U.S. Energy News

Report: Utility-scale solar prices hit record low, under $1/watt

SOLAR: The U.S. adds 2 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter of 2017, as utility-scale system prices drop below $1 per watt for the first time, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

ALSO:
• Oregon solar installations are up 126 percent compared to the same time last year. (Portland Business Journal)
• U.S. solar installations are expected to drop 16 percent in 2017, according to a new forecast. (Reuters)
• Underlying demand from ratepayers is key to the success of utility-led community solar programs, according to an examination of programs across the U.S. (Utility Dive)
• Residential solar installer American Solar Direct files for bankruptcy, listing less than $50,000 in assets and up to $50 million in liabilities. (Greentech Media)
• South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. is launching a 16 MW community solar program, which will be the state’s largest. (Associated Press)
• North Carolina is second among states for the new solar capacity it added during the first quarter, according to a new industry report. (Triad Business Journal)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Advocates for electric vehicles in Minnesota explain why they think a new $75 annual fee is too high. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE:
• President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord is having unintended consequences, as a flood of support for the agreement appears at the state, city and corporate levels. (Motley Fool, Climate Central)
• Trump’s decision has also energized a Canadian government effort to work directly with U.S. states and cities on global warming. (New York Times)
• States representing about one-third of the U.S. population have joined a new United States Climate Alliance, which was created in response to Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (USA Today)

EFFICIENCY: An expansion of the opt-out provisions for Ohio’s energy efficiency standard will likely lead to over $6 billion in added energy and health costs over the next decade, according to a new report. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL & GAS:
• Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signs an order to review 98 existing land-use management plans created to preserve habitat that’s critical to the sage grouse bird, with the goal of removing environmental regulations governing the oil and gas industry. (ThinkProgress)
• The natural gas industry wants the government to pick up its pace in approving new projects for liquefied natural gas exports. (E&E News)
• Poland receives its first shipment of natural gas from the United States. (Advocate)

COAL:
• Seven coal miners in the U.S. have died in job-related accidents this year and most lacked mining experience, according to federal officials. (Associated Press)
• Green groups are suing to block the expansion of Montana’s largest coal mine, saying the Interior Department’s environmental review was flawed. (Associated Press)

POLITICS: Former Republican officials and oil executives send a letter asking Congress to fund the Department of Energy’s energy research and development programs, saying proposed budget cuts would hurt national security and the economy. (E&E News)

NUCLEAR: Documents show how Southern Co. failed to anticipate how difficult the Vogtle project would become. (E&E News)

COMMENTARY:
• Environmental advocates and lawmakers need to support coal miners as they work to combat climate change, says Rep. John K. Delaney of Maryland. (The Hill)
• A columnist praises a solar bill passed by the North Carolina House, saying “what is good for renewable energy is good for the state.” (News & Record)

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