U.S. Energy News

Report: Endangered DOE energy innovation program is working

POLITICS: The Trump administration wants to slash 93 percent of funding for the federal ARPA-E energy research program, but a new report shows the program has been successful and “is not in need of reform.” (Washington Post)

SOLAR:
• Utility-scale solar is helping rural Texas communities, with a typical 100 MW project producing about $30 million in property taxes per year. (Houston Chronicle)
• Google’s free online tool, Project Sunroof, now shows which homes have already installed rooftop solar panels. (The Atlantic)

STORAGE:
• Most of the top solar developers are incorporating energy storage into their business strategy as part of a new solar-plus-storage trend. (Greentech Media)
• Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are exploring the potential for “self-healing” energy storage batteries that could respond to deterioration after wear and tear. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A more than $100 million wind farm project is on hold after Tennessee lawmakers passed a yearlong moratorium on new turbines there. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLES:
China surpassed the U.S. as the world’s top producer of non-hydro renewables in 2017, while worldwide coal production had its biggest drop ever, according to a new report. (ThinkProgress)
• Apple Inc. has issued a $1 billion green bond to fund renewable energy generation in several states. (Bloomberg News)

MICROGRIDS: Communities in Alaska are on the forefront of developing microgrids that could be used in communities across the country. (Alaska Public Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The governor of Texas signs a law that provides a $2,500 rebate to electric-car buyers, along with eligibility for a $7,500 federal tax credit. (Houston Chronicle)

EFFICIENCY: Nearly a dozen states are suing the Trump administration over its failure to finalize energy-use limits for portable air conditioners and other products. (Associated Press)

CLIMATE:
• A profile on a 14-year-old Louisiana girl who is among 21 young plaintiffs suing the government over climate change. (InsideClimate News)
• A report finds carbon emissions from the power sector have dropped to 1990 levels; AEP, Duke Energy and Southern Co. are the top three emitters. (InsideClimate News)
• The Nature Conservancy files three proposals for a potential 2018 carbon tax ballot measure in Washington state. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS:
• The EPA proposes a two-year stay on standards meant to curb methane emissions from the oil and gas industry so it can reconsider the rule. (Reuters)
• Environmental advocates are pushing for legislation to prevent any new crude oil train terminals from being built at the port of Baltimore, Maryland. (Baltimore Sun)

COAL:
• Duke Energy disposed of ash in ways it knew threatened groundwater, according to insurance companies who are suing the utility to recover more than $1 billion in coal-ash contamination costs. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• A new coal mine in Pennsylvania that’s being praised by President Trump for putting miners back to work will employ 70 people, which is less than an average U.S. supermarket. (Quartz)

NUCLEAR:
• Six U.S. nuclear power plants are slated to retire over the next nine years, according to a report from the Energy Information Administration. (Houston Chronicle)
• Consultants say Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing makes it “uneconomic” to complete its Vogtle nuclear plant project. (SNL)
• Recent nuclear plant shutdowns across the country stem from a mix of political opposition and competition from gas, which may undercut U.S. climate goals. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY: 
• Utilities need to embrace new tools and business models to keep customers engaged, according to the consulting firm CLEAResult. (Greentech Media)
• Offshore drilling not only pollutes the ocean and harms marine ecosystems, but also has negative effects for those living inland, says the Director of Partner Engagement for the Natural Resources Defense Council. (NRDC)
• The Trump administration has been loyal to fossil fuel interests, giving them a greater presence inside federal agencies, removing regulatory restraints and proposing to defund their competitors, says a columnist for Vox.

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