U.S. Energy News

Company to close Pennsylvania coal mine, laying off 370 workers

COAL:Pennsylvania coal mine will permanently close in the coming months, resulting in layoffs for 370 workers. The company cited high production costs stemming from the mine’s old age and poor geological conditions. (Associated Press)

• New Mexico has surpassed Oklahoma and California to become the nation’s third-largest oil producer as production in the Permian Basin reaches record highs. (Associated Press)
• Brazil’s state-controlled oil company will pay nearly $3 billion to settle a U.S. class-action corruption lawsuit. (Reuters)
• Six small oil and natural gas drilling projects will receive about $30 million in federal research and development funds as part of the Trump administration’s effort to boost fossil fuels. (Reuters)
• A Democratic Florida senator says he will use the Congressional Review Act to block President Trump from overturning safety rules put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf water. (The Hill)
• Officials approve the first of two applications for a $1.9 billion Department of Energy loan for an underground natural gas liquids storage hub in Appalachia. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Pennsylvania officials halt construction of the Mariner East II gas pipeline after developers used unauthorized drilling methods that leaked drilling fluid into trout streams and water wells across the state. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

• The new tax plan could give a boost to commercial solar installations by reducing the corporate tax rate and expanding depreciation allowances. (Greentech Media)
• Attorneys at the U.S. International Trade Commission say the agency’s recommendation to impose tariffs on imported solar cells hinges on unforeseen actions by China to expand its solar manufacturing output. (Houston Chronicle)
• A new analysis looks at the country’s solar operations and maintenance market at the regional level. (Greentech Media)
• The federal government faces two policy deadlines this month with potentially far-reaching ramifications for the U.S. solar industry. (Washington Post)

RENEWABLES: Despite falling prices for wind and solar, renewable portfolio standard (RPS) laws still play a vital role for adoption of renewables in many states. (Utility Dive)

HYDROELECTRIC: Power generation from dams on the Missouri River in multiple Great Plains states increased 23 percent in 2017. (Associated Press)

POLICY: New York’s governor unveils a plan to combat climate change that includes increasing energy storage, building more offshore wind resources, setting new efficiency targets and phasing out coal-fired power plants. (Utility Dive, Greentech Media)

• Almost 80 percent of Americans lease their electric vehicles instead of buying, compared to 30 percent for the country’s entire vehicle fleet. (Bloomberg)
• Chicago looks to increase the size of its electric bus fleet, potentially doubling a planned expansion if funding is available. (Midwest Energy News)

GRID: A cold spell in the eastern U.S. is increasing energy use and testing Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s claims that coal bailouts are needed to help utilities meet power demands during cold weather events. (Vox)

REGULATION: FERC issues proposed rules that direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to modify its reliability standards in order to improve the mandatory reporting of cybersecurity issues. (Utility Dive)

CLIMATE: Environmental groups are at odds over how to treat a growing number of Republicans who are speaking out on climate change. (E&E News)

• A clean energy advocate says environmentalists’ message on climate change should also include components of religion and literature. (Midwest Energy News)
• The vice chair of Georgia’s Public Service Commission says the Vogtle nuclear project is an engineering “guinea pig” that needs to proceed. (Power)

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