U.S. Energy News

Trump to sign sweeping executive order aimed at climate policies

CLIMATE: President Trump plans to scrap an Obama-era policy that requires government agencies to factor climate change into their environmental reviews, along with signing other anti-climate directives, according to a source familiar with the plan. (Bloomberg, Washington Post)

ALSO:
• Grand Marais becomes the second city in Minnesota to adopt a “climate inheritance resolution,” which calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and including “the youth voice” in future decisions involving the environment and climate change. (Midwest Energy News)
• At least half a dozen former aides to James Inhofe — the climate-denying Oklahoma Senator who once brought a snowball to the Senate floor — have been hired into top positions at the EPA and White House. (Washington Post)

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EMISSIONS: Natural gas power plants are emitting up to 120 times more methane than EPA officials previously calculated, according to a recent study. (The Hill)

REGULATION:
• Federal lawmakers from Utah introduce a resolution to repeal a regional haze rule that requires new pollution controls at two power plants in the state. (Deseret News)
• President Trump is expected to announce a rollback of fuel economy standards for cars and trucks in Detroit today. (New York Times)

POLITICS: Nearly all of the executives on President Trump’s business advisory council are investing heavily in renewable energy and carbon-reduction programs. (Greentech Media)

UTILITIES: A new report, conducted by a respected modeling firm using Duke Energy’s own data, finds ratepayers in the Carolinas could save $10 billion if the utility adopted more solar power, closed coal plants ahead of schedule and abandoned a proposed nuclear plant. (Southeast Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Utilities are increasingly investing in the solar sector and are expected to provide two-thirds of the solar capacity forecasted for 2017. (Utility Dive)
• A Houston-based solar company partners with a bank to fund over $200 million worth of residential solar projects using tax equity funding. (FuelFix)
• Houston has more solar energy potential than any other U.S. city, according to satellite data analyzed by Google. (Houston Business Journal)

WIND: Favorable policies and shrinking costs are driving growth in the wind industry, which is expected to add 35,000 megawatts of capacity over the next four years, according to a recent report. (Greentech Media)

NUCLEAR: Kentucky lawmakers will vote on whether to lift a moratorium on nuclear energy in the state. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Thirty U.S. cities are asking automakers for the cost and feasibility of providing $10 billion of electric vehicles, including police cruisers, street sweepers and trash haulers — a move that would amount to over 70 percent of last year’s U.S. plug-in sales. (Bloomberg)
• Volvo’s first electric car will cost under $40,000 and have a minimum range of 250 miles, creating competition for Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3 and the Chevrolet Bolt. (Engadget, Quartz)

POLLUTION: The Southern Environmental Law Center says it plans to sue Duke Energy for allegedly violating the Clean Water Act by dumping coal ash contaminants into a North Carolina reservoir. (Charlotte Business Journal)

OIL & GAS:
• A Republican proposal to cut the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent or less could save oil producers over $10 billion, according to researchers. (Bloomberg)
• In 2015 and 2016 the Houston area lost nearly 14,000 more oil and gas jobs than originally thought, with the total surpassing 81,000, according to a revised federal labor statistic. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES:
• A federal judge refuses to grant a tribe’s request for an emergency injunction to prevent oil from flowing through part of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Reuters)
• A natural gas pipeline project is facing opposition from Georgia landowners, who say the energy company is demanding they sell their land or have it taken through eminent domain. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• A Los Angeles Times columnist says the president of California’s Public Utilities Commission is recruiting climate scientists at the Department of Energy, mimicking a move by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who tried to poach jobs from California while he was the governor of Texas.
• Rolling back the Clean Power Plan will create investment uncertainty and won’t help the coal industry, says the director of the U.S. World Resources Institute and former Mayor of Portland, Oregon. (Huffington Post)

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