U.S. Energy News

Interior Department rescinds Obama-era rule on coal royalties

COAL: The Interior Department rescinds an Obama-era rule that reformed how energy companies value coal extracted from federal and tribal lands. (Associated Press)

OIL & GAS:
• In a win for the oil industry, the Interior Department is overhauling rules to protect the sage grouse, saying the new plan will conserve the birds’ habitat “while also ensuring conservation efforts do not impede local economic opportunities.” (Reuters)
• BP says it has hit one of the most productive natural gas wells that the San Juan Basin in New Mexico has seen in more than a decade. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES:
• Attorneys representing Nebraska landowners question company officials looking to build the Keystone XL pipeline during the opening day of public hearings. (Lincoln Journal Star)
• As Keystone XL hearings proceed, “the question of how the pipeline could affect the famed Ogallala Aquifer looms large.” (E&E News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• The troubled electric car start-up Faraday Future says it will build vehicles at an existing factory 200 miles north of Los Angeles. (Associated Press)
• Tesla says it’s planning to raise $1.5 billion in a first-ever debt offering in order to fund production of its Model 3 electric car and its battery Gigafactory in Nevada. (Greentech Media)

RENEWABLES: The utility arm of Berkshire Hathaway has been pushing back against a federal law that requires utilities in states to purchase renewable energy from independent producers. (Bloomberg)

WIND:
• The developer of a $865 million wind project in New Mexico says it is expected to create 600 jobs, both temporary and full time. (Albuquerque Business First)
• GE is suing turbine-maker Vestas in a U.S. District Court for allegedly infringing on one of its patents, and the results could impact the U.S. wind industry. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• The upcoming solar eclipse will affect hundreds of solar plants, with California expected to lose nearly half its solar capacity. (E&E News)
• Utah utility regulators will consider raising rates for rooftop solar customers, despite criticism from solar companies. (Associated Press)

HYDRO: A private company wants to turn an abandoned iron mine in the California desert into a $2 billion hydropower project, but some fear it would deplete local groundwater levels and harm wildlife. (Los Angeles Times)

NUCLEAR: South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is seeking ways to get at least one nuclear reactor completed at the troubled Summer plant, including selling the state-owned electric utility Santee Cooper. (Post and Courier)

ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Ameren Illinois’ request to scale back energy efficiency targets under a sweeping energy law passed last year is rooted, in part, in the longstanding divide between the Chicago area and “downstate“ Illinois. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE:
• Scrapping Obama-era climate rules would waste nearly $300 billion a year by 2030, according to a new study. (InsideClimate News)
• A draft of a federal climate change report concludes that the average temperature in the U.S. has risen drastically since 1980, contradicting claims by the Trump administration that man-made climate change is uncertain. (New York Times)
• Officials at a U.S. Department of Agriculture office told staffers to avoid the term “climate change” in their communications and use language like “weather extremes” instead, according to email records. (The Guardian)
• Experts say “Exxon wrote a very deceptive report” for investors on its climate risk calculations by using two different accounting methods. (Climate Liability News)

COMMENTARY:
• If California regulators accept a proposal by utilities to shift their peak time-of-use periods, it will set a worrisome standard and could hurt solar customers, says a Solar Energy Industries Association representative. (Utility Dive)
• With nearly 37 percent of its power provided by wind, Iowa is a red state with a blueprint for energy innovation, says the state’s Republican governor. (The Hill)

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