By - Jim Vess

Tri-State and United Power fighting in court and before state and federal regulators

Energize Weekly, May 13, 2020 A new front was opened last week in the battle between Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association and some of its electric cooperatives, as United Power, its largest member, filed a complaint in a Colorado district court charging subterfuge and breach of contract. Meanwhile on May 18, hearings will open at the Colorado Public Utilities Commission

By - Jim Vess

NRC to grant waivers for work-hour limits at nuclear units to meet pandemic staffing needs

Energize Weekly, April 8, 2020 Faced with the risk of not being able to meet the rigorous staffing requirement for operating nuclear power plants during the ongoing pandemic, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it is prepared to grant exemptions from work-hour controls. The NRC in a March 28 letter to the industry trade group, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI),

By - Jim Vess

Energy a big focus for Virginia legislature which passes sweeping clean energy bill

Energize Weekly, February 26, 2020 The Virginia legislature, on a pair of razor-thin votes, has passed a sweeping energy bill that will bolster renewable generation, energy storage and efforts to set a carbon dioxide cap and trade program. While the Clean Economy Act was the most far-reaching and visible piece of energy legislation at the state legislature this session it

By - Jim Vess

Global carbon emissions flat in 2019 as the U.S. leads the way in CO2 cuts

Energize Weekly, February 19, 2020 Global carbon emissions slowed in 2019 after two years of growth as increases in developing nations were offset by a sharp drop in power sector emissions in developed countries led by the U.S., according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide in 2019 were 33 gigatons, a 1.3 percent drop

By - Jim Vess

Evergy sets goal of 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions and an increase in wind power

Energize Weekly, February 12, 2020 Evergy Inc., which serves Kansas and Missouri, has set a goal of reducing its carbon emissions by 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050 and announced plans to add 660 megawatts (MW) of wind power. The company said that it will reach a 40 percent reduction in emissions from the 2005 benchmark by 2020 and

By - Jim Vess

Boulder seeking to create a municipal utility offers Xcel $94 million for its wires and poles

Energize Weekly, December 4, 2019 In an effort to avoid a court condemnation proceeding, Boulder, Colo., which wants to create its own municipal utility, upped its offer for the purchase of Xcel Energy’s infrastructure to $94 million. It is the third offer the city has made to Xcel, which currently serves Boulder, and it is a 15 percent increase over

By - Jim Vess

A third of U.S. population lives in jurisdictions with 100 percent clean energy laws or goals

Energize Weekly, November 20, 2019 While federal clean energy policy has stalled, local governments are pushing forward, and more than a third of the U.S. population lives in jurisdictions – states, districts, territories, counties and cities – with 100 percent clean electricity goals. “A growing number of cities are choosing to transition to 100 percent clean energy – and dozens have

By - Jim Vess

Two of Tri-State’s biggest co-ops file complaints with the Colorado PUC seeking to leave

Energize Weekly, November 13, 2019 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association continues to face pressure from some of its members as two of its largest electric cooperatives last week filed complaints with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) seeking reasonable exit fees from the association. Brighton, Colo.-based United Power, the largest of Tri-State members, and Durango-based La Plata Electric Association (LPEA),

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State adds new member, natural gas broker MIECO, in bid to qualify for FERC regulation

Energize Weekly, September 11, 2019 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has added energy services company MIECO Inc. as its first non-rural electric cooperative member, clearing the way for the association to be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In July, Tri-State, which serves 43 electric cooperatives in four states – Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and New Mexico – filed

By - Jim Vess

Colorado co-op sues to block Tri-State’s move to FERC regulation, state lawmakers also concerned

Energize Weekly, July 10, 2019 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association is going ahead with its deliberations on moving from state to federal regulatory oversight even as one of its rural Colorado electric cooperatives has gone to court to block the action. Tri-State’s decision to seek regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has also sparked concern from Colorado legislative

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State seeks FERC regulation to avoid Colorado and New Mexico oversight on rates

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 After Colorado and New Mexico passed clean energy laws giving them more oversight of the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the wholesale power provider is considering seeking federal regulation to blunt the state initiatives. Westminster, Colo.-based Tri-State provides 95 percent of the electricity to 43 rural electric cooperatives in four states – Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado

By - Jim Vess

Bill overhauling Colorado oil and gas regulations is speeding through the legislature

Energize Weekly, March 13, 2019 A bill aimed at dramatically overhauling regulation of oil and gas operations in Colorado is swiftly moving through the state legislature. The legislation is in response to growing concerns as large fracking operations get closer to suburban development and in the wake of a string of court rulings that knocked down local attempts to deal

By - Jim Vess

Some states move toward carbon-free generation, while others try to save coal plants

Energize Weekly, March 13, 2019 While some states are pushing legislation for 100 percent renewable or carbon-free electricity, Montana and Wyoming are fighting a rearguard action trying to save local coal-fired plants. On March 4, Democratic Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz proposed a bill to get the state to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2050. That same day in New Mexico,

By - Jim Vess

Colorado PUC ruling sets stage for rural electric cooperative to leave Tri-State G&T

Energize Weekly, February 20, 2019 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission waded into a dispute between a Western Slope rural electric cooperative and the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association over the co-op’s efforts to leave the association. The commission’s decision will provide a new level of oversight for Tri-State, which provides wholesale electricity to 43 rural cooperatives in Colorado, Nebraska, New

