Lawmakers push California energy storage bill to 2018

STORAGE: A California bill that would have funded a 10-year energy storage rebate program is taken off the legislative agenda for 2017. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR: Financially troubled SolarWorld Americas receives a $6 million loan as it continues “to fight for fair trade in the U.S. market” alongside bankrupt solar manufacturer Suniva. (Greentech Media)

CLIMATE:
• Greenhouse gas emissions rose faster in 2016 than they have in nearly three decades, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report, which ceased to mention a direct link between human activity and emissions. (New York Times)
• Some Republican lawmakers are taking aim at the Defense Department’s work on climate change, sparking worry among former military officials. (Washington Post, ThinkProgress)
• The House defeats an effort to strike a climate change amendment from the National Defense Authorization Act.

DOE awards $46 million in solar research grants

SOLAR: The Energy Department awards over $46 million in research grants to 48 projects working to improve solar energy technologies. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: The Department of Energy says it will start including output from residential solar systems in its monthly energy forecasts. (Houston Chronicle)

WIND: Appalachian Power says acquiring two wind farms should benefit the company thanks to tax credits and a reduced reliance on outside energy purchases. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

STORAGE: A new study by the University of Minnesota says adding more storage to the state’s grid would reduce the need for building new natural gas plants and accelerate the development of renewables. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric vehicle advocates are trying to convince Georgia lawmakers to reinstate a tax credit for the purchase of EVs.

Coalition of states, cities and businesses taking next step on Paris goals

CLIMATE: A coalition that includes 227 cities and counties, nine states and about 1,650 businesses and investors is expected to announce next steps today in upholding the Paris climate accord. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• Democratic leaders’ latest proposal to extend California’s cap-and-trade system is causing angst on both sides of the political aisle. (Los Angeles Times)
• A debate over the merits of established climate science is in its “formative stages” at the EPA, and the agency will consider airing the event on television, according to EPA chief Scott Pruitt. (Reuters)
• “Maps will need to be redrawn” as one of the largest icebergs in recorded history breaks away from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. (New York Times) 

SOLAR: Duke Energy Kentucky receives approval from state officials to build three new solar facilities.

Maine governor vetoes net-metering bill, again

SOLAR: In a blow to environmental groups and solar installers, Maine’s governor vetoes a bill for the second time that would have kept net-metering incentives in place. (Portland Press Herald)

ALSO:
• The governor of Washington signs a bill extending financial incentives for solar. (Seattle Times)
• Environmental groups launch a crowdfunding campaign to build solar panels along the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. (Wisconsin Gazette)

STORAGE: Virginia-based AES is teaming up with Siemens to create a utility-scale energy storage company that will operate worldwide. (Greentech Media)

WIND: Dominion Energy says it will partner with a Danish company to build two wind turbines off the coast of Virginia Beach, which would be the second offshore wind farm in the U.S. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Troubled electric car start-up Faraday Future is abandoning plans to construct a $1 billion manufacturing plant in Nevada.

Utilities remain main roadblock to rooftop solar

SOLAR: How a lobbying campaign by utilities to kill residential solar incentives has held the industry back. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• A new online platform that seeks to be the Amazon.com of home solar will let customers design their own solar installations based on their rooftop and then project cost and energy savings. (Greentech Media)
• A 52-megawatt solar installation in Mississippi — the largest in the state — is now generating electricity. (Associated Press)

STORAGE: California-based Tesla wins a contract to build a record-breaking 100-megawatt energy storage system in South Australia. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Industry analysts say electric vehicle adaption may go mainstream sooner than anticipated.

While promoting coal, U.S. energy secretary misstates how supply and demand work

COAL: Energy Secretary Rick Perry says coal plants are needed for reliability, while also misstating how supply and demand work. (Associated Press, WFPL)

ALSO: Mississippi regulators pull the plug on the Kemper “clean coal” plant, ordering a utility to fuel the plant with natural gas instead. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

OIL AND GAS: The Interior Department issues an order to accelerate permitting for drilling on federal lands. (Washington Post)

NUCLEAR:
• In March and April, output from U.S. nuclear power plants was surpassed by renewable energy for the first time since 1984. (Bloomberg)
• A federal report warns that hackers are targeting companies that operate nuclear power plants.

Oregon lawmakers drop residential solar tax credit

SOLAR: Oregon lawmakers fail to extend a rooftop solar tax credit that’s set to expire at the end of the year. (Portland Business Journal)

ALSO:
• Solar installers are spending more than ever on acquiring new residential customers, with costs totaling about $3,668 per customer. (Greentech Media)
• A Minneapolis community solar developer is focusing its efforts on low-income residents, using faith-based groups and other entities as “backup subscribers.”  (Midwest Energy News)
• A new study commissioned by a clean energy group in Michigan says utility customers with solar panels provide a net benefit to the grid. (Michigan Radio)

GRID:
• Many utilities are skeptical that energy storage can help solve the “duck curve” problem. (Utility Dive)
• Hawaiian Electric submits a new grid modernization plan that calls for spending about $205 million over six years.

Court: EPA must enforce Obama-era methane rule

REGULATION: A federal appeals court says the EPA must enforce Obama-era regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas operations. (New York Times)

POLICY:
• President Trump makes a speech vowing to “unleash American energy,” but his plans exclude renewables. (Washington Post, ThinkProgress)
• A House subcommittee approves a bill that would slash funding for renewable and efficiency programs, while completely eliminating the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). (ThinkProgress)

CAP-AND-TRADE:
• California’s Supreme Court refuses to hear a challenge to the state’s cap-and-trade law, handing a victory to environmentalists. (Reuters, Greentech Media)
• California’s governor is under pressure to reach a deal this week to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program.

‘Bring on more renewables,’ outgoing federal regulator says ahead of U.S. grid study

NOTE TO READERS: U.S. Energy News is taking a break for Independence Day. The email digest will return on Wednesday, July 5. 

GRID: An outgoing member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission says renewable energy deployment does not harm grid reliability: “I say bring on more renewables.” (Reuters)

ALSO:
• A report prepared for the Natural Resources Defense Council cautions against focusing on outdated coal and nuclear plants’ “baseload” attributes. (Utility Dive)
• A pilot study led by BMW and Pacific Electric and Gas shows electric vehicles can be a valuable tool for supporting grid flexibility. (InsideClimate News)

COAL:
• The Navajo Nation Council approves a lease extension allowing a coal plant in northeastern Arizona to continue operating through December 2019. (Associated Press)
• A U.S. House committee approves the RECLAIM Act, which would speed up funding to help coal communities hurt by the industry downturn.

Trump administration says U.S. poised to become net exporter of energy

OIL AND GAS: With exports of oil and natural gas surging, the Trump administration says the U.S. is on the verge of becoming a net exporter of energy. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• The U.S. EPA and Colorado regulators are seeking fines of up to $100,000 a day against an oil and gas company for failing to control air pollution at dozens of oil tank sites. (Associated Press)
• Scientists think they know what happened to the oil plume from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (Phys.org)
• An application for the first hydraulic fracturing permit in Illinois is reviving a debate where the practice was first approved four years ago. (Springfield State Journal-Register)

GRID:
• Renewable energy companies operating in western states are managing wind energy to provide “firm power” amid the debate over renewables and grid reliability.