Energy news in brief

** The Trump administration announces it will auction drilling leases for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in January, bypassing public comments and sparking warnings of costly legal action reported InsideClimate News.

** A conservationist says the Interior Department’s failure to include New Mexico projects for funding could be related to criticism of William Perry Pendley’s appointment to lead the Bureau of Land Management by the state’s congressional delegation according to the New Mexico Political Report. 

** Environmentalists seeking to drive down emissions produced by energy giant Royal Dutch Shell told a Dutch court on Thursday the Netherlands was the right place to hear their case.

** Ratepayers of New Mexico’s largest electricity provider could collectively receive a $25 million credit on their electric bills over three years if regulators approve its $4.3 billion merger with another company reported the Albuquerque Journal.

** Volvo Trucks North America will begin making a battery-powered electric truck at its western Virginia plant in 2021 according to the Virginia Business.

** A coal company with mines in Wyoming and Montana, as well as a stake in a controversial Washington state export terminal, files for bankruptcy.

** Solar Power World reports that Illinois regulators vote to reopen full retail net metering for Ameren customers after rejecting the utility’s proposed number of solar net metering customers in its territory.

** Xcel Energy stops burning coal at a 20 MW northern Wisconsin power plant that will now rely on biomass and natural gas as fuel sources.

** Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stuck to his position that natural gas would play a role in fighting climate change despite pressure from environmentalists to leave him out of the Biden administration because of his ties to the fossil fuel industry.

** A New Hampshire state office that received $4.6 million of Volkswagen settlement funds in 2018 to build electric vehicle charging stations says it has not made any installations.

**  New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio comes out against a natural gas pipeline through several Brooklyn neighborhoods that began construction in 2018 reported the New York Daily News.

** Dominion Energy cancels plans for a 500 MW natural gas peaking plant at an industrial park in southern Virginia.

** Nestle, the world’s biggest food company, said that it will spend 3.2 billion Swiss francs ($3.6 billion) over five years to improve its climate footprint.

** The annual U.S. defense policy bill unveiled by lawmakers late on Thursday contains sanctions that backers say will halt one of Russia’s biggest projects in Europe: the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

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