U.S. Energy News is one of five regional services published by the Energy News Network. Today’s edition was compiled by Ken Paulman.

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CLEAN ENERGY: In what analysts say is a sign of an accelerating clean energy transition, Koch Industries has emerged as a major backer of the U.S. battery industry, with $750 million in investments in the past 18 months. (Wall Street Journal)

ALSO: Coal companies are investing in solar and other energy technologies in an effort to ensure their long-term viability. (S&P Global)

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CLIMATE:
While the Biden administration has touted last year’s $550 billion infrastructure package as a win for climate and equity, the federal government has limited control over how states spend the money. (Politico)
Environmental groups sue the Interior Department for information on a recent leasing report that sidestepped the issue of climate change. (CNN)
The EPA is planning new emissions rules for gas-fired power plants, but the process could be curtailed if the Supreme Court rules against the agency’s climate authority. (E&E News)

HYDRO: A coalition of environmental and other organizations petitions the EPA to require hydropower facilities to report greenhouse gas emissions, such as methane released for organic material trapped in spillways. (S&P Global) 

POLITICS: Former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt reportedly reached out to two fossil fuel billionaires as he weighs a Senate run in Oklahoma. (Washington Post)

UTILITIES: A federal judge gives attorneys for FirstEnergy and its shareholders 24 hours to disclose which company officials ordered bribes to secure favorable legislation. (Ohio Capital Journal)

EFFICIENCY: A Northern Virginia church is on its way to becoming the first net-zero campus in Virginia by reaching peak energy efficiency in all 33,000 square feet of its sanctuary and two other buildings. (Energy News Network)

COAL:
Power plant owners begin the process of potentially retiring more than 3,000 MW of coal power in grid operator PJM’s territory after more than 1,000 MW shut down last year. (Utility Dive)
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signs a bill giving a tax break to coal companies that will save the industry $10 million annually while costing the state. (Casper Star-Tribune) 

TRANSPORTATION:
A southern California transportation authority becomes the nation’s first all-electric, zero-emissions transit agency, 18 years before the state’s deadline. (Canary Media)
Advocates say a California rule requiring rideshare services to convert 90% of their fleets to electric vehicles unfairly burdens independent contractor drivers. (Wired) 

WIND: A 998 MW, 356-turbine wind farm opens in Oklahoma, becoming the largest wind facility ever built in a single phase in North America. (Journal Record)

SOLAR: New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces that her state is now the largest community solar market in the country with over 1 GW of installed and operational projects. (news release)

TRANSMISSION: Utilities looking to build a controversial transmission line between Iowa and Wisconsin appeal a court decision blocking a Mississippi River crossing, arguing that construction delays are jeopardizing clean energy and grid reliability. (Wisconsin State Journal)

COMMENTARY: An Indigenous artist and pipeline activist in Michigan says state and federal officials should recognize tribal sovereignty and move to shut down the Line 5 pipeline. (The Nation)

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Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.