By - Jim Vess

Georgia-Pacific is the latest company seeking to leave NV Energy for the open power market

Energize Weekly, October 17, 2018 Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, which operates a gypsum wallboard and plastic manufacturing plant near Las Vegas, is seeking to leave Nevada’s largest utility, NV Energy and buy power on its own. More than a dozen other companies have left or are seeking to leave NV Energy. Georgia-Pacific (GP) filed its application with Public Utilities Commission of Nevada

By - Jim Vess

Utility industry urges EPA to keep mercury emissions rule in place and speed reviews

Energize Weekly, July 18, 2018 The electricity power industry—from cooperatives to municipality utilities to investor-owned utilities—is urging the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to keep in place the mercury pollution rules it had for years opposed. The industry had launched legal challenges of the 2012 rule to reduce mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants, but in 2015, the Supreme Court,

By - Jim Vess

NV Energy $2 billion solar program hinges on November “energy choice” ballot measure

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018 NV Energy announced a $2 billion plan to add more than 1 gigawatt of utility-scale solar and battery storage projects, but said the investment depends upon whether Nevada voters support an “energy choice” ballot measure in the fall. On June 1, NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, submitted a plan to the Nevada

By - Jim Vess

Foreign solar panel makers and American installers seek to be excluded from Trump solar tariff

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 More than 80 foreign solar cell and module manufactures and American companies using imported solar products are seeking exclusions from the Trump administration solar import tariff, according to filings with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The arguments made by the applicants, based on a review of the filings, generally fall within three categories:

By - Jim Vess

Trump administration tariff to cut US solar market by 13 percent, prices already on the rise

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Trump administration tariffs on solar cells and modules will cut installations by 13 percent between 2018 and 2022 compared to previous projections, according to GTM Research. A total of 10.6 gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity was installed in 2017. Installations in 2018 are expected to be the same. It won’t be until 2023 before

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy gets the OK from Colorado PUC to develop a clean power plan

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted on March 14 to give Xcel Energy the go-ahead to develop a plan to close two coal-fired power plants and replace them with renewable or low-cost alternatives. Xcel calls its proposal the Clean Energy Plan (CEP). It would more than double the utility’s amount of electricity from renewable

By - Jim Vess

Court ruling on methane comes from one of 60 climate lawsuits filed against Trump administration

Energize Weekly, February 28, 2018 Trump administration efforts to roll back methane controls on oil and gas operations were blocked by a federal court ruling last week in one of the 60 lawsuits filed against the administration on climate change issues. On Feb. 22, Judge William Orrick, in the U.S. Northern District of California, granted a preliminary injunction against the

By - Jim Vess

Trump solar tariffs draw challenges from around the globe

Energize Weekly, February 21, 2018 The Trump administration tariffs on imported solar cells and modules are drawing fire from around the world. In the latest challenge, three Canadian companies—Ontario-based Silfab Solar Inc., Heliene Inc. and Canadian Solar Solutions Inc., along with U.S.-based distributor Canadian Solar (USA) Inc.—filed a complaint with the U.S. Court of International Trade in New York on

By - Jim Vess

Trump solar tariff roils market, slows growth but is far from the ‘worst-case scenario’

Energize Weekly, January 31, 2018 The tariff placed on imported solar cells by the Trump administration last week is roiling markets and is projected to slow growth, but not blunt the development of the solar industry. On Jan. 22, President Donald Trump approved a four-year tariff, starting at 30 percent and stepping down 5 percent a year to 15 percent

By - Jim Vess

EPA makes final CPP preparations ahead of appeals court decision

Energize Weekly, May 4, 2016 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making its final moves to put aspects of its ambitious Clean Power Plan (CPP) into place before a federal court decides the rule’s fate later this year. The CPP, which aims to reduce carbon emissions from the U.S. power sector nationwide 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030,

By - Jim Vess

PNM touts benefits from efficiency programs

Energize Weekly, April 27, 2016 Customers of Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) have received $55 million in rebates and have saved more than 1.9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity thanks to participating in efficiency programs, the company announced last week. PNM recently submitted its 2015 Energy Efficiency Annual Report to state regulators, along with a plan to expand its

By - Jim Vess

Report: Americans used less energy in 2015

Energize Weekly, April 27, 2016 Despite a growing population, Americans consumed less energy in 2015 than they did in the previous year, according to a report by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Each year, LLNL releases energy flow charts to illustrate the country’s energy consumption, measuring total energy usage as well as fuel source.  This year, LLNL estimated that

By - Jim Vess

The dog that didn’t bark: EPA decides to take no rulemaking action on remand of emergency demand response allowances for emergency engines

Energize Weekly, April 27, 2016 On April 15, 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a RICE Vacatur Guidance memorandum, which addresses a case EPA lost at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) called Delaware DNREC v. EPA, 785 F.3d 1 (DC Cir. 2015) pertaining to the emergency demand response (EDR) provisions

By - Jim Vess

Lawmakers make surprise agreement on long-delayed energy bill

Energize Weekly, April 20, 2016 The U.S. Senate is making progress on a long-stalled energy bill after lawmakers agreed to drop fights over offshore drilling and aid for residents affected by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The bipartisan energy bill, the first such legislation since 2007, includes titles on efficiency, grid infrastructure, energy supply and conservation.  The bill was

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