COAL: Xcel Energy subsidiary Public Service Company of Colorado agrees to pay $925,000, shut down coal ash ponds and monitor groundwater for allegedly violating federal coal waste rules at its Comanche power plant. (CBS4)

ALSO: The Biden administration releases guidance for states and Navajo Nation communities to apply for $725 million in federal funds for abandoned coal mine cleanup. (E&E News)  

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UTILITIES:
New Mexico homeowners sue Public Service Company of New Mexico, claiming the utility’s equipment sparked a fire that destroyed 200 homes and killed two people, even though investigators have not determined the cause. (Albuquerque Journal)
Advocates and PNM battle over the timing of a rate decrease following this year’s closure of a coal power plant. (Albuquerque Journal)
Pacific Gas & Electric begins its effort to bury 10,000 miles of power lines to reduce wildfire risk. (Mercury News)
Xcel Energy officials say transitioning from fossil fuels to cleaner energy is responsible for customers’ increasing utility costs. (CPR)

GRID:
U.S. coal and natural gas power plants that export power out of state accounted for about 700 premature deaths in 2019, a peer-reviewed study from California researchers finds. (news release)
Natural gas power generation drops in the Western U.S. and is expected to fall further as renewable capacity grows. (S&P Global)  

SOLAR:
The California National Guard breaks ground on a 99-acre solar microgrid with battery storage that could power its base for weeks following a natural disaster. (Los Angeles Times)
A Montana county considers installing photovoltaic systems on its public works building and sewer facilities after converting its jail to solar power last year. (Missoula Current)
Northern Arizona cities partner with a nonprofit to launch a solar cooperative that uses group leverage to get competitive prices on residential systems. (Arizona Daily Sun)   

HYDROGEN: Washington researchers develop a method to produce hydrogen at fueling stations that would eliminate the need to transport the high-pressure fuel. (news release)  

TRANSPORTATION: Colorado clean transportation advocates say the state is adequately building en-route electric vehicle charging networks, but now needs to focus on workplace and at-home installations. (Colorado Sun)

ELECTRIFICATION: A Southwest energy policy group finds electric heat pumps could reduce annual heating and cooling costs in Las Vegas by 30% and climate emissions by 60%. (Nevada Current)

CLIMATE:
California Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes sweeping climate-related investments that mirror those in federal Democrats’ Build Back Better package. (American Prospect)
Advocates urge Oregon and Washington state to sue the oil and gas industry over damages related to climate change. (E&E News) 

BIOFUELS: Hawaii regulators reject a power purchase agreement for a tree-burning power plant for a second time, citing the plant’s greenhouse gas emissions and dubious carbon sequestration plan. (Honolulu Civil Beat)

HYDROPOWER: A renewable energy company plans to build Alaska’s first saltwater tidal power generator in Cook Inlet. (KDLL)

COMMENTARY: A Montana columnist says the Colstrip coal power plant’s operator’s bankruptcy fits the pattern of extractive industries abandoning the state and leaving taxpayers with the cleanup bill. (Missoulian)

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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.