Energy news in brief

** The  New England group claiming status as a ratepayer advocacy group in its attempt to get federal regulators to override state net-metering regimes has finally revealed the identity of one of its members. But that revelation appears to strengthen claims by its opponents that it is representing energy industry interests rather than those of ratepayers.

** Far from depressing the market, the response to the COVID-19 outbreak looks set to accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles across Europe. The combined market share of EVs and plug-in hybrids jumped 6.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, faster than the 2.5 percent growth seen in the same quarter last year, according to sales figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA).

** Portland General Electric, the largest utility in Oregon, is jumping into the cutting-edge business of turning home batteries into grid resources. The company announced this week that it has received approval from regulators to link up 525 homes with solar-storage systems into a controllable fleet, often referred to as a virtual power plant.

** published a new article on the renewable energy industry “COVID-19 Has Resulted in the Construction of Fewer New Wind Farms, Solar Panels and Other Facilities to Produce Renewable Energy” The COVID-19 crisis has resulted in the construction of fewer new wind farms, solar panels and other facilities to produce renewable energy. This decline is due to a slowdown in construction activity, supply chain disruptions and lockdown measures.

** Sparks Holdings, Inc., an investment affiliate of Sparks Energy, Inc., is pleased to announce the acquisition of Echo Powerline, LLC , a leading powerline construction contractor. Headquartered in Bunkie, Louisiana, Echo currently maintains contracts with multiple Electric Utility Companies throughout Louisiana and Texas.

** MOGAS Industries, Inc. recently completed the acquisition of assets of Watson Valve, a Houston-based turn-key manufacturer of severe service valves, to include repairs and coating services. Watson has a global install base of over 3,400 valves, primarily in the mining industry, but also encompassing the oil & gas and chemical industries.

** U.S. wildlife officials have agreed to decide by the end of August whether climate change and other threats are pushing the rare wolverine closer to extinction in the mountains of the West. Government attorneys and conservation groups that had sued to force a decision filed court documents Thursday settling the lawsuit and agreeing to the deadline.