U.S. Energy News

2017 election seen as win for state-level climate policies

POLITICS: Newly elected lawmakers across the country won on platforms that include carbon pricing, clean energy incentives and action against climate change, which many view as a rebuke to the Trump administration’s climate views. (Reuters, E&E News)

CLIMATE:
• A well-known climate scientist who once worked for NASA says countries should sue fossil fuel companies for damages caused by climate change. (National Geographic)
• President Trump’s nominee for top White House environmental official tells the Senate she has doubts about the link between humans and climate change, prompting one senator to call her views “outrageous.” (Washington Post, New York Times)

CAP-AND-TRADE: California’s cap-and-trade program reduced industries’ emissions by nearly 5 percent last year, according to state data. (Los Angeles Times)

POLICY:
• A House committee passes a bill designed to boost oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands and off the coasts of Alaska and the Eastern seaboard. (The Hill)
• A judge says Southern California’s air quality board broke the law by adopting changes to smog rules that were backed by the oil industry without giving the public sufficient time to comment. (Los Angeles Times)
• A breakdown of how the House tax bill could affect renewables, electric vehicles and utilities. (Greentech Media)
• President Trump’s nominee for deputy EPA administrator says he was involved in crafting the DOE’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants while still a lobbyist at Murray Energy. (ThinkProgress)
• A Peabody Energy lobbyist also provided input on a DOE study on how to help coal-fired power plants. (Bloomberg)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: EPA Chief Scott Pruitt says a federal climate change report won’t affect the Trump administration’s decision to roll back the Clean Power Plan. (The Hill)

SOLAR:
• NV Energy asks Nevada regulators to approve long-term power purchase agreements for three solar projects that would be the cheapest in the country. (Utility Dive)
• Houston-based NRG Energy is reportedly seeking $350 million to finance the completion of three Hawaii solar farms that it acquired from bankrupt SunEdison last year. (Pacific Business News)

CLEAN ENERGY: A northern Michigan advocacy group has big ambitions for building the state’s new energy infrastructure with a focus on local clean energy efforts. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUELS: Federal investigators issue subpoenas for information on investor Carl Icahn’s efforts to change biofuel policy while serving as an adviser to President Trump. (Bloomberg)

HYDRO: A bill designed to speed up the licensing process for hydroelectric dams passes in the House of Representatives by a 257-to-166 vote. (Spokesman-Review)

NUCLEAR: A California judge says the state’s largest utility should be allowed to increase customer rates by nearly $200 million to help pay for the retirement of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. (Associated Press)

COAL: Dynegy and advocacy groups disagree over whether legislation being considered by Illinois lawmakers constitutes a bailout for the company’s downstate coal plants. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL & GAS:
• Duke Energy plans to spend about $200 million in the next three years to convert four coal plants in North Carolina to also burn natural gas. (Bloomberg)
• Two people are injured in a Shell oil platform fire in the Gulf of Mexico, though the company says there were no signs of oil on the water. (Times-Picayune)
• Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowksi proposes a budget measure calling for at least two major lease sales in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Washington Post)

PIPELINES:
FERC approves the Rayne Xpress Pipeline to begin shipping natural gas to the Gulf Coast. (Kallanish Energy)
• A federal appeals court lifts a temporary stay of construction for the Atlantic Sunrise natural gas pipeline running from Pennsylvania to South Carolina. (Reuters)

UTILITIES:
• Voters in Boulder, Colorado approved a tax measure that would ensure $16.5 million in funding toward the city’s effort to form its own utility. (Boulder Daily Camera)
• The executive vice president of American Electric Power talks about the utility’s shift from coal towards renewables. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY:
• Cutting a $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles will test whether the market can grow organically, says an auto industry analyst. (Bloomberg)
• The House tax bill is a “brazen assault” on the U.S. renewable energy industry and would hurt jobs, says the CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy. (Morning Consult)

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