U.S. Energy News

Trump plans to ‘close out’ Energy Star program

EFFICIENCY: The Trump administration plans to “close out or transfer” the Energy Star program, which allows companies to voluntarily seek energy-efficient labels for consumer products. (E&E News)

RENEWABLE ENERGY: The percent of total household spending on energy costs is at the lowest level in decades thanks to renewable energy, greater energy efficiency and low natural gas and gasoline prices, according to a new report. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Utility-scale projects pushed Oregon’s solar power to record highs last year, with the state installing a total of 150 megawatts of new solar. (Portland Business Journal)
• Charlotte-based Duke Energy says offering five-year power-purchase contracts for utility-scale solar projects doesn’t violate the law, following a complaint filed by a California solar developer. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• A lack of incentives and compensation pose a barrier to mass deployment of solar-plus-storage in New York City, according to a recent study. (Utility Dive)
• More residential solar customers now buy instead of lease, with only 47 percent of all new installations being owned by a third party in the last quarter of 2016. (Greentech Media)

WIND: U.S. wind generating capacity surpassed hydropower in December, but hydro is likely to take the lead again due to seasonal factors, according to a new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (Denver Post)

POLITICS: Ohio lawmakers may be giving too much deference to an industrial energy lobbying group, according to a watchdog group that reviewed emails between lobbyists and legislators. (Midwest Energy News)

COAL: Peabody Energy agrees to set aside funds for future coal mine cleanup costs as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan. (Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
• Exxon Mobil plans to spend $20 billion on refineries, chemical plants and natural gas plants along the Gulf Coast, creating 12,000 permanent jobs. (Associated Press)
• The White House praises Exxon for investing billions along the Gulf Coast by lifting a paragraph directly from the company’s press release. (Mother Jones)
• The Trump administration unveils an offshore drilling proposal to lease 73 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico over five years, echoing a similar proposal by the Obama administration to lease 66 million acres in the same location. (Washington Post)

PIPELINES: The company building the Dakota Access Pipeline told federal officials the project would have a bigger impact on minorities if its route ran north of Bismarck instead of upstream from the Standing Rock reservation, according to a confidential memo. (InsideClimate News)

ADVOCACY:
• Native American tribes are planning four days of protests in Washington this week to oppose the Trump administration and the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Associated Press)
• Activists in North Carolina are hiking 180 miles to protest the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which they say underwent an “appallingly incomplete” environmental assessment. (Southeast Energy News)

TECHNOLOGY: Researchers create a tool to soak up oil spills by modifying the type of foam found in seat cushions. (Associated Press)

BIOFUEL: The Trump administration is considering changing the U.S. biofuels program but says it has no position “either way on this issue at this time.” (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• Policymakers should only decide whether to support nuclear power plants after a pragmatic analysis, says a policy adviser and contributor to America’s Power Plan. (Greentech Media)
• The U.S. energy industry needs to work together to develop the necessary technologies for the clean energy revolution, according to the CEO of an electrical utility company headquartered in Spain. (Fortune)

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