U.S. Energy News

Senate Democrats fail to block oil and gas drilling in Alaska refuge

OIL & GAS: In a blow to environmentalists, Senate Democrats fail to pass an amendment to block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve. (Washington Post)

ALSO:
• California may be a leader on climate change, but oil drilling in the state is especially bad for the environment due to low quality oil resources that require large amounts of energy and water to process. (Yale Environment 360)
• The sprawling oil infrastructure in Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay offers a glimpse of what the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge would look like if Congress opens the wilderness to drilling. (Audubon)
• A subsidiary of Houston-based Hilcorp wants to create an artificial gravel island off the coast of Alaska to hold oil production wells. (Associated Press)
• The amount of oil leaked into Gulf waters off Louisiana’s coast last weekend is significantly higher than first estimated. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Advocates say federal approval of the final piece of Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper pipeline represents a “quiet Keystone XL.” (InsideClimate News)

SOLAR:
• A state-subsidized solar panel maker in Mississippi announces it is closing, citing “intense, non-market competition from foreign solar panel manufacturers.” (Associated Press)
• Florida’s JEA utility is dismantling its net-metering policy while launching a program to acquire an additional 250 MW of utility-scale solar and offering subsidies for battery installation, leaving some concerned about the rollback. (PV Magazine, WJCT)
• A second North Carolina solar developer files a complaint against Duke Energy in South Carolina, saying its utilities hinder large-scale solar construction. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• A Michigan-based major producer of polysilicon that is used in solar components is laying off 100 workers due to market challenges. (PV Magazine)

STORAGE: A huge investment in manufacturing infrastructure for lithium-ion batteries is making it hard to pursue alternative battery technology based on lower-cost ingredients. (Greentech Media)

GRID: The PJM Interconnection approves $1 billion in electric transmission projects, including $200 million to reinforce transmission lines in Union County, New Jersey. (Utility Dive)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Ford selects two Colorado companies to provide it with electric vehicle motors and other components. (Denver Business Journal)

TECHNOLOGY: The energy industry has all the indicators of being on the cusp of disruption, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

BIOFUELS: Top Iowa lawmakers declare victory in their effort to have the U.S. EPA maintain or increase federal biofuel blend mandates. (Quad-City Times)

NUCLEAR:
• South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster writes a letter to SCANA Corp.’s CEO, saying “the right thing to do” is to stop charging customers millions every month for the abandoned Summer nuclear project. (Associated Press)
A formal complaint has been filed over Westinghouse’s decision not to use professional engineers to draft blueprints for South Carolina’s now-failed Summer nuclear plant project. (Post and Courier)
• Missouri’s sole nuclear plant will be offline for 60 days while undergoing nearly $130 million in repairs, including the first overhaul of its main generator. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES:
• Ratepayers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula could see up to a $24 million refund for costs they’ve paid to continue operating an aging coal plant. (Midwest Energy News)
• Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says electric utilities should prepare for a very low-carbon future despite the White House’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement. (Utility Dive)

CLIMATE: A lawsuit launched by the city of San Francisco against five fossil fuel companies could have far-reaching implications over who pays for climate change. (Wired)

POLICY: Comments are pouring into FERC on the Energy Department’s proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants, with former FERC commissioners and environmental law groups blasting the measure and coal state lawmakers voicing support. (Greentech Media, Washington Post)

COMMENTARY:
• A budget bill that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling is a “scam that puts the wildest place left in America at risk,” says the New York Times editorial board.
• The federal government should stimulate growth and competition in the energy sector rather than protect certain industries, says the director of policy and advocacy at a nonprofit. (The Hill)

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