Western Energy News is one of five regional services published by the Energy News Network. Today’s edition was compiled by Jonathan Thompson.

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SOLAR: Thousands of Colorado residents enroll in a state community solar power initiative that provides free solar hookups after regulators reject Xcel Energy’s request to pause the program. (Colorado Sun)

ALSO:   
An Alaska borough considers offering a property tax exemption to developers of a 60,000-panel solar installation proposed for the Kenai Peninsula. (KDLL)
Tucson, Arizona, organizations launch a program to fund solar installations for small nonprofits. (Arizona Daily Star)

UTILITIES:
Arizona regulators are set to vote on Salt River Project’s proposed expansion of a natural gas plant near a historically Black community in the southern part of the state. (NBC News)
A New Mexico electricity cooperative reduces rates 25% after exiting its contract with Tri-State Generation & Transmission and obtaining a new wholesale power supplier. (Santa Fe New Mexican) 

OIL & GAS:
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signs legislation to provide $500 to each resident to offset rising fuel costs. (Associated Press)
New Mexico’s oil and gas officials say drilling activity has not yet reached pre-pandemic rates in spite of high prices because companies are returning profits to shareholders instead of investing in new projects. (Capital & Main)
A New Mexico environmental organization identifies 6,000 oil and gas wells across the state that have not produced in at least one year. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)
• An Alaska energy expert predicts high costs and risks associated with starting new projects in the region will keep rising oil prices from triggering a drilling boom in the state. (KTOO)

TRANSPORTATION:
Colorado conservative groups sue the state over new road-user fees aimed at raising funds for infrastructure repair, transit systems and electric vehicle incentives. (Greeley Tribune)
High gasoline prices are driving a bike-buying boom in Seattle, industry officials say. (The Denver Channel)  

COAL:
A Utah municipal utility considers purchasing power from a New Mexico company hoping to keep retiring coal plants running by installing carbon capture equipment. (Utah Public Radio)
Talen Energy, the operator and co-owner of Montana’s Colstrip power plant, pulls out of a lawsuit over a state law aimed at preventing the plant’s closure as the company reportedly prepares for bankruptcy. (Independent Record)   

HYDROPOWER: Drought-diminished water levels have cut Glen Canyon Dam’s hydroelectricity generating capacity in half since the 1990s and could halt power production altogether within a couple of years. (High Country News) 

NUCLEAR: U.S. Sen. John Barrasso introduces a bill that would require the Energy Department to expedite domestic advanced nuclear reactor fuel production. (Casper Star-Tribune)

LITHIUM: Mining industry officials say the Biden administration’s use of the Defense Production Act to bolster electric vehicle battery mineral production will not yield significant benefits unless it eases environmental permitting. (E&E News)

COMMENTARY: A Colorado energy journalist says the shutdown-plagued Comanche 3 coal plant is failing to do its primary job: ensuring power grid reliability. (Big Pivots)

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Jonathan P. Thompson

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.