Is NorthWestern Energy finished buying additional coal-fired resources?
The Trump administration's $4.8-trillion fiscal year 2021 budget request revived for the fourth year in a row a proposal to sell the transmission assets of three power-marketing administrations, an idea denounced by public-power groups and likely again to receive a cold shoulder in Congress. Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom welcomed news that the Justice Department had dropped an antitrust probe of automakers that made a tailpipe emissions agreement with the state. Trump picks Danly for FERC, and Menezes and Benevento to be No. 2 executives at DOE and EPA.
BPA's Power Services unit has an 81 percent chance of triggering a Financial Reserves Policy surcharge in fiscal year 2021, according to first quarter results presented Feb. 4 during the Quarterly Business Review presentation.
A pair of companion bills intended to remedy the legal issues with Washington's Gov. Jay Inslee's Clean Air Rule for regulating greenhouse gas emissions have cleared their respective energy committees.
The federal pipeline safety agency on Feb. 6 proposed requiring installation of remote-controlled or automatic shut-off valves on new and replacement gas and hazardous-liquids pipelines over 6 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Land Management finalized management plans for federal lands removed from two national monuments in Utah, opening about three-fourths of the acreage to fossil-energy and mineral leases.
Washington Democrats are taking full advantage of their majorities in both state chambers to advance their climate agenda in the Legislature's short, 60-day session, including a quick turnaround on bills meant to save Gov. Jay Inslee's Clean Air Rule for regulating greenhouse gas emissions.
Utility executives and forestry officials on Jan. 28 called for energy decarbonization, grid technological improvements and more aggressive forest management to reduce the growing risks that more frequent, severe wildfires pose to the electric power grid.
The prime sponsor of last year's landmark Clean Energy Transformation Act, Washington Sen. Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle), has joined with two members of the Republican caucus to tinker with CETA's grid reliability provisions, citing concerns that resource inadequacy might come sooner than expected.
The Trump administration on Jan. 23 finalized a regulation replacing the 2015 "Waters of the U.S." rule, which the administration repealed last year. Meanwhile, Bernard McNamee said he won't seek reappointment to FERC when his term expires June 30, but might stay on to preserve FERC's quorum. California sues BLM over hydraulic fracturing.
PacifiCorp filed a general rate case in Washington last month that would lower rates for its 137,000 customers in the state, and facilitate compliance with Washington's Clean Energy Transformation Act.
Democrats in Washington's Legislature got off to a running start with passage of a "zero-emissions" vehicle standard in the Senate nearly along party lines, just two days after the 60-day "short" legislative session started Jan. 15.
Snohomish County PUD is launching a time-of-day rate pilot it hopes will demonstrate savings for participating commercial and industrial customers and the PUD.
The Department of Energy finalized a "process" regulation on Jan. 15 it said would streamline rulemakings for energy-efficiency standards, but the rule is likely to face litigation from opponents. Meanwhile, the Trump administration's proposed rule revising tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions limits was sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review, bringing it a step closer to finalization. Trade groups drop suit challenging California lighting standards.
The Trump administration's Jan. 9 proposal to speed up and revamp environmental studies under the National Environmental Policy Act is likely to be challenged in court if it's finalized.
A NorthWestern Energy shareholder has taken the investor-owned utility to court, to get limiting its future carbon emissions put to a vote at the annual shareholder meeting in April.
The haze emission-reduction system at TransAlta's coal-fired Centralia power plant—central to a 2011 agreement with the State of Washington to shut the plant down by 2025—has been unable to meet mandated performance standards until recently.
Some of the cleanest electricity in the country flows through BPA's balancing authority, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A 2.2-percent reduction in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions for the year just ended was forecast Dec. 30 by the Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, NERC projected reserve margins would be adequate for meeting peak demand throughout the 2020s in most of the U.S. and Canada, including the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Efficiency advocates pan DOE decision rejecting tighter efficiency standards for general-service incandescent lighting.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Dec. 19 presented his carbon policy agenda for the 2020 state legislative session, the day after he unveiled them in his proposed 2020 supplemental budget.
Washington's first hybrid electric ferries are expected to ply Puget Sound's waters as early as 2022, as work continues on an initiative stemming from an executive order Gov. Jay Inslee signed in 2018.
Pacific Gas & Electric will need to use public-safety power shut-offs for about five more years before improvements in system technology and vegetation management allow the utility to largely stop the practice as a safety measure in connection with wildfires, PG&E Corp. CEO Bill Johnson told a Senate hearing Dec. 19. Meanwhile, DOE rejected tightening efficiency standards for Type A incandescent lamps. Congress passes 2020 budget legislation extending energy tax preferences, boosting energy research funding.
Transportation, limiting carbon emissions and forest health will be major climate topics in Washington's 2020 state legislative session, according to Climate Solutions and The Nature Conservancy.
Electrification of transportation took to the skies Dec. 10, when a Harbour Air floatplane took off from the Fraser River for a three-minute test flight over Richmond, B.C., on Vancouver Harbour.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Dec. 12 sent five energy bills to the Senate floor on voice votes, including legislation authorizing competitive grants for efficiency upgrades and renewable-energy projects at K-12 schools. Meanwhile, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory report projected dramatic cost reductions for Oregon offshore wind by 2032. Brouillette sworn in as DOE secretary.
Three small Northwest utilities were among more than a dozen hit by recent cyberattacks targeting small electric utilities. While none of the attacks apparently succeeded, they highlight two of the weakest links in the industry's cybersecurity defenses: small, resource-strapped electric util…
The Bellevue City Council on Nov. 14 unanimously rejected an appeal from opponents of Puget Sound Energy's proposed Energize Eastside transmission project.
