U.S. Energy News

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. (Utility Dive)

CLIMATE: California lawmakers will vote Monday on a bill to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program. (Los Angeles Times)

POLICY: The fate of a proposal to fine the owners of coal and oil trains that travel through downtown Spokane, Washington, will likely be decided by voters in November. (Spokesman-Review)

POLITICS: A Senate committee approves the Trump administration’s nominees to the EPA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, sending them to the full Senate for a final vote. (The Hill)

OIL & GAS:
• Proposed upgrades to an oil refinery in Washington state won’t cause major environmental harm, according to an environmental review by local regulators. (Associated Press)
• A surge of new filings by Texas companies in the oil and gas industry has contributed to a record number of bankruptcies in the state this year. (Houston Chronicle)
• To the surprise of industry officials, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes a tour of oil and gas drilling operations in North Dakota. (Forum News Service)

PIPELINES: North Dakota officials continue to explore their options for recouping costs incurred by the Dakota Access pipeline protests. (Forum News Service)

COAL:
• The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality says it will form a science advisory board, after its new standards for drinking water contaminants have faced criticism from people who live near Duke Energy plants. (Progressive Pulse)
• North Carolina residents say Duke Energy shouldn’t “pass their mistakes on to the land owner” after the electric company asks regulators to allow it to charge consumers for the cleanup of coal ash. (Associated Press)
• A federal appeals court upholds more than $1.2 million in fines ordered against one of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s coal companies for unpaid bills. (Associated Press)
• National Public Radio examines what can bring jobs to coal country. (NPR)

REGULATION:
• The Trump administration’s plan to roll back Obama-era regulations on methane emissions is being hindered by public backlash and legal setbacks. (Los Angeles Times)
• Health and environmental groups are suing to stop the EPA from delaying an ozone pollution regulation, calling the move “illegal and wrong.” (The Hill)

ADVOCACY: Green groups and state attorneys general have filed over four dozen lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks and energy policies. (McClatchy)

CARBON CAPTURE: On the heels of the Kemper plant failure, a bipartisan group of 25 senators plan to introduce a bill to strengthen tax credits for carbon capture and storage projects. (Washington Post)

UTILITIES:
• An analysis calculates the most and least energy-expensive states, with Connecticut being the most expensive and Washington being the least. (WalletHub)
• NRG Energy could sell off more than 3 gigawatts of renewable energy plants as part of a restructuring plan. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY:
• Attempts to open U.S. coasts to offshore drilling will be met with a fight, as the federal government puts “oil industry profits over people yet again,” say experts at the Natural Resources Defense Council. (NRDC)
• An abundance of oil is causing a supply and demand problem for the Keystone XL pipeline, says the editorial board of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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