U.S. Energy News

Republican tax bill has mixed consequences for energy

NOTE TO READERS: U.S. Energy News is taking a break for the holidays, the daily digest will return on Tuesday, January 2. Also, donations through Dec. 31 will be doubled via the NewsMatch program, click here to contribute. Thanks for reading!

TAX REFORM: The Republican tax bill headed for President Trump’s signature will take effect January 1 and has mixed consequences for energy, with benefits for utilities, oil companies and electric vehicles. (Greentech Media)

OIL & GAS
• The fight over drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge has just begun, opponents vow after Congress passes a tax bill that includes a provision opening the northern coastal plain to drilling. A look at what happens next. (Reuters, New York Times)
• The developer of a proposed oil refinery near a national park in North Dakota says it’s not trying to skirt state law in its application, even though the proposed plant capacity is just barely below a threshold that would trigger a costly site review. (Associated Press)
• The Maine Public Utilities Commission will decide whether a natural gas supplier can recoup years worth of underbillings. (Maine Public Radio)

BIOFUELS: Texas Sen. John Cornyn “is working hard to unify all stakeholders in a consensus effort to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard,” according to an aide. (Reuters)

NUCLEAR
• U.S. lawmakers lay the groundwork to guarantee $800 million in federal tax credits for Georgia’s long-delayed and over-budget Vogtle nuclear project, while state regulators meet today to determine if the project will continue. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• Georgia and South Carolina’s nuclear projects were supposed to be identical projects and the start of America’s nuclear energy renaissance, but they now seem to be a study of contrasts. (Post and Courier)
• The fate of the Vogtle nuclear project has significant implications for Florida utility JEA’s ratepayers, who are on the hook for as much as $1.7 billion. (Florida Times-Union)
• New Jersey lawmakers vote unanimously to support a bill to subsidize nuclear power plants at a potential cost of $300 million. (Reuters)

EFFICIENCY: North Carolina officials voted to reverse more stringent energy conservation requirements for new homes, leaving the state with a residential building code that’s 16 percent less energy-efficient than the nation’s model code. (Southeast Energy News)

SOLAR
• In Kansas, a rural electric cooperative and solar installers find common ground over a demand fee by orienting panels toward the west to increase production during peak, late afternoon hours. (Midwest Energy News)
• Advocates are concerned by a draft report from Michigan Public Service Commission staff that would restructure the state’s net metering program, saying it provides a disincentive for residential solar. (E&E News, subscription)
• A solar campaign in Amherst, New York resulted in the installation of 59 new roof-mounted solar arrays. (Buffalo News)
• A North Carolina appeals court again ruled against a county in favor of a solar developer. (Triangle Business Journal)
• A city council in Virginia voted to reject what might have been the city’s first solar farm. (Virginian-Pilot)
• A nonprofit organization has developed a first-of-its-kind solar program in Florida that offers wholesale prices and 100 percent financing. (TC Palm)

COAL
• President Trump has delivered 1,200 coal mining jobs but claims to have created 45,000. (Newsweek)
• 
In an exclusive interview with a Kentucky newspaper, Santa Claus confirmed the coal he gives to naughty children comes from the state’s mines. (Courier-Journal)

WIND
• MidAmerican Energy will be able to pursue a second round of federal production tax credits as part of a plan to “re-power” turbines at more than 700 locations. (Rapid City Journal)
• The final pieces are coming into place for a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm in southeastern South Dakota. (Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan)
• A 105 MW wind farm in western Minnesota won’t be required by the state to prioritize the hire of local workers. (Worthington Daily Globe)

UTILITIES
• Georgia’s Public Service Commission gives Georgia Power 30 days to respond to questions about a fire that shut down power for 11 hours at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• California’s three investor-owned utilities are on pace to hit a 50 percent renewable electricity target a decade ahead of schedule. (Engadget)
• The Longmont, Colorado City Council hears a presentation on how its local utility could provide “zero net carbon” electricity by 2030. (Longmont Times-Call)

PIPELINES
• Months after pledging not to finance oil and gas pipelines, U.S. Bank has entered a $4 billion loan deal with a company backing the Dakota Access pipeline. (DeSmogBlog)
• After a year-long protest in North Dakota over the Dakota Access pipeline, the project continued to dominate the state’s news cycle in 2017. (Associated Press)

BATTERIES: A California hobbyist has become the “reluctant battery king” of YouTube with over 140,000 subscribers. (Motherboard)

COMMENTARY
The Baltimore Sun editorial board says Maryland lawmakers should end renewable energy incentives for trash incineration.
The Economist says throwing subsidies at coal is not the way to make electricity reliable, cheap and green.
• The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy doesn’t expect the new federal tax bill to significantly impact energy efficiency.

Comments are closed.