COAL: Former coal executive Don Blankenship is sentenced to a year in prison – the maximum allowed – and a $250,000 fine for knowingly violating safety standards. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• Independent consultants will investigate Utah lawmakers’ proposed $53 million investment in a California export terminal. (Salt Lake Tribune)
• At a Wyoming panel discussion, a coal executive says a low-carbon future is inevitable: “whether you like it … that’s where we’re headed.” (Wyoming Public Media)

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SOLAR:
• The Massachusetts House passes a bill that would raise the state’s net metering cap but cut rates for reimbursement. (MassLive)
• Proposed net metering changes in Vermont would offer higher rates for solar sited on rooftops, parking lots and other preferred locations. (Brattleboro Reformer)
• A new industry report shows an average 5 percent drop in installation costs around the country in 2015. (PV Magazine)
A Massachusetts town rejects solar carports at a library parking lot, saying the project would make it “feel closed-in.” (Boston Globe)

CARBON CAPTURE: A diverse group of backers push Congress to extend a tax credit for carbon capture projects. (WFPL)

POLICY:
• Maryland’s Senate passes a bill to raise the state’s renewable energy standard to 25 percent by 2020. (Baltimore Sun)
• A U.S. Senate committee reaches an agreement to extend key renewable energy tax breaks as part of an FAA reauthorization bill. (The Hill)

PIPELINES:
• A judge says California regulators should reject a proposed $621 million natural gas pipeline, saying there are cheaper alternatives. (Associated Press)
• Opponents of a pipeline in New York raise concerns about the project’s impact on state-protected farmland. (Albany Times-Union)
• Pipeline opponents disrupt a New Jersey public hearing. (Bergen County Record)

NATURAL GAS: The California utility that operates the Aliso Canyon storage field wants to resume injecting natural gas this summer. (Los Angeles Times)

POLITICS: A billionaire investor pledges $500,000 to a Republican clean energy organization. (Bloomberg)

BIOENERGY: In what has so far been a nascent industry in the U.S., a major biogas producer that turns livestock manure into energy is expected to expand operations this summer with a new Missouri plant. (Midwest Energy News)

COMMENTARY:
• The benefits of letting utilities own and operate rooftop solar. (Greentech Media)
• Is the grid ready for more distributed energy? (Greentech Media)
• How federal coal leasing reforms can cut carbon emissions. (Vox)

Ken Paulman

Ken Paulman

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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