U.S. Energy News

Scientists urge senators not to open Alaskan refuge to drilling

OIL & GAS: A group of 37 scientists send a letter asking two U.S. senators not to open Alaska’s National Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, saying drilling there would be “incompatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established.” (Reuters)

ALSO:
• Alaska announces a deal with three Chinese companies for a $43 billion project that would transport natural gas through a pipeline to Alaska’s coast, where it would be liquefied and shipped to Asia. (Associated Press)
• West Virginia and China make an $83.7 billion-dollar deal that includes investments in shale gas development over 20 years, marking the biggest single investment in the state’s history. (Charleston Mail-Gazette, Register-Herald)

PIPELINES: TransCanada says it is optimistic there is still enough demand to justify building the Keystone XL pipeline. (The Hill)

COAL: Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg will donate $50 million to help nations transition away from coal. (Reuters)

SOLAR:
• Hawaii regulators approve two new tariffs that offer different incentives for pairing storage with residential solar. (Utility Dive)
• Voters in Denver, Colorado, approve a measure requiring rooftop gardens or solar panels on large new buildings. (Associated Press)
• Officials in the Chicago area work to develop models for community solar in urban areas. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
• The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is conducting aerial surveys of wildlife off the coasts of North and South Carolina to help with the process of siting future offshore wind developments. (North American Wind Power)
• MidAmerican Energy says a plan in the U.S. House to scale back the production tax credit would impact its $3.6 billion plan to expand wind energy in Iowa. (Quad City Times)
• Wisconsin regulators approve a utility’s plan to build a new wind farm in Iowa. (Wisconsin State Journal)

RENEWABLES: Data from the financial advisory firm Lazard shows that cost improvements for wind and solar are diminishing. (Greentech Media)

NUCLEAR: SCANA is fully abandoning the Summer nuclear project by the end of the year in order to apply for a roughly $2 billion tax deduction, which officials say will be passed on to electric customers in South Carolina. (Post and Courier)

EFFICIENCY: The California Energy Commission adopts a mandate to increase energy efficiency in existing buildings by 50 percent by 2030. (Utility Dive)

EMISSIONS:
• Oil and gas producers in New Mexico are emitting 570,000 tons of methane annually, which is higher than state and federal measurements, according to a report by the Environmental Defense Fund. (Associated Press)
• The EPA proposes to repeal an Obama-era regulation that cuts harmful emissions from heavy-duty trucks with older engines. (Washington Post)

POLITICS: The Senate confirms a lawyer for the petrochemical industry as the EPA’s new assistant administrator for air and radiation. (Associated Press)

POLICY: FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee says the commission will make a decision by December 11 on whether to support Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, but an interim plan to support baseload generation is in the works. (Houston Chronicle, Utility Dive)

CLIMATE:
• U.S. mayors, governors and CEOs tell world leaders at a U.N. climate change conference in Germany that they are committed to fighting climate change, despite the actions of the Trump administration. (Scientific American)
• Executives from JPMorgan Chase and BlackRock are slated to talk about the importance of cutting emissions at a U.N. climate change conference, yet their institutions are funding companies that drill for oil in the Amazon rainforest. (Huffington Post)

COMMENTARY:
• Solar microgrids won’t solve Puerto Rico’s power issues, says the director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy at Boston University. (The Conversation)
• An advocacy group says investing in retraining coal communities will create new opportunities for miners and cleaner air for all Americans. (Environmental Defense Fund)
• Clean energy can help revive struggling urban communities, says the deputy director of a Buffalo community organization. (Midwest Energy News)

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