UTILITIES: New Mexico clean energy advocates accuse utilities of trying to block or drive up costs for the state’s nascent community solar program to fend off competition. (Source NM)

ALSO: Colorado regulators seek public comment on a proposal to partially deregulate utilities and allow local governments to adopt community choice energy programs. (Denver Gazette)

Montana residents and environmentalists sue city and county governments and NorthWestern Energy for allowing the utility to begin constructing a natural gas power plant without review. (Billings Gazette)
Alaska utilities seek to diversify their energy portfolios and increase storage capacity to prepare for a predicted natural gas shortage in coming years. (KDLL) 

HYDROPOWER: A persistent Western drought in the 2022 water year diminished hydropower production on the Upper Colorado River 20% from the previous year and 30% below the annual average since 2000. (Colorado Sun)

The U.S. Energy Department awards $3.7 million to a federal laboratory and a nonprofit in New Mexico to mitigate solar power facilities’ impacts on wildlife. (news release)
A national laboratory in Colorado confirms that solar panels can coexist with and benefit crops, but also can harm agricultural production under certain conditions. (Energy News Network)

WIND: An Alaska startup proposes developing what would be the state’s largest two wind facilities, with a total generating capacity of 450 MW. (Anchorage Daily News)

OIL & GAS: Colorado regulators again extend the deadline for oil and gas firms to submit plans aimed at preventing the companies from avoiding cleanup responsibilities. (Colorado Times Recorder)

COAL: A proposal to expand carbon capture permitting in Texas, the biggest customer of Powder River Basin coal, could give Wyoming mines a needed boost. (Wyoming Public Radio)   

CLIMATE: A new study shows Western wildfires are driving the formation of more extreme storms and increasing flash flood risk in states further east. (Guardian)

POLLUTION: Southern California port officials blame last year’s increased emissions of cancer-causing and climate-warming pollutants on a pandemic-related shipping logjam. (Los Angeles Times) 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: California regulators propose a $1 billion, utility-funded program offering rebates for behind-the-meter electric vehicle infrastructure investments. (S&P Global)

Lithium mining companies have staked about 17,000 prospecting claims in Nevada, positioning the state to become a major producer of the mineral used in electric vehicle batteries. (Guardian)
b A company stakes 300 lithium mining claims on federal land in western Colorado. (news release) 

GRID: A southern California utility continues to repair 40 power poles destroyed by a weekend storm. (KESQ)

HYDROGEN: California establishes a statewide collaborative group to vie for federal hydrogen hub funding rather than forming alliances with other states. (Transport Topics)

NUCLEAR: A company working to develop a mobile nuclear micro-reactor touts the technology for remote, diesel-powered communities in Alaska. (KTUU)

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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.