Daily digest

As profits slip, Exelon warns of nuclear plant shutdowns

NUCLEAR: Exelon says falling profits may force it to shut down nuclear plants. (Chicago Tribune)

COAL ASH: Tests show high levels of arsenic and other toxins in the North Carolina river where thousands of tons of coal ash spilled on Sunday. (Los Angeles Times)

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COAL: The PJM Interconnection gives FirstEnergy permission to close two Ohio coal plants ahead of schedule. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

GRID: With reliability a growing concern, some Midwest universities are looking to microgrids; and customers participating in an Illinois dynamic pricing program are seeing significant savings on their energy bills. (Midwest Energy News, EnergyWire)

SMART METERS: Illinois regulators approve a fee of $21.53 per month for ComEd customers who refuse to have smart meters installed. (Chicago Tribune)

OIL BY RAIL: Tesoro says it is phasing out older rail cars to haul crude oil, oil trains are disrupting Amtrak service as well as a Twin Cities commuter line, and Minnesota’s governor will push for legislative hearings on rail safety. (Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WIND: A judge orders Consumers Energy to file a noise mitigation plan in its dispute over a wind farm in a Michigan county. (Michigan Capitol Confidential)

NATURAL GAS: Xcel Energy says customers’ conservation efforts helped stabilize natural gas supplies after a major pipeline rupture last month, and Missouri regulators say a utility failed to take adequate safety steps prior to a natural gas explosion at a Kansas City restaurant last year. (Forum News Service, Associated Press)

FRAC SAND: Twenty frac sand protesters are found guilty of trespassing in Minnesota, and an Illinois town’s decision means a proposed sand mine expansion will move forward. (Winona Daily News, Ottawa Times)

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FRACKING: Ohio teachers attend industry-funded workshops to learn about oil and gas drilling. (Columbus Dispatch)

COMMENTARY: Wisconsin risks falling further behind on solar. (Madison Capital-Times)

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