NATURAL GAS: Natural gas surpasses coal as the top electricity source in the U.S. for the second time. (Houston Chronicle)

CLEAN ENERGY: How falling prices for wind and solar are impacting capacity factors for fossil fuel generation. (Bloomberg)

• “Breaking safety laws wasn’t just permitted, it was expected,” a federal prosecutor says in his opening statement in the criminal trial of coal baron Don Blankenship. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• Former miners in southern Illinois rally against company bankruptcies that would threaten their retiree benefits. (Southern Illinoisan)
• A law firm with ties to the coal industry has been investigating Oakland, California city council members who oppose an export terminal. (East Bay Express)

CARBON CAPTURE: A Wyoming coal plant is selected as a testing ground for carbon capture technology. (Associated Press)

• A climate scientist faces backlash from Congress for investigating fossil fuel companies’ ties to climate misinformation efforts. (InsideClimate News)
• Concerned about climate impacts, Exxon in 1980 sought to address CO2 emissions from an undersea natural gas play. (InsideClimate News)

GRID: Power suppliers in the PJM power grid ask for lower under-performance penalties. (RTO Insider)

• Clean-energy advocates are supportive of a Missouri agency’s plan to turn to more efficiency and hike the state’s renewable standard. (Midwest Energy News)
Officials putting together a comprehensive energy plan for Iowa want to focus attention on reducing demand. (Midwest Energy News)

• The National Renewable Energy Laboratory lays off 15 solar researchers, part of a broader trend of declining federal support for clean energy research. (Washington Post)
• Arizona regulators reject calls to recuse themselves from an upcoming solar decision. (Arizona Republic)

TRANSPORTATION: With coal-by-rail shipments declining, BNSF is building a freight “superhighway” between Los Angeles and Chicago for a range of other goods. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

WIND: A Nebraska county is in a dispute with townships over who can regulate wind farms. (David City Banner-Press)

EPA: One of the only groups praising the EPA’s new ozone rule represents investor-owned utilities across the country. (Greenwire)

• The White House threatens to veto a bill that would lift the ban on crude oil exports. (The Hill)
• While the industry’s carbon emissions increased last year, methane emissions from leakage fell for the third consecutive year, EPA data shows. (EnergyWire)
• A report pegs the cost of increased traffic crashes related to the oil and gas boom in Texas in the billions of dollars. (Texas Tribune)

• Operators of a Massachusetts nuclear plant never addressed a 1992 federal advisory calling for emergency plans in the event of a control room fire. (Cape Cod Times)
• California regulators approve long-term storage of nuclear waste at a closed power plant on the state’s Pacific shore. (Greenwire)

ELECTRIC CARS: An Idaho National Laboratory study concludes availability of charging stations will drive electric car sales. (Associated Press)

TECHNOLOGY: The founder of A123 Systems launches a new venture that looks beyond electric cars as a market for batteries. (Boston Globe)

EFFICIENCY: A new law will require New York City stores and restaurants to keep their doors closed if their air conditioning is on. (New York Times) 

COMMENTARY: As utility business models are reformed, who should oversee competitive retail markets? (Vox)

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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