Colorado explosion prompts shutdown of thousands of wells

OIL & GAS: Over 3,000 oil and gas wells are shut down in Colorado while investigators determine whether a well caused a house explosion that killed two people. (Denver Business Journal)

ALSO:
• Exxon Mobil is ordered to pay nearly $20 million for releasing 10 million pounds of pollutants into the air in Texas, resulting in 16,386 Clean Air Act violations. (FuelFix)
• Oil and gas industry leaders are backing a decarbonization roadmap that calls for cutting down on fossil fuels and switching to cleaner sources of energy. (Greentech Media)
• Sources say President Trump will sign an order to review locations for offshore oil and gas exploration off California’s coast, where drilling rights haven’t been leased since 1984. (Bloomberg)

PIPELINES: The Army Corps of Engineers rejects a request for information on the potential effects of a spill from the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying the documents “could endanger people’s lives and property.”

Over 1,000 companies urge Congress to keep Energy Star program

EFFICIENCY:
• Over 1,000 U.S. companies send a letter urging Congress to preserve the Energy Star program, saying it “should be strengthened, not weakened,” as President Trump has proposed. (Associated Press)
• President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the Energy Star program could benefit his properties, many of which have low energy efficiency ratings. (CNN)

SOLAR:
• In an effort to diffuse net metering battles before they start, a Colorado utility will charge its customers different rates during peak hours and expand community solar farms. (NPR)
• In the vast majority of the U.S., energy jobs are in solar – not coal. (New York Times)
• A 200,000-panel solar farm in West Texas starts generating power, securing Houston’s title as the “nation’s largest municipal purchaser of green power.” (FuelFix)
• The CEO of the second largest utility-scale solar developer in the U.S. talks about his company’s growth and the future of solar.

Tesla will double its global charging network this year

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Tesla says it will nearly double its global network of Superchargers this year from 5,400 to 10,000, including 1,000 new charging units in California. (Los Angeles Times)
• The elimination of tax credits for electric vehicles won’t hurt the sales of luxury cars like Teslas, but will threaten cheaper classes of EVs. (Bloomberg)

SOLAR:
• Perovskite solar cell technology could help the U.S. challenge China’s dominance over the global solar market. (E&E News)
• Hawaiian Electric agrees to buy power from a 49-megawatt solar array on Oahu that could become Hawaii’s largest solar facility when it’s completed in 2019. (Pacific Business News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Solar Summit 2017 is 10!

Sources: Trump will sign order to expand offshore drilling

POLICY:
• Sources say President Trump will sign an executive order this week that seeks to expand offshore oil and gas drilling. (Politico)
• A new bill introduced by Democrats in Colorado would create bonds to retire coal plants and finance worker retraining. (Greentech Media)

POLITICS: A brief history of how the Republican party has come to embrace anti-environmentalism. (Vox)

***SPONSORED LINK: Network with 450-plus solar, storage and utility execs at the 4th Annual Midwest Solar Expo & Smart Energy Symposium, May 22-24 in Minneapolis. Gain the latest market insights and trends while networking with hundreds of industry leaders.

Report: Red states lead on renewable energy

CLEAN ENERGY: A new report that ranks states on their clean energy momentum finds that red states like Kansas, North Dakota and Wyoming are leading the nation in renewable energy growth. (InsideClimate News, E&E News)

ALSO:
• Hawaii’s largest electric utility is using an all-of-the-above strategy to reach 100 percent renewable energy across the state. (Utility Dive)
• A Virginia school’s recognition last month for its net zero energy status is part of a growing trend in the Southeast. (Southeast Energy News / Living Building Chronicle)
• Conservative North Carolina lawmakers are making another attempt to freeze the state’s renewable energy standard. (WRAL)

***SPONSORED LINK: Network with 450-plus solar, storage and utility execs at the 4th Annual Midwest Solar Expo & Smart Energy Symposium, May 22-24 in Minneapolis. Gain the latest market insights and trends while networking with hundreds of industry leaders.

