The U.S Office of Safety and Health Administration is investigating the June 2 deaths of two workers at Xcel Energy-Colorado's coal-fired Comanche Power Plant in Pueblo. Kyle Bussey, 28, and Phillip Roberts, 36, were employed by Savage Industries, an international firm that manages coal operations at the plant. The men were working on a coal pile when it collapsed, burying them beneath 20 to 30 feet of coal, Jeff Hymas, a spokesperson for Savage, said in an email. Their bodies were recovered from the pile later that day. Savage is conducting an internal investigation in coordination with Xcel and is also cooperating with the OSHA investigation, Hymas said. By law, OSHA must complete the investigation within six months, Juan Rodriguez, a spokesperson for OSHA's office in Englewood, Colorado, said in an email.
The California Air Resources Board on June 28 will host a public work group devoted to discussing the Clean Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project, or HVIP. Staff is soliciting comments on possible policy changes for the program in the 2022-2023 fiscal year. CARB is requesting attendees to register on its website ahead of the meeting, which will be held via Zoom from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The agenda and presentation will be posted before the meeting on the agency's Low Carbon Transportation Investments and Air Quality Improvement Program website.
Vegas Renewable Diesel Inc. on June 13 said it acquired "a prime site near Las Vegas" on which it intends to construct "the largest renewable diesel refinery to be built in the Western United States," capable of producing 100 million gallons per month. The feedstock for the facility will primarily be used motor oil, although it will also be able to use a combination of other petrochemical wastes, seed oils and animal fats. The company said it is securing permits for the project.
Construction has begun on the main phase of the 152-MW Grizzly Bear Creek wind project, Enel Green Power North America said in a June 9 news release. The project, located in Minburn and Vermilion River counties in the Canadian province of Alberta, is one of four wind projects Enel has in the province. When the wind project comes on line by year's end, the company will have roughly 360 MW of wind capacity in Alberta.
An Alberta-based company will work with California State University, Los Angeles, on a hydrogen demonstration project on campus after the organizations signed a memorandum of understanding June 9. The project with Azolla Hydrogen will be based at Cal State's Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, which the university says is "the largest university-based hydrogen fueling station in the U.S. and was the first facility in the world to sell hydrogen fuel by the kilogram directly to retail customers in 2014." Azolla Hydrogen said this fits its own strategic plan to expand its operations into the U.S. The Azolla Biodrome 225 produces 225 kg per day of low-greenhouse-gas hydrogen from bio-methanol feedstock and deionized water. The hydrogen produced in conjunction with the new project will increase the total daily capacity of the Cal State facility to 285 kg.
Pacific Gas & Electric and Aemetis Inc. on June 10 officially commissioned a renewable natural gas pipeline. When fully operational, the 40-mile pipeline will enable dairy-derived methane to be transported from the Aemetis Biogas Central Dairy Digester Project plant in Keyes, California, through the PG&E system to California transportation customers. The facility will capture more than 1.6 MMBtu of dairy methane per year. PG&E said this is its fourth RNG interconnection in the past six months, with another one expected to be on line by December.
Intermountain Healthcare, a Utah-based healthcare provider, will offer free electric-vehicle charging at its hospitals and clinics across the state through a pilot project, it said in a June 9 news release. The system has 156 dedicated EV parking spaces for its patients and caregivers. Intermountain plans to collect data on the chargers' use. Vehicle emissions are the greatest contributor to poor air quality along the Wasatch Front. Roughly 39 percent of all man-made air pollution originates from vehicles, according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. "Air quality is a major focus because of its health impact on our patients and the entire community, so we want to make EV ownership as convenient as possible," Glen Garrick, sustainability director for Intermountain, said. "This project will help determine where we're seeing the most use and locations that may need more charging stations." Intermountain expects to add more charging stations once the pilot project is completed.
A half-million dollars in grants was awarded to Central and Southern California independent restaurant owners by the Restaurants Care Resilience Fund, which is funded by Southern California Gas Co., PG&E, San Diego Gas & Electric and Wells Fargo. This is the second year of the program, which provides recipients with a $3,000 grant that can be applied to equipment upgrades or fund employee-retention programs. The 162 grants were provided by SoCalGas and will also include support services from Wells Fargo for the year, as well as a complimentary membership in the California Restaurant Association. Qualifying grant recipients must have no more than three independent locations and revenues of less than $3 million.
Arizona Corporation Commission Chair Lea Márquez Peterson on June 6 opened a new docket to track Arizona utilities' progress on their own clean-energy goals. Márquez Peterson in a news release said she supports 100-percent clean energy as an overarching goal for the state. Arizona's largest utilities, Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power and Salt River Project, have each committed voluntarily to achieving clean-energy objectives. Without state energy rules mandating emissions reduction, there has been no central location to track the utilities' progress. Márquez Peterson in 2021 voted against energy rules that require the state's investor-owned utilities to reduce carbon emissions 50 percent by 2032 and 100 percent by 2071 after having flipped her vote in favor of more popular rules approved by the previous commission in 2020, but denied formal adoption under her watch (see CEM No. 1640).