Daily digest

Buffet’s move to buy Nevada utility could expand renewables

GRID: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, a driving force behind the Obama administration’s efforts to green the electric grid, is resigning. (Greenwire)

FRACKING: As Illinois lawmakers debate a bill establishing new regulations for fracking, public records show that drilling is already underway in the state; and the future of a tax structure that’s helped enable the fracking boom is uncertain. (Associated Press, EnergyWire)

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UTILITIES: Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy plans to buy a Nevada utility for $5.6 billion; the utility, NV Energy, says joining with MidAmerican will help expand its renewable energy portfolio. (Des Moines Register, CBS Las Vegas)

ALSO: Like two Ohio utilities, Exelon’s stock also drops following a PJM capacity auction that resulted in lower wholesale prices. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

WIND: Xcel Energy says it is “unable to wait any longer” on the contested Goodhue Wind project in Minnesota, and wants to rescind its power purchase agreement; Nebraska lawmakers give final approval to new wind industry tax breaks, which the state’s governor has pledged to veto; and the S.S. Badger ships wind turbine components to Michigan. (Finance & Commerce, Omaha World-Herald, Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter)

WISCONSIN: A bill in the Wisconsin legislature would ease restrictions on communications between utilities and state regulators, and the state budget will shift $8 million from weatherization programs to low-income energy assistance. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR: A Detroit company announces a new e-commerce platform designed to simplify solar installations and lower costs, and a Minneapolis mayoral candidate pledges to install solar panels on city buildings. (CBS Detroit, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

COAL: Xcel Energy won’t be allowed to intervene in a case over pollution levels at national parks. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

OIL: Republican North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven backs a proposal by Minnesota’s two Democratic senators to require refineries to disclose their maintenance schedules to the Department of Energy, in order to protect consumers from gasoline price spikes. (Fargo Forum)

BIOFUELS: An oil industry group says federal biofuel mandates are doing little to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (Houston Chronicle)

NUCLEAR: Exelon seeks license renewals for two Illinois nuclear plants. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

TRANSPORTATION: A study finds high-speed rail could fuel a development boom in smaller cities. (Medill Reports)

TECHNOLOGY: Scientists have found a way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere at relatively low cost — around $100 per ton. (ClimateWire)

COMMENTARY: Reports that fracking is already underway in Illinois are a wake-up call that drilling regulations need to be put in place. (NRDC Switchboard)

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