A federal trade court on Dec. 5 issued a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration's withdrawal of a tariff exemption for imported bifacial solar-photovoltaic panels. Meanwhile, a solar industry group issued a report estimating tariffs have resulted in 10.5 GW of "lost solar development." House panel moves pumped-storage bill with amended language affecting permitting of the proposed Banks Lake project.
A group of electric utilities on Nov. 25 filed suit challenging the Trump administration's rule blocking California from setting its own tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions standards and zero-emission vehicle sales mandates. Meanwhile, Western utility groups urged the U.S. Forest Service to adopt regulations to streamline vegetation management in rights of way crossing federal lands. U.N. issues "bleak" GHG emissions report and Moniz calls for broad climate solutions.
BPA ended fiscal year 2019 barely missing its financial targets for total revenues and expenses, and affirmed that a 1.5 percent, $30 million Financial Reserves Policy surcharge would be applied to power rates during FY 2020.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Nov. 19 reported out the nominations of Dan Brouillette to head the Department of Energy and James Danly to fill a FERC vacancy. Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reported out bills authorizing DOE to develop interim nuclear waste storage facilities and reinstating regulations limiting methane emissions from gas pipelines. House Ways and Means Committee floats bill extending renewables, efficiency tax preferences.
Electrifying buildings in California could create more than 100,000 construction jobs and 4,900 manufacturing jobs annually for 25 years, as well as offset job losses within the natural gas industry, a new report said.
Energy Secretary nominee Dan Brouillette has promised to keep BPA privatization proposals "off the table," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said at Brouillette's Nov. 14 confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
NW Natural Holdings on Nov. 5 reported a $3.1 million gain in year-to-date results through the third quarter compared to 2018, adjusted for a regulatory disallowance in the first quarter.
The region's leading energy savings organization, the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, announced the winners of its annual awards Oct. 31.
President Donald Trump on Nov. 7 nominated Dan Brouillette, the Department of Energy's No. 2 executive, to succeed outgoing DOE Secretary Rick Perry. Meanwhile, states and environmental organizations sued DOE to challenge its rule dropping exemptions of specialty incandescent lamps from efficiency standards. Senate Democrats raise concerns about politicization of FERC at confirmation hearing for nominee James Danly.
California utilities were restoring power to hundreds of thousands of customer accounts Oct. 31, after another week of high winds, power outages and wildfires sent residents scrambling and led to a step-up in response efforts from state officials.
Portland General Electric reported on Nov. 1 a net income of $55 million, or 61 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2019, eclipsing the $53 million in net income, or 59 cents per diluted share, recorded during Q3 2018.
NorthWestern Energy reported net income of $21.7 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2019. That compares to $28.2 million, or 56 cents per diluted share, during the same period in 2018. The company credited the $6.5 million drop to higher operating costs, mild we…
A split between automakers on regulating tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions broke into the open Oct. 31 when a coalition of manufacturers including Toyota, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler formally moved to intervene on the Trump administration's side in litigation against the administration's revocation of California's authority to set its own GHG standards and sales requirements for electric cars and other zero-emission vehicles. Meanwhile, Rep. Greg Walden, ranking Republican on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he won't seek re-election in 2020. House passes bills to bar uranium mining claims near Grand Canyon, prohibit oil and gas leases around Chaco Culture National Historical Park.
Hard work is ahead for electric utilities as the Northwest takes up the task of driving carbon and greenhouse gas emissions out of its economy.
BPA issued a record of decision Oct. 22 to internally transfer $182.3 million from its Transmission unit's cash balance to its Power unit's cash balance, to correct cash allocation errors it has documented for fiscal years 2003 through 2018.
A federal appeals court on Oct. 25 rejected California’s challenge of the Environmental Protection Agency’s first step toward revising tailpipe greenhouse gas emissions standards. Meanwhile, the Justice Department on Oct. 23 sued California and top state officials, alleging that the state's agreement with Quebec on greenhouse gas emissions trading violates the U.S. Constitution. Schumer (D-N.Y.) proposed a 10-year, $454 billion plan to pay Americans to buy electric vehicles and increase charging infrastructure.
Washington enacted a monumental clean energy bill this year, but it is not time to celebrate, state Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-Seattle) said at a recent energy conference in Seattle.
President Donald Trump on Oct. 18 indicated via Twitter that he would nominate Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to succeed Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who on Oct. 17 said he will resign at an unspecified date later this year, bringing to an end a tenure shadowed in the last few weeks by his part in the Trump administration’s interactions with Ukraine officials. PHMSA falling behind on gas storage inspections, GAO reports.
Completely squeezing carbon emissions out of the electric grid requires changing utility culture, not just deploying new technology, said the heads of Tacoma, Seattle and Snohomish County utilities during an Oct. 8 panel at the GridForward 2019 conference in Seattle.
The Northwest fell just short in 2018 of the annual energy conservation goal in the Seventh Power Plan, a trend expected to continue through the plan's end in 2021, according to analysis by Northwest Power and Conservation Council staff.
In an effort to stabilize future revenue, Seattle City Light plans to roll out rate-design pilot programs in the coming months, using authority that sunsets in 2028 granted by legislation Seattle City Council passed Sept. 30.
A federal appeals court on Oct. 10 upheld a 2018 lower-court ruling ordering the Energy Department to publish four final energy-efficiency standards in the Federal Register. Meanwhile, three House committees subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick Perry in connection with an impeachment inquiry, ordering him to turn over documents involving his interactions with Ukrainian officials.
James Danly, FERC's general counsel for the last two years, is President Donald Trump's choice to fill a FERC vacancy, the White House said Sept. 30.
BPA moved a step closer to joining the Western EIM on Sept. 26, by signing an implementation agreement with the California ISO that will allow the agency to further consider participating in the market.