GRID: Vandals attacked four electrical substations in Washington state on Christmas Day for still unknown reasons, leaving more than 30,000 households without power. (Associated Press, Seattle Times)

Heavy snow, rain and high winds damage utility equipment in Oregon, leaving more than 160,000 households without power. (Associated Press)
A heavy winter storm batters power lines in Utah, northern California and Nevada, leaving hundreds of thousands of utility customers without power. (Salt Lake Tribune, KCRA, Carson Now)

Colorado’s only oil refinery goes offline and may not resume operations until March after cold temperatures and two fires damage the facility. (CPR)
• A congressionally mandated federal oil and gas lease sale for nearly 1 million acres in the Cook Inlet in Alaska draws only one bid. (Alaska Beacon)
A California city’s officials say a state law banning drilling near homes will sap the city of revenue needed for oil and gas well cleanup. (Press-Telegram) 

Record numbers of Colorado residents seek assistance paying rising utility bills. (Colorado Sun)
• Xcel Energy posts record high profits after raising Colorado customers’ rates. (Denver7)
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appoints three members to the state utility regulatory commission and creates a tribal advisory council for the regulators. (Associated Press)
A Sierra Club report finds two of three major Northwest utilities are transitioning too slowly away from fossil fuels to meet key climate benchmarks. (Oregon Capital Chronicle)

COAL: Wyoming utilities propose rate hikes to pay for state-mandated studies of the feasibility of installing carbon capture to keep retiring coal power plants running. (WyoFile)  

Idaho regulators approve a utility’s controversial solar study, opening the door for cuts to rooftop solar compensation. (Idaho Press)
California researchers are poised to launch a prototype satellite to test components of a plan to generate solar power in space and send it back to Earth. (news release) 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Nevada’s largest school district acquires its first electric bus. (Associated Press)

HYDROGEN: The U.S. Energy Department gives a positive recommendation to a proposed four state Western hydrogen hub’s concept paper. (Farmington Daily Times)

COMMENTARY: A Colorado journalist says advanced nuclear reactors — in addition to solar and wind power and storage — will be necessary to meet rising power demand. (Writers on the Range)

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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.