SOLAR: A report finds California urban commercial and industrial rooftop community solar-plus-storage installations provide more value to utility customers than facilities in rural areas. (Smart Cities Dive)

The Biden administration awards $5.73 million to Western projects aiming to expand the solar energy workforce in underserved and underrepresented communities. (news release)
• California’s grid operator sets a new peak solar generation record of 15,178 MW. (S&P Global)
• The U.S. Energy Department funds a demonstration project using solar steam and thermal batteries instead of natural gas to produce renewable dimethyl ether fuel at a California facility. (Green Car Congress)

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CLEAN ENERGY: A Colorado county considers requiring residents and businesses to install on-site clean power generation to offset emissions from outdoor amenities such as fire pits, snowmelt systems and heated pools. (Summit Daily News) 

California regulators predict preparing the state’s distribution grids for electrification will cost $15 billion to $20 billion, less than half the amount forecast by a similar study last year. (Utility Dive)
Increasing demand for heat pumps in southeast Alaska runs up against a shortage of installers for the appliances. (KTOO)

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek urges the Biden administration to pause identifying and leasing offshore wind areas to fully evaluate economic and environmental impacts. (The Bulletin)
A new California law gives the state approval power over a proposed wind power facility that a county in the northern part of the state has rejected twice. (Jefferson Public Radio) 

About 2,500 gas stations in Washington state that are leaking hazardous chemicals and contaminating groundwater are awaiting cleanup, one of the nation’s biggest such backlogs. (Grist)   
The U.S. EPA vows to crack down on Colorado’s only oil refinery after finding it releases more air pollution than other similarly sized facilities. (Colorado Sun)

TRANSMISSION: Developers plan to begin construction this year on the first phase of the TransWest Express transmission project, which will carry up to 1,500 MW of wind power from Wyoming. (WyoFile)  

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A California startup plans to build a 96-unit electric heavy-duty truck charging depot in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Canary Media)

TRANSPORTATION: Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs plans to veto a Republican lawmakers’ bill that would extend a sales tax for transportation while axing funding for light rail and preempting bans on gasoline-fueled vehicles. (Arizona Central)

NATURAL GAS: An appeals court finds Sempra Energy’s directors cannot be held liable for damages resulting from the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility methane leak in southern California. (Metropolitan News-Enterprise) 

CRITICAL MINERALS: Developers of proposed lithium and other “green metal” mines in Nevada struggle to adapt to courts’ recent interpretations of federal mining laws. (Nevada Current)

HYDROPOWER: Lake Oroville in California fills to 100% capacity after dropping below minimum water levels for hydropower generation during the 2021 drought. (Los Angeles Times)

HYDROGEN: New Mexico Indigenous and environmental justice advocates urge the Biden administration to reject the Western Interstate Hydrogen Hub’s application for federal funding, saying it will exacerbate climate inequities. (news release)

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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.