U.S. Energy News

Why a Vermont utility is helping customers abandon the grid

GRID: A Vermont electric utility has begun an experiment to disconnect homes, neighborhoods and towns entirely from the grid. (New York Times)

WIND:
• The U.S. has 40 percent more wind farm projects under construction than it did a year ago, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association. (Houston Chronicle)
• Republican lawmakers in Ohio will again seek to ease setbacks in the state, saying strict rules passed in 2014 are stifling clean energy development. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

SOLAR:
• Lobbyists are rallying to influence an upcoming vote that would keep financial incentives in place for rooftop solar customers in Maine. (Portland Press Herald)
• Colorado’s top oil-producing county is easing regulations for solar development and encouraging developers build utility-scale solar farms. (Denver Post)
• The first large-scale solar farm on the Navajo reservation is now operational near Kayenta, Arizona. (Farmington Daily-Times)
• JP Morgan Chase plans to build Ohio’s largest solar array at its headquarters in Columbus (Columbus Dispatch)

RENEWABLES: Mississippi lawmakers gave more than $400 million in taxpayer-backed loans to seven green companies, but the move produced few jobs. (Clarion-Ledger)

ELECTRIC CARS: Advocates say despite Michigan’s legacy as “the automotive capital of the world,” the state is lagging on policies supporting electric cars and compressed natural gas. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUEL: Refiners may be forced to purchase more biofuel credits after a court ruling that biofuel mandates must be reconsidered by the federal government. (Reuters)

PIPELINES:
• An executive from TransCanada Corp., which has been granted permission to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, says the company is still debating whether to move forward with the project. (The Hill)
• Opponents of Keystone XL in Nebraska are erecting solar panels in the pipeline’s path. (NTV)
• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) says natural gas pipeline projects in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi would result in some adverse and significant environmental impacts, but says the damage could be reduced to acceptable levels. (Reuters)

OIL & GAS:
• A California appeals court says operations can resume at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility, where the country’s largest methane leak occurred in 2015. (Los Angeles Times)
• West Virginia’s Marcellus and Utica shale drillers continued to set records for natural gas production last year, according to data from the state. (Wheeling News-Register)

COAL:
• U.S. coal exports have increased by more than 60 percent in 2017 due to high demand in Europe and Asia, according to government data. (Reuters)
• A Tennessee prosecutor wants an investigation into cleanup conditions from a 2008 coal ash spill after workers said they weren’t warned it was toxic or given protective gear. (Associated Press)
• The Bureau of Land Management says it will use the Trump administration’s energy policies to decide whether to allow an energy company to mine up to 4.1 million more tons of coal in northwest Colorado. (Denver Post)

UTILITIES: A Canadian company has come under scrutiny for its plans to acquire a Washington state utility that gets about 9 percent of its electricity from a coal-fired plant in Montana, because burning coal to produce electricity is illegal in Ontario. (Spokesman-Review)

REGULATION: A roundup of the top utility regulation trends of 2017. (Greentech Media)

EFFICIENCY: The House of Representatives approves a 2018 spending bill that would slash funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) by 45 percent. (ThinkProgress)

NUCLEAR:
• Georgia Power’s plan to assume management of the Vogtle nuclear expansion is approved by the U.S. Department of Energy. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)
• How nuclear subsidies in Illinois and New York could help renewable energy. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY:
• Congress should make funding for clean energy innovation a priority, says a senior fellow at the nonprofit Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. (The Hill)
• The head of a company that finances clean energy projects disagrees with Suniva’s petition for solar import tariffs, saying trade regulations “should not be used to pick winners and losers.” (The Hill)
• Media predictions of a solar slowdown are greatly exaggerated. (Midwest Energy News)

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