Daily digest

Energy Department announces plan to cut solar red tape

SOLAR: The Energy Department announces a $15 million plan to help communities cut red tape for solar projects. (SNL)

ALSO: An internal report criticizes an Energy Department solar loan, a Lakota solar entrepreneur is honored by the White House, and a company that specializes in behind-the-meter energy storage wants to cooperate with utilities. (New York Times, Associated Press, Greentech Media)

***SPONSORED LINK: Take advantage of a wide-range of B2B and B2C training opportunities and set the pace for the Midwest solar future at the Midwest Solar Expo on May 16th at the Hilton Minneapolis. Register for this marquee event today!***

OHIO: The Evangelical Lutheran Church enters Ohio’s energy debate, opposing a bill to freeze the state’s renewable and efficiency laws. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

FRACKING: The natural gas industry tries to tame methane emissions, finding water for fracking becomes a “critical issue” in Ohio, and a poll finds most Ohioans support expanded oil and gas drilling. (National Journal, Columbus Business First, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

OIL: Operators of a Minnesota pipeline propose to expand its capacity, BNSF Railway says Canadian rules encourage the use of older tank cars to haul crude oil, and American Indian activists fight an Enbridge pipeline plan in Minnesota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Fargo Forum)

EPA: The EPA says it will miss a deadline for power plant cooling water rules. (The Hill)

NUCLEAR: The new head of the Nuclear Energy Agency expects the first application for a small modular reactor in the U.S. to happen this year. (Associated Press)

COAL:
Coal makes a comeback in the U.S., but it’s unlikely to last. (McClatchy)
• A Wisconsin utility will begin receiving subsidies to continue operating an Upper Peninsula coal plant. (Marquette Mining Journal)
• FERC is concerned about coal shipment disruptions in the Midwest. (Platts)
• Another Illinois regulatory official is fired over concerns about campaign donations from coal companies. (Decatur Herald-Review)
• Does FutureGen have a future? (Illinois Times)
• Duke Energy says cleanup of a North Carolina coal ash spill won’t affect its bottom line. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: Researchers develop a new material that can convert waste heat into electricity, and two Des Moines schools are on an EPA top ten list for energy savings. (Christian Science Monitor, KCCI)

PROPANE: Wisconsin declares another propane emergency as cold weather lingers. (LaCrosse Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register today ($15/individual) for the 15th Anniversary Conference of Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light “Climate Stewardship: Sustainability, Eco-Justice and Well-Being” on May 18 in Milwaukee. Keynote, workshops, exhibits and more. Be a sponsor, $100-$1,000.***

TRANSPORTATION: Sales are slow for Ford’s new natural gas-powered F150, with only about 200 sold so far. (Houston Chronicle)

COMMENTARY: “I thought of the idea that wind and sun could be major players as hippie-dippy wishful thinking. But I was wrong.” (New York Times)

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