Washington state joins 19 countries in pledge to phase out coal

COAL: Washington state joins 19 countries in a pledge to phase out coal for electricity generation. (The Hill)

• The Tennessee Valley Authority’s CEO says it would cost $900 million and take 24 years to comply with a court order to move its coal ash, though some question whether these estimates are too high. (Associated Press)
• Residents are pushing for the early shutdown of an 80-year-old coal-fired plant in Colorado Springs. (Denver Post)

• TransCanada shuts down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota after it leaks 210,000 gallons of oil, just days before Nebraska regulators are expected to release a decision on the company’s Keystone XL project. (Associated Press, InsideClimate News)
• Opponents of Keystone XL were already in the midst of a last-minute push to urge Nebraska regulators to reject a proposed route for the project, with one group saying the spill “should be a stark warning.” (Reuters, NRDC)
• The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes continue to push for stronger water protections and spill response plans for the Dakota Access pipeline.

FERC floats interim plan to boost coal and nuclear plants

POWER PLANTS: FERC chairman Neil Chatterjee provides details of an interim plan to help coal and nuclear plants while the commission considers a controversial DOE rule to subsidize the energy sources. (Utility Dive)

ALSO: Critics of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to boost coal and nuclear energy sources are ready to file legal challenges should FERC adopt some version of the proposal. (E&E News)

BIOFUELS: A federal biofuels policy is contributing to climate change by encouraging farmers to turn wetlands and forests into cropland for biofuels production, according to a new study by scientists from the University of Wisconsin. (Reuters)

• Sunrun will surpass SolarCity as the country’s top residential solar lease provider by the end of the year, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)
• A Virginia electric cooperative is working to inform members of proposed rate increases as part of a settlement with the Sierra Club, which said the co-op failed to be transparent as well as disregarded the impact on its customers.

Report: U.S. set to become net exporter of oil and gas within 10 years

OIL & GAS: A boom in shale production will make the U.S. a net exporter of oil and gas within 10 years, causing major upheaval to the global energy market, according to the International Energy Agency. (The Guardian, New York Times)

• African Americans are disproportionately affected by pollution from the oil and gas industry, with more than a million people living within half a mile of an oil and gas operation, according to a new report. (Reuters, Mother Jones)
• British primatologist Jane Goodall asks U.S. senators to protect Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from oil and gas drilling, saying it will have a “devastating impact for the Gwich‘in people” who depend on caribou herds. (Reuters)

• Nebraska officials are expected to rule next week on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route through the state. (Associated Press)
• A lawsuit filed by environmental groups seeks to stop work on the Nexus pipeline, which is slated to run across northern Ohio and into Michigan and Canada. (Associated Press)
• Dozens of groups and individuals are challenging FERC’s approval of the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines, asking the commission to revisit seemingly every aspect of the orders approving the projects.

Protesters ridicule Trump team for promoting fossil fuels at climate talks

CLIMATE: A Trump administration presentation in support of fossil fuels and nuclear energy is delayed and mocked by demonstrators at a U.N. climate conference in Germany. (New York Times)

• Evidence is mounting that a controversial Department of Energy proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants was taken from an industry playbook, with coal company CEO Robert Murray wielding particular influence. (Greentech Media)
• Attendees of an “America first” energy conference in Houston say the Trump administration hasn’t done enough to reverse federal climate policies and regulations. (Washington Post)

ADVOCACY: Inspired by actions in Portland, towns in the Pacific Northwest are trying to adopt zoning codes that prohibit the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure. (ThinkProgress)

• By integrating battery storage into its business strategy, Sunrun is one of the few residential solar installers that’s both expanding and turning a profit.

Senate tax bill would keep credits for wind, solar and EVs

• A Senate tax bill would keep credits for wind, solar and electric vehicles in place, unlike a House version of the bill that threatened to weaken and repeal the credits. (Greentech Media, Associated Press)
• As part of a live video series, Democratic and Republican policy experts discuss whether the U.S. is doing enough to modernize its energy policies to keep pace with other nations. (Greentech Media)

• A White House official says Trump advisers and U.S. energy company representatives plan to promote wider use of fossil fuels at a global meeting on climate change this week. (Reuters)
• An alliance of states, cities, businesses and universities says it is committed to combating climate change, but will still need some help at the federal level to reach the goals of the Paris climate accord. (New York Times, Associated Press)
• The Virginia DEQ will present the state’s new climate plan to reduce carbon emissions and join a regional greenhouse gas trading initiative now that its Democratic candidate was elected governor.

