Trump’s infrastructure plan includes boost to wind project

WIND: President Trump’s infrastructure spending plan includes a boost to the Plains and Eastern transmission project to move wind power from Oklahoma to load centers in Tennessee. (Utility Dive/McClatchy)

POLICY:
• The leader of President Trump’s EPA transition team calls for slashing staffing by two-thirds to about 5,000. (Greenwire)
• As the communications blackout order from the Trump administration spreads, employees at the Department of Energy say they’ve been instructed not to communicate about their work via social media. (ThinkProgress)
• Reports on climate change disappear from the State Department web site. (Washington Post)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join fellow advocates, renewable energy business leaders, utility staff and regulators at the sixth annual Clean Power Summit Feb 23-24 in Charleston, S.C. As a supporting sponsor, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy extends a 10% discount off registration. Use code: CECPS ***

NUCLEAR:
• The new private owner of the licensed but incomplete Bellefonte nuclear plant in Alabama claims it could have advanced reactors operating by 2028 with government incentives and a $13 billion investment.

Trump seeks to expedite approval of Atlantic Coast Pipeline

PIPELINES:
• President Trump signs an order to expedite approval of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and 49 other “infrastructure” projects. (Progressive Pulse)
• With a new poll, the developer of the Mountain Valley Pipeline claims it has broad support beyond the governors of Virginia and West Virginia. (press release)

NUCLEAR:
• Unlike much of the rest of the country, utilities in the Southeast are adding new reactors or extending their useful lives with support from lawmakers and regulators. (Southeast Energy News)
• The House approves a bill to bolster research on advanced reactors. (World Nuclear News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join fellow advocates, renewable energy business leaders, utility staff and regulators at the sixth annual Clean Power Summit Feb 23-24 in Charleston, S.C. As a supporting sponsor, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy extends a 10% discount off registration. Use code: CECPS ***

CLIMATE:
• The Trump administration backs off from deleting climate data from the EPA’s web site but appointees move to oversee its scientific communications.

Shareholders sue over disclosures about ‘clean coal’ plant

COAL: Shareholders file a class-action suit against Southern Co. alleging failure to disclose adverse information about the Kemper “clean coal” power plant. (SunHerald)

ALSO:
• Conservationists in Kentucky are fighting back against attempts to gut the federal stream protection rule. (Public News Service)
• The director of West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development is the latest to debunk hopes of coal’s recovery despite what President Trump may do. (Fox40.com)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join fellow advocates, renewable energy business leaders, utility staff and regulators at the sixth annual Clean Power Summit Feb 23-24 in Charleston, S.C. As a supporting sponsor, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy extends a 10% discount off registration. Use code: CECPS ***

POLICY:
• The Trump administration suspends the awarding of any new grants or contracts by the EPA and imposes a blackout on external communications.

Louisiana governor urges lawsuits over oil industry damage

LOUISIANA:
• Louisiana’s governor encourages local governments to sue oil and gas companies for damage to coastal lands. (WWNO Public Radio)
• Environmental groups gird for the next round hearings over a contested pipeline set to cut across several southern parishes. (Associated Press)

POLICY:
• A transition document outlines how President Trump may pursue more than $800 million in budget cuts at the EPA, including state assistance programs. (The Hill)
• North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is slated as the keynote speaker at the University of North Carolina’s fourth clean tech summit March 2-3 in Chapel Hill. (Coastal Review Online)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join fellow advocates, renewable energy business leaders, utility staff and regulators at the sixth annual Clean Power Summit Feb 23-24 in Charleston, S.C. As a supporting sponsor, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy extends a 10% discount off registration. Use code: CECPS ***

COAL ASH:
• Ash containing rare earth elements needed for cell phones and computer hard drives potentially can meet the market demand for these and other industries that depend on it. (Waste360.com)
• A hearing this Thursday night in Northern Virginia is the latest in an effort to explain Dominion Virginia Power’s plans to store coal ash along the Potomac River.

Lab manager sentenced for faking water samples from coal mines

COAL: A lab manager in West Virginia is sentenced to two years in prison for doctoring water samples to benefit the industry. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)

ALSO:
• Decisions by an Ohio utility illustrate why coal mined in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky is losing market share for power generation. (The Exponent Telegram)
• The Appalachian Regional Commission says it’s awarding nearly $26 million to train workers in five states impacted by coal’s downturn. (The State Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join fellow advocates, renewable energy business leaders, utility staff and regulators at the sixth annual Clean Power Summit Feb 23-24 in Charleston, S.C. As a supporting sponsor, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy extends a 10% discount off registration. Use code: CECPS ***

WIND: In two of his final acts as President, Barack Obama charted a course for cleaner energy off the Southeast Atlantic Coast. (Southeast Energy News)

ADVOCACY:
• Why a Conservative clean energy group in North Carolina is expanding into Virginia.

Pentagon dismisses North Carolina lawmakers’ concerns about wind farm

WIND: The Pentagon says a large wind farm in northeast North Carolina serving Amazon Web Services does not threaten its radar and other operations in nearby Chesapeake, Virginia.  (Associated Press)

POLICY: President-elect Trump plans to eliminate two offices in the Dept. of Energy, one focusing on energy efficiency and renewables, the other on fossil fuels. (The Hill)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join fellow advocates, renewable energy business leaders, utility staff and regulators at the sixth annual Clean Power Summit Feb 23-24 in Charleston, S.C. As a supporting sponsor, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy extends a 10% discount off registration. Use code: CECPS ***

UTILITIES:
• For the first time, the TVA board elects an African-American woman as its chairperson. (WKMS)
• Two former Virginia Attorneys General team up to help fight a 2015 Virginia law allowing utilities to forego rate reviews for five years. (WTVR)
• Duke Energy agrees to pay $600,000 to settle a lawsuit with the federal government over its acquisition of a natural power plant in Florida.

Nine companies compete for wind leases off North Carolina’s coast

WIND:
• The subsidiaries of at least two global oil companies are among the nine deemed qualified to participate in the March 16 sale of leases for wind energy systems off North Carolina’s coast. (Maritime Executive)
• A North Carolina state lawmaker blasts an effort by fellow Republicans asking the incoming Trump administration to pull the plug on a wind farm over alleged potential interference with U.S. Navy operations. (Triangle Business Journal)

PIPELINES:
• Advocates say federal regulators are downplaying the increase in methane emissions and other impacts of proposed interstate pipelines. (Southeast Energy News)
• The battle over the Bayou Bridge Pipeline stands to become the “Standing Rock” of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin. (Truthout.org)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join fellow advocates, renewable energy business leaders, utility staff and regulators at the sixth annual Clean Power Summit Feb 23-24 in Charleston, S.C. As a supporting sponsor, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy extends a 10% discount off registration. Use code: CECPS ***

UTILITIES:
• Georgia Power’s new online store is its latest initiative to generate new revenue and become a trusted adviser to ratepayers.