U.S. Energy News

Trump shrinks national monuments in Utah, opening door to fossil fuel development

POLITICS:
• In an effort to open lands to developers, President Trump drastically shrinks two national monuments in Utah, marking the largest elimination of federally protected lands in U.S. history. (Washington Post)
• Five Native American tribes announce plans to sue the Trump administration for scaling back the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments in Utah. (Deseret News)

POLICY: Experts say provisions in the Senate tax bill would hurt the value of renewable energy credits and “pretty much blow up the tax equity market for wind.” (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• Market uncertainty surrounding possible solar tariffs has caused the average fixed-tilt utility-scale solar price to rise back above $1 per watt, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• Many of the nation’s top commercial solar owners are expected to grow their 2017 installations by 68 percent, increasing their share of the market from 21 percent last year to 32 percent this year, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
•  Utility proposals to shift time-of-use peak periods in California will worsen project economics for commercial solar customers. (Greentech Media)

STORAGE: A roundup of the biggest energy storage stories in 2017. (Greentech Media)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: The chairman of Nissan North America says the company is undaunted by congressional efforts to end a $7,500 federal tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles. (Associated Press)

BIOFUEL: Toyota is building a power plant in Southern California that turns methane gas produced by cow manure into electricity and hydrogen fuel. (Futurism)

OIL & GAS:
• Ecuador will pay $337 million to a Houston-based subsidiary of ConocoPhillips for illegally seizing valuable oil assets. (Associated Press)
• A national survey shows that 70 percent of voters oppose drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Yale Program on Climate Change Communication)

PIPELINES:
• A federal judge rules the Army Corps of Engineers and the Dakota Access pipeline developer must complete an oil spill response plan for a stretch of the pipeline beneath the Missouri River in North Dakota. (Associated Press)
• Utility companies have filed the first eminent domain suits to acquire tracts in North Carolina from private property owners for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. (Triangle Business Journal)

COAL:
• Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray says a tax bill passed by the U.S. Senate “will cause even more coal companies to file for bankruptcy and more coal mining families to lose their jobs, health care and retirement security.” (The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register)
• Kentucky’s largest electric utility says the share of coal in its fleet will fall as low as 10 percent by 2050, compared to 80 percent today. (WFPL)

NUCLEAR: An analysis conducted for Georgia regulators recommends canceling the troubled Vogtle nuclear plant project, saying “it is no longer economic given the additional costs and schedule delays,” much like South Carolina’s Summer nuclear plant earlier this year. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Post and Courier)

GRID: The executive director of the Illinois Commerce Commission discusses the goals of NextGrid, the state’s effort to plan for the energy market of the future. (Midwest Energy News)

COMMENTARY:
• Natural gas can’t replace nuclear and coal power to meet U.S. electricity demand, according to a retired commissioner of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
• President Trump’s decision to shrink two national monuments in Utah is “nothing more than a giveaway to mining and other extractive industries,” says the Los Angeles Times editorial board.
• A former executive with bankrupt Georgia-based Suniva explains why import tariffs are critical to protecting America’s solar industry. (The Hill)

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