Scientists urge senators not to open Alaskan refuge to drilling

OIL & GAS: A group of 37 scientists send a letter asking two U.S. senators not to open Alaska’s National Arctic Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, saying drilling there would be “incompatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established.” (Reuters)

• Alaska announces a deal with three Chinese companies for a $43 billion project that would transport natural gas through a pipeline to Alaska’s coast, where it would be liquefied and shipped to Asia. (Associated Press)
• West Virginia and China make an $83.7 billion-dollar deal that includes investments in shale gas development over 20 years, marking the biggest single investment in the state’s history. (Charleston Mail-Gazette, Register-Herald)

PIPELINES: TransCanada says it is optimistic there is still enough demand to justify building the Keystone XL pipeline. (The Hill)

COAL: Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg will donate $50 million to help nations transition away from coal.

2017 election seen as win for state-level climate policies

POLITICS: Newly elected lawmakers across the country won on platforms that include carbon pricing, clean energy incentives and action against climate change, which many view as a rebuke to the Trump administration’s climate views. (Reuters, E&E News)

• A well-known climate scientist who once worked for NASA says countries should sue fossil fuel companies for damages caused by climate change. (National Geographic)
• President Trump’s nominee for top White House environmental official tells the Senate she has doubts about the link between humans and climate change, prompting one senator to call her views “outrageous.” (Washington Post, New York Times)

CAP-AND-TRADE: California’s cap-and-trade program reduced industries’ emissions by nearly 5 percent last year, according to state data. (Los Angeles Times)

• A House committee passes a bill designed to boost oil and natural gas drilling on federal lands and off the coasts of Alaska and the Eastern seaboard.

Syria says it will join Paris accord, leaving U.S. as lone outlier

CLIMATE: Syria says it will join the Paris climate agreement, leaving the U.S. as the only U.N. country not participating. (New York Times)

• After pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, President Trump is currently not invited to a climate change summit in Paris next month, according to a French official. (Reuters)
• California will consider creating a common carbon market with the European Union to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (Los Angeles Times)

• A coalition of 20 energy groups and companies ask FERC to scrap a Department of Energy proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants, saying supporters haven’t shown a legal justification for it. (The Hill)
• A new report outlines ways to make wholesale power markets more reliable without adopting a controversial DOE rule to subsidize coal and nuclear plants.

Lawmakers urge FERC to oppose plan to subsidize coal, nuclear

POLICY: Several House lawmakers urge FERC to oppose Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants. (The Hill)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: With the backing of an environmental group, two children are suing President Trump to stop the repeal of the Clean Power Plan. (Reuters)

• The Department of Energy is working on a report about the costs and benefits of net metering, which “could be consequential for the solar industry.” (E&E News)
• Local assessors in a Minnesota county say a major solar installation has not negatively impacted nearby property values. (Chisago County Press)
• Researchers from the University of California-Santa Cruz may have discovered a way to power greenhouses using solar panels made of pink glass. (Quartz)

WIND: The North Carolina General Assembly moves a step closer to a controversial suite of maps that could determine the future of wind energy in the state, though the process won’t be open to the public. (Southeast Energy News)

• Ohio-based American Electric Power plans a $1.8 billion investment in renewable energy, which includes 1.37 gigawatts of solar. (pv magazine)
• Energy analysts differ on the implications of a recent report showing the cost of renewables relative to other energy sources.

Hurricanes cost utilities up to $2.5 billion in damages in 2017

UTILITIES: U.S. utility companies estimate hurricanes caused as much as $2.5 billion in damages this year. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: Illinois regulators approve new rules to rein in alternative energy suppliers using deceptive marketing tactics and variable rates, though clean energy and consumer groups oppose removal of some draft provisions. (Midwest Energy News)

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a $2.5 billion investment in rural electric infrastructure improvements in 27 states. (Utility Dive)
• Duke Energy announces a plan to strengthen South Carolina’s energy grid by investing $3 billion over the next 10 years. (Greenville News)

• A U.N. climate conference kicks off in Germany this week, with the U.S. largely on the sidelines after moving to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.