U.S. Energy News

Obama-era SunShot Initiative reaches price goal for utility-scale solar

SOLAR: The Energy Department’s SunShot Initiative, started under President Obama, has reached its goal of reducing the price of utility-scale solar to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour three years ahead of schedule, prompting the Trump administration to set a new goal of 3 cents by 2030. (Reuters, Bloomberg)

ALSO:
• Executives at an annual solar conference rip apart Suniva and SolarWorld for filing a petition calling for tariffs on imported solar panels, describing both companies as incompetent, untrustworthy and deceitful. (Greentech Media)
• Supplies of solar panels are being disrupted — and projects are being put on hold — amid the looming threat of a tariff on imported panels. (Bloomberg)
• A public charter school in Hawaii installs a 267-kilowatt solar system, which is expected to save $1.2 million over the next 20 years. (Pacific Business News)
• Young West Virginians are finding new opportunities in the solar industry. (PRI)

CLEAN ENERGY: Recent legislation and private investments suggest that the clean energy workforce in Illinois will continue to grow. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Mercedes-Benz announces that it will begin selling “the world’s first electric vehicle with fuel-cell/battery powertrain” in the U.S. by late 2019. (Los Angeles Times)

GRID:
• A researcher at the Illinois Institute of Technology is developing a potentially game-changing power converter that better manages the way renewable energy generation interacts with the grid. (Midwest Energy News)
• The Energy Department is awarding $50 million to its national laboratories for an electric grid resilience program that develops systems to integrate new electricity technologies into grids and projects focused on cybersecurity across energy sectors. (The Hill)

MICROGRIDS: Experts say microgrids could help make the coast more resilient to hurricanes. (PRI)

CAP-AND-TRADE: California plans to use $1.5 billion in cap-and-trade revenue to invest in new vehicles, electric car rebates, weatherizing low-income homes and other initiatives. (Los Angeles Times)

CLIMATE:
• White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn will host a discussion on climate change with environment ministers and senior climate officials from the world’s largest economies. (New York Times)
• A U.S. senator from Florida says Republican politicians who deny climate change are “denying reality.” (Politico)

UTILITIES:
• Florida utility officials say damage would have been much worse had they not invested billions in grid upgrades in recent years. (E&E News)
• Why it could take weeks to restore electricity service in Florida. (New York Times)
• Arizona’s largest electric utility wins approval to charge customers $5 a month for refusing to use a smart meter. (Arizona Republic)
• Duke Energy customers object to a proposed rate increase to help pay for costs related to coal ash management. (Richmond County Daily Journal)

BIOFUEL:
• Oil company investor Carl Icahn didn’t have excessive influence over U.S. biofuels policy while acting as President Trump’s regulation adviser, according to a letter from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. (Reuters)
• Researchers in Hawaii have been turning leftover papayas into a fuel that’s used to produce biodiesel. (Sierra)

OIL & GAS:
• Colorado regulators fine an oil and gas company $225,000 for a 2016 pipeline leak that contaminated soil and water on a hunting ranch. (Denver Post)
• West Virginia landowners want the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case over natural gas royalties, alleging a conflict of interest with a state justice. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• A judge dismisses a lawsuit aimed at shutting down a coal-fired power plant and mine near the Arizona-New Mexico border, saying the mine is immune from such legal challenges because it’s owned by the Navajo Nation. (Associated Press)
• Unable to reach a settlement over cost recovery for the Kemper “clean coal” plant, Mississippi regulators will begin holding hearings(Mississippi Today)

COMMENTARY:
• Pennsylvania must fight to keep nuclear plants online so they aren’t replaced by new fossil-fuel plants, says the vice president for clean energy at the think tank Third Way. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
• California’s cap-and-trade money should be used to reduce pollution from diesel engines, says the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times.

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