U.S. Energy News

After Atlanta outage, airports look to microgrids for reliability

WIND:
• A repowering project at Illinois’ oldest utility-scale wind farm will increase capacity 50 percent with fewer than half the turbines. (Greentech Media)
• College of William & Mary scientists design an “acoustic lighthouse” that warns birds with high-pitched sounds as they approach wind turbines. (Popular Science)
Oklahoma lawmakers have proposed new caps on tax credits for wind energy, which an industry lobbyist says could bankrupt existing wind farms. (Houston Chronicle)

MICROGRIDS:
Chattanooga, Tennessee, plans to install a solar-battery microgrid at its municipal airport. (Southeast Energy News)
• Pittsburgh airport authorities explore the idea of a natural gas microgrid to attract industry and prevent power outages. (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
• A Pennsylvania bill that would let utilities recover costs for microgrid pilot projects has made it out of committee. (Microgrid Knowledge)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Mainstream automakers pose a potentially serious challenge for Telsa as they catch up on electric vehicle technology. (NBC News)
• Tesla applies for permits to build a drive-in restaurant in Santa Monica with electric-car charging stations. (Los Angeles Times)
• Volkswagen invests $25 billion in battery supplies and technology as it looks to increase electric vehicle production. (Greentech Media)

SOLAR:
• A Kentucky House committee approves an amended bill that would let state regulators decide how much money residential solar panel owners would be paid for the extra energy they generate. (Associated Press)
• Campbell Soup Co. has completed installation of a 4.4 megawatt solar system at its Camden, New Jersey headquarters. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
• New York’s largest solar community project is online and expected to reduce energy costs for roughly 350 homes and small businesses. (Solar Industry)

NUCLEAR:
• Florida Power & Light won’t build new nuclear units at one of its plants, saying the project is too expensive compared to natural gas. (Miami Today)
• South Carolina lawmakers vote to freeze future spending by a state board that approved rate hikes for a failed $9 billion nuclear project, though the move is largely symbolic. (The State)

PIPELINES:
• The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says the Dakota Access pipeline’s spill response plan is still inadequate nine months after the project opened. (InsideClimate News)
• Grid operator PJM asks federal regulators to require gas pipeline owners to share information about projects in real time to ensure grid resiliency. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

OIL & GAS:
• An amendment in the Oklahoma Senate would double the state’s production tax rate on new oil and gas wells. (The Oklahoman)
• A county elections board rejects a ballot initiative to ban fracking in Youngstown, Ohio. (Youngstown Vindicator)
• Canadian researchers discover that birds change their tunes near noisy oil fields to be heard above the din. (New York Times)

OFFSHORE DRILLING: U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says he is prepared to scale back the controversial plan to expand offshore drilling, acknowledging the practice is environmentally risky. (Washington Examiner)

UTILITIES: The Tennessee Valley Authority is accepting public comment on its controversial proposed fixed grid access fee. (Knoxville News Sentinel)

BIOFUELS: An industry association is “very troubled” by the precedent set by the EPA’s settlement with a bankrupt Philadelphia refiner. (Reuters)

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HYDROPOWER: An Atlanta company’s modular small hydro systems extract energy from low-flow water sources such as canals. (GreenBiz)

COMMENTARY:
• A group of coal mine reclamation contractors write an open letter to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell asking him to help pass the RECLAIM Act by attaching it to the bill to fund the federal government. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• New pipeline projects claim to meet domestic demand for natural gas, but seem unnecessary and may be being built to increase exports, says a columnist. (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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