U.S. Energy News

Oklahoma ends tax credit for wind power

WIND:
• Oklahoma’s governor signs legislation to end a tax credit for wind power more than three years early, citing a tight state budget. (The Hill)
• Three North Carolina Republicans are sponsoring a bill to streamline wind energy development, challenging an effort by others in their party to impose further restrictions. (Southeast Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Oregon lawmakers drop a bill that would have made it more difficult to build solar installations on high-value farmland. (Portland Business Journal)
• A venture firm in West Virginia is crowdfunding residential solar installations by installing energy-efficient devices in homes for free and having homeowners donate their energy rebates towards solar panels and installations on other buildings. (The American Prospect)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• One reason Tesla’s stock is soaring is because the company made a risky bet on batteries, which could lead to a massive payoff. (Vox)
• Electric vehicle advocates say they hoped more funds from last year’s Volkswagen settlement would be directed to the Midwest. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE: A White House official says President Trump’s top advisers will meet on Tuesday to discuss whether to pull out of the Paris climate accord, “with the goal of providing a recommendation to the president about the path forward.” (Reuters)

FRACKING: Oil and gas companies are opening more frac sand mines in Texas, but environmentalists say the mines pose health risks and damage the land. (FuelFix)

POLLUTION: Responders plug a leak at a BP oil and gas well in Alaska that had been venting natural gas into the air for nearly three days. (Washington Post)

OIL & GAS: Conservationists say the Bureau of Land Management shouldn’t open 15,000 acres in Utah to oil and gas development because of threats to the sage grouse population. (Deseret News)

COAL:
• Colorado’s North Fork Valley is producing roughly seven times as much coal as it did last year, but laid-off coal miners aren’t getting their jobs back. (Denver Post)
• A coal-fired power plant in New Jersey that was scheduled to close next month will continue to operate for two more years. (Newsworks)
• A new “clean coal” facility in Texas will use captured carbon dioxide to increase oil production at a drilling operation 81 miles away. (San Antonio Current)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators will increase their oversight of a nuclear power plant in New Jersey after inspectors found a problem with one of the plant’s five safety-related relief valves. (Newsworks)

EPA: The Trump administration’s proposed cuts to the EPA could include the closure of the agency’s regional office in Chicago, which would weaken its ability enforce actions against coal-fired power plants in the region and layoff 1,000 workers. (ThinkProgress)

REGULATION: The Trump administration is trying to stop federal judges from ruling on regulatory cases filed under President Obama, so federal agencies will have time to revise or shrink Obama-era regulations. (Washington Post)

COMMENTARY:
• Last week EPA chief Scott Pruitt told workers at a Pennsylvania coal mine that the “war on coal” was over, but the mine’s parent company wants to abandon coal to focus on its more profitable natural gas operations (New York Times)
• The EPA no longer prioritizes public health and environmental protection, and Scott Pruitt has already issued six orders that comply with industry demands, says a writer for ThinkProgress.
• The Trump administration’s cuts to the Appalachian Regional Commission, which bolsters small towns with federal funds, gives Democrats a chance to “win back” the region, according to two editors for The New Republic.

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