Sources: Trump will reopen review of fuel economy standards

REGULATION:
• President Trump will travel to Michigan on Wednesday to announce plans to reassess Obama-era fuel economy standards, according to sources. (Washington Post)
• California promises to fight the Trump administration’s plan to weaken emissions regulations for cars and trucks. (San Francisco Chronicle)

SOLAR:
• Rooftop solar continues to decline on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, with permits dropping 66 percent since last February to the lowest number in over five years. (Pacific Business News)
• The residential solar company Sungevity files for bankruptcy and will sell its assets to the venture capital firm Northern Pacific Group. (Greentech Media)
• A promising microgrid experiment in Brooklyn allows residents and businesses to trade solar energy from a network of arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops.

Volkswagen agrees to pay $4.3 billion for emissions cheating

EMISSIONS: Volkswagen pleads guilty to a scheme to cheat vehicle emissions standards and agrees to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• By rolling back electric vehicle incentives, states could put the industry in a precarious position. (New York Times)
• Researchers in California are developing a process to create renewable solar fuel using water and sunlight. (E&E News)
• In a push to help Tesla sell electric cars in Texas, state lawmakers introduce a bill that allows vehicle manufacturers to sell directly to customers, bypassing car dealerships. (Texas Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others.

Report: U.S. solar capacity grows more than any other source

SOLAR: Solar energy capacity grew more than any other energy source in 2016, and the market could triple in size over the next five years, according to a recent analysis. (Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• New York state regulators approve a new compensation structure for distributed energy resources, saying about 70 large solar energy systems will “benefit immediately” from the order. (Utility Dive)
• The residential solar company Sungevity lays off 66 percent of its remaining workforce, following dozens of layoffs in January. (Greentech Media)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Georgetown, Texas, becomes one of the first U.S. cities to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

Three new states consider supports for nuclear plants

POLICY: Ohio Republicans introduce a bill to make the state’s renewable energy standards voluntary instead of mandatory. (Columbus Business First)

ALSO:
• Upheaval in the nuclear, coal and natural gas industries is prompting lawmakers to take action, with three new states considering nuclear supports. (Utility Dive)
• The chief of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality talks about his vision for the agency. (Southeast Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

SOLAR: Tesla completes a 13-megawatt solar storage project in Hawaii that includes 52 megawatt-hours of batteries, allowing it to dispatch power after the sun goes down.

Report: Energy storage deployments surge in 2016, led by California

STORAGE: U.S. energy storage deployments grew 100 percent in terms of megawatt-hours last year, with California making up 88 percent of all installed capacity in the fourth quarter. (Greentech Media, Bloomberg)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• Advanced energy revenue grew by only 1 percent in 2016, but that’s largely due to a $7 billion decline in revenue from ethanol. (Greentech Media)
• Economics are driving renewable energy development in remote communities in Alaska. (Ensia)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

WIND: Surfers on the Hawaiian island of Oahu say an onshore wind farm may impact the waves at a famous surf spot.

Trump plans to ‘close out’ Energy Star program

EFFICIENCY: The Trump administration plans to “close out or transfer” the Energy Star program, which allows companies to voluntarily seek energy-efficient labels for consumer products. (E&E News)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: The percent of total household spending on energy costs is at the lowest level in decades thanks to renewable energy, greater energy efficiency and low natural gas and gasoline prices, according to a new report. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Utility-scale projects pushed Oregon’s solar power to record highs last year, with the state installing a total of 150 megawatts of new solar. (Portland Business Journal)
• Charlotte-based Duke Energy says offering five-year power-purchase contracts for utility-scale solar projects doesn’t violate the law, following a complaint filed by a California solar developer. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• A lack of incentives and compensation pose a barrier to mass deployment of solar-plus-storage in New York City, according to a recent study.

EPA to reconsider fuel efficiency targets

POLLUTION: U.S. automakers are expected to reach an agreement with the Trump administration over rolling back emissions requirements for new cars and trucks. (New York Times)

ALSO: Environmental groups say planned EPA budget cuts will particularly hurt communities of color, with the campaign director of the Sierra Club calling it “just racist.” (The Guardian)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

POLITICS: President Trump received almost $1 million in energy-efficiency incentives and low-interest loans from New York State in 2012 for building an eco-friendly residential tower. (New York Times)

COAL: BNSF Railway resolves a Clean Water Act lawsuit by agreeing to clean up coal spilled from open-top freight cars.

EPA withdraws request for drillers to report on methane emissions

OIL & GAS:
• The EPA is withdrawing a request for oil and gas drillers to provide regulators with information about methane emissions, undermining an Obama-era climate change initiative. (Washington Post)
• Analysts say U.S. gasoline demand is expected to peak next year as engines become more efficient, while global demand is set to peak as early as 2021. (Reuters)
• Researchers have identified over 60 species of fish that were not been previously known to be in the Gulf on Mexico thanks to funding stemming from BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Quartz)

POLITICS:
• The Senate approves former Texas governor Rick Perry as Energy secretary in a 62-37 vote. (Texas Tribune)
• Rick Perry’s testimony before the Senate differed sharply from statements he made in a 2010 book.

A 5-year battle over solar rate design is settled in Arizona

SOLAR: Following years of contentious debate, Arizona’s largest electric utility reaches a deal with solar advocates and business groups that allows customers to choose from four rate design options, including a time-of-use rate plan. (Greentech Media, Utility Dive)

ALSO:
• The New Mexico House of Representatives approves a bill that requires residential solar providers to disclose how estimated energy savings could change due to future changes to subsidies or utility rates. (Associated Press)
• An environmental group promises to fight new net metering policies adopted by Maine’s Public Utilities Commission, saying the rules will “stifle investment in clean, local, solar power.” (Portland Press Herald)
• SolarCity cut nearly 20 percent of its staff last year, according to a regulatory filing. (Reuters)
• A city’s solar potential depends on the length of its road network, according to a recent study.

Officials from Western states urge senators to keep methane rule

OIL & GAS: Over 60 local elected officials from Western states tell the U.S. Senate not to kill Obama-era regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas sites. (Denver Business Journal)

ALSO:
• There is limited evidence that living near oil and gas drilling sites is dangerous for peoples’ health, according to a review by Colorado’s health department. (Denver Post)
• A fossil fuel industry lobbyist warns lawmakers that opposition to fracking is threatening the oil industry in New Mexico. (Associated Press)
• An energy company pays $1.2 million for oil and gas violations that contaminated water supplies in Pennsylvania. (Penn Live)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others.