GRID: A national laboratory finds expanding the California grid into other parts of the West would lower energy prices, reduce emissions and enhance grid reliability. (Sacramento Bee)

ALSO: Oregon lawmakers consider requiring utilities to help some low-income customers pay for generators or battery storage systems to power medical devices during outages. (KLCC)

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NUCLEAR:
A coalition of Western municipal utilities votes to advance a proposed small modular nuclear reactor facility in Idaho even though cost estimates for the facility’s power have jumped 53%. (Reuters)
California’s energy commission finds the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant beyond its scheduled 2025 retirement date is necessary for grid reliability. (news release)
A California startup says it successfully completed an experiment using hydrogen-born fuel in nuclear fusion energy. (Power Engineering)

OIL & GAS:
• New Mexico lawmakers advance a bill that would reform the state’s foundational oil and gas law and prioritize protecting public health and the environment. (NM Political Report)
Federal energy analysts find the months-long shutdown of a Colorado oil refinery has increased gasoline prices throughout the region. (Energy Information Administration)

COAL: Arizona Public Service says its net income dropped 21% last year after regulators rejected a proposal to recover $216 million on pollution upgrades at its Four Corners coal power plant in New Mexico. (Utility Dive)

UTILITIES:
• New Mexico regulators begin reconsidering a proposed merger between Avangrid and the state’s largest utility that was rejected in 2021. (Utility Dive)
An Arizona rural electricity cooperative votes to use all of its 2022 profits to help stabilize customers’ rising utility bills. (Arizona Republic)
A southern California community choice clean power authority expands service to unincorporated areas of San Diego County. (Ramona Sentinel)

CLIMATE: An environmental group sues San Diego County to overturn its climate plan, alleging officials awarded a no-bid contract to university researchers who concealed ties to utility companies. (San Diego Union-Tribune)

SOLAR:
Hawaii lawmakers advance a bill aimed at expanding low-income residents’ access to rooftop solar and energy storage. (Hawaii Public Radio)
Some New Mexico residents push back against a proposed solar-plus-storage facility near Santa Fe, citing the risk of battery fires and impacts on property values and wildlife. (Santa Fe Reporter)
Washington state’s largest solar power project, a 150 MW facility in the southern part of the state, goes online. (Solar Power World)
California led the nation in solar power production in 2022 with a total output of 58.7 million MWh, nearly three times any other state. (Environment & Energy Leader)

WIND: Oregon’s Japanese American community raises concerns about a proposed wind facility near a World War II-era prison camp in Idaho, saying the 250-foot turbines will alter the experience of the historic site. (Oregonian)

CLEAN ENERGY: Arizona utility Salt River Project solicits proposals for at least 500 MW of carbon-free power generating resources. (PV Tech)

ELECTRIFICATION: Electrification advocates say a Washington pilot project shows a central heat pump water heater can function as a thermal battery by operating when power demand is low. (CleanTechnica)

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BIOFUELS: Oregon advocates oppose a proposed $2 billion renewable diesel refinery near the Columbia River, saying it is economically infeasible and the technology unproven. (Government Technology)

LITHIUM: A mining firm says it has identified one of the nation’s largest known lithium deposits on federal land in southwestern Nevada. (Mining.com)

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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.