Utility Dive: Trump Election Throws Wrench in California ISO Plan for Western Power Market

California's plan for a regionalized power market was already on hold due to concerns over governance, but despite a positive reception from other states, the election of Donald Trump has made officials wary of moving forward. Politico reports Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead has indicated any agreement on a regional power market would have to wait until President-elect Trump takes office and determines which way he will move on energy policy.

This summer, California Gov. Jerry Brown paused the California Independent System Operator's plans to expand the existing Western Energy Imbalance Market into a full ISO, citing governance concerns and the potential setbacks to California's emissions goals.

The concept of a regionalized power market was a complicated matter to begin with. California and other participants of the Western EIM have been mulling plans to integrate into a full organized market, but those efforts are on hold over uncertainty as to who would run the ISO.

Trump's election last month has muddied the waters further, with concerns that a regional market that seemed doable on one day could come under attack from federal authorities the next.

Reuters: Saudi Aramco, GE to Launch Saudi Arabia's First Wind Turbine Next Month

Saudi Aramco plans to commission its wind turbine pilot project, the first in the kingdom, next month, the state oil company said on Sunday, part of nationwide plans to diversify energy supplies and to meet an increase in demand.

The wind turbine, supplied by U.S. company General Electric (GE), will provide power to Saudi Aramco’s bulk plant in Turaif, in northwest Saudi Arabia.

"The first electricity is expected to be supplied to the Saudi Aramco bulk plant once commissioning of the wind turbine is completed in January 2017," Aramco said in a statement.

Pacific Business News: Hawaii Energy Co-Op Moves Closer to Possible Utility Takeover
The Hawaii Island Energy Cooperative has moved a big step closer to becoming an operating nonprofit utility serving the Big Island, one of its directors confirmed to Pacific Business News Monday. HIEC was recently granted tax exempt nonprofit status by the Internal Revenue Service, joining the 900-plus member-owned, community-based businesses serving 42 million energy customers across the U.S., including the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).

“This is particularly important, as both [Hawaii Electric Light Co.] and [Hawaiian Electric Co.] roll out new electric rate increases,” Marco Mangelsdorf, director and spokesperson for HIEC, said. “Cost control and efficiency are core to a cooperative, not shareholder profits.”

Mangelsdorf also noted that the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission’s recent rejection of NextEra Energy Inc.’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of Hawaiian Electric opens the door for other utility ownership options, including co-op models like HIEC and KIUC. HIEC has said that it could save Big Island ratepayers up to $234 million if HELCO is converted to a nonprofit cooperative.

Environmental Progress: An Open Letter on Nuclear Energy to President-Elect Donald Trump and Governor Rick Perry

We are writing as scientists, economists, conservationists and citizens to urge you to take strong action to save and grow America’s nuclear energy sector.

Nuclear power plants in the U.S. are struggling against cheap natural gas, heavily subsidized renewables and low electricity demand. At the same time, global demand for electricity is set to rise 70 percent in 25 years thanks to the rise of energy-hungry developing nations around the world.

CNBC (commentary): Trump's War on Washington Starts With These Battles

President-elect Donald Trump looks more and more like he's preparing an invasion force to change Washington as we know it. But wars need battles and, more specifically, battle plans. 

With every new cabinet appointment, tweet, interview, and speech on his victory tour, Trump is doubling down on putting together a team and pursuing policies that slay Washington's bipartisan sacred cows. That's right, I said "bipartisan." You might think American politics are hopelessly divided along partisan lines, but Trump keeps proving that to be untrue because of the bipartisan angry responses to so many of his transition period moves and comments.

Critics from both sides of the aisle have bashed aspects of Trump's very personal negotiations with Carrier to keep American jobs in the U.S. They responded with public concern and alarm to Trump's comments about breaking the "One China" policy and the longtime practice of presidents getting daily intelligence briefings.

As of now, at least four of Trump's official choices have signaled very clearly what kinds of smaller government policies they'll tackle first. We know Secretary of Health and Human Services-Designate Tom Price is going to pursue the repeal of Obamacare and work with Republicans in Congress to create a viable replacement policy that puts more responsibility in the hands of individual Americans to buy their own health coverage.

And Energy Secretary-Designate Rick Perry is on record as saying he thinks the Energy Department should be shut down. Downsizing the DOE is pretty much a certainty.

EPA Blog: Update on Clean Power Plan Model Rules

States, cities, businesses, tribes, and other organizations across the country are taking important steps to cut carbon pollution from power plants. In fact, power plant carbon emissions in 2015 were almost 25 percent below 2005 levels. Our extensive public engagement highlighted this continued progress and helped us ensure that the Clean Power Plan (CPP) was in line with the transition that is under way in the electricity sector. Our outreach also made it clear that states were looking to the agency to continue providing support and tools, including the Model Rules, that would help them in developing or expanding programs and strategies to cut carbon pollution.

EPA proposed the Model Rules in August 2015 when we issued the final CPP.  The proposed Model Rules highlighted straightforward pathways to adopting a trading system, making it easy for states and power plants to use emissions trading to reduce carbon pollution. Today, we are withdrawing the draft Model Rules and accompanying draft documents from interagency review and are making working drafts of them available to the public.