Report: Fastest growing U.S. occupation is wind turbine technician

WIND: The wind industry tops 100,000 workers in 2016, while the demand for wind turbine technicians is growing faster than any other occupation in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (ThinkProgress, Washington Post)

ALSO:
• A U.S. District Court kills a large wind energy project and transmission line in southeast Oregon to protect the sage grouse population there. (Associated Press)
• Wind power represents more than 80 percent of the new electricity generating capacity built in the Midwest and Great Plains states over the past five years, according to a new report. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Solar Summit 2017 is 10! Join GTM May 16-18 for three days of packed networking opportunities and a unique mix of market intelligence with engaging panel sessions among industry leaders.

Oil executives pushing Trump to stay in Paris climate agreement

CLIMATE:
• A meeting scheduled to take place yesterday between President Trump and his top advisers to discuss whether the U.S. will stay in the Paris climate agreement was postponed. (New York Times)
• Members of the Trump administration are recruiting oil and gas executives to help convince the president to stay in the Paris climate agreement, according to two anonymous sources. (Bloomberg)

COAL:
• A review of the U.S. electric grid ordered by Energy Secretary Rick Perry is sparking controversy for implying that clean energy “subsidies” are contributing to coal plant closures. (Washington Post)
• Citing market pressure from natural gas, the head of the country’s biggest public utility, Tennessee Valley Authority, says it won’t reopen coal-fired power plants. (Associated Press)
• The EPA asks a federal appeals court to delay oral arguments scheduled for next month over an Obama-era regulation that limits the amount of mercury and other toxins emitted from coal-fired power plants — a rule that most utilities are already complying with.

Oklahoma ends tax credit for wind power

WIND:
• Oklahoma’s governor signs legislation to end a tax credit for wind power more than three years early, citing a tight state budget. (The Hill)
• Three North Carolina Republicans are sponsoring a bill to streamline wind energy development, challenging an effort by others in their party to impose further restrictions. (Southeast Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Oregon lawmakers drop a bill that would have made it more difficult to build solar installations on high-value farmland. (Portland Business Journal)
• A venture firm in West Virginia is crowdfunding residential solar installations by installing energy-efficient devices in homes for free and having homeowners donate their energy rebates towards solar panels and installations on other buildings. (The American Prospect)

***SPONSORED LINK: Solar Summit 2017 is 10! Join GTM May 16-18 for three days of packed networking opportunities and a unique mix of market intelligence with engaging panel sessions among industry leaders.

Energy secretary orders review of U.S. electric grid

GRID: Energy Secretary Rick Perry orders a 60-day review of the U.S. electric grid in an effort to determine whether policies that favor renewable energy are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants. (Bloomberg)

SOLAR:
• Montana’s governor vetoes a net-metering bill that “was designed to squelch the development of solar energy and restrict Montanans’ energy choices.” (Associated Press)
• Albuquerque, New Mexico, will install over $25 million worth of solar panels on city buildings as part of an effort to generate a quarter of its energy from solar power by 2025. (Associated Press)

WIND: How the expansion of transmission capacity and market reforms are helping the wind industry in Texas. (E&E News)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Lawmakers in Maine will reconsider a flawed multimillion-dollar subsidy paid by electricity customers that’s meant to promote renewable energy in the state.

Maryland passes 30 percent tax credit for energy storage

STORAGE: Maryland passes a first-ever energy storage tax credit that offers up to $5,000 for residential and $75,000 for commercial projects. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• Hawaiian Electric Co. says it will add 2,800 customers to a rooftop solar energy program that credits customers for the excess electricity they send to the grid. (Pacific Business News)
• Policy changes could help Georgia and South Carolina surpass North Carolina in solar installations. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• An Illinois program uses solar to teach kids science and prepare them for possible clean energy jobs.