news release) 

• A California startup launches its automated utility-scale solar installation system, saying it can double labor productivity. (PV Magazine)
A California winemaker plans to add 6.5 MW of solar capacity to 15 of its wineries and associated facilities across the state. (PV Magazine)
A Colorado town and school district team up to install solar panels on four facilities. (Aspen Daily News)

UTILITIES: Arizona regulators look to develop a standardized, objective method of assessing utilities’ cybersecurity preparedness. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY: A legal scholar scrutinizes the Biden administration’s claim that it lacked the statutory authority to deny the Willow oil and gas drilling project. (Climate Law)  

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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.