POLITICS: Montana Republican lawmakers push fossil fuel-friendly bills that would affect the makeup of the utility regulator commission and prohibit local governments from encouraging rooftop solar or banning natural gas hookups.   (Montana Standard)

UTILITIES:
Western rural electricity cooperatives upend traditional business models as they look to acquire more power from clean energy sources. (E&E News)
An Oregon rural electricity cooperative receives over $9 million in federal funding for wildfire-risk mitigation efforts. (KLCC)
Pacific Gas & Electric investors sue the utility for allegedly misrepresenting fire safety measures in the months preceding the deadly 2018 Camp Fire in northern California. (Bloomberg Law, subscription)
PG&E says 96% of its electricity was generated from nuclear, hydropower, qualifying renewable resources and other greenhouse-gas free sources last year. (Daily Energy Insider)


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GRID: Seattle utilities consider joining a regional resource adequacy program and day-ahead power market in an effort to decarbonize and bolster their grids’ reliability. (Seattle Times)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators say staffing issues have delayed their decision on a proposed interim spent nuclear reactor fuel depository in New Mexico after the state passed a law blocking such facilities. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
A federal analysis predicts a proposed railroad that would carry oil from eastern Utah across Colorado would suffer an average of one accident per year on one segment of the line. (High Country News) 
Alaska officials predict lower than expected oil prices will decrease state tax and royalty revenues by more than $700 million next year. (Daily News-Miner, subscription)

EFFICIENCY: Colorado researchers develop a method to increase the insulation value of double-paned windows by adding a transparent aerogel. (Tech Xplore)

SOLAR: A southern California public power authority agrees to purchase power from the 117 MW Sapphire solar-plus-storage project under construction in Riverside County. (Solar Industry)


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CLIMATE:
A Seattle startup works to produce low-emissions power and carbon-trapping biochar — a soil and animal feed additive — from forest waste at a commercial scale. (GeekWire)
California researchers find regulators are systematically over-crediting carbon offset projects, allowing some companies to claim more climate benefits than deserved. (CNBC)
• Microsoft agrees to purchase carbon-removal credits from a California startup’s direct air capture project planned for Wyoming as part of the tech giant’s effort to be carbon negative by 2030. (Business Today)

COMMENTARY:
An energy analyst warns electricity from NuScale’s proposed small modular nuclear reactor project in Idaho will be far more expensive than renewable energy or battery storage, even with federal subsidies. (Utility Dive)
• A California energy researcher urges the state to regulate hydrogen as a greenhouse gas before a slew of proposed projects come online. (CalMatters)

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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.