U.S. Energy News

IEA: Clean energy needs to grow faster to meet climate targets

CLIMATE:
• The International Energy Agency says clean energy growth is off track to meet climate targets. (Washington Post)
• Minnesota’s largest utility says it will retire two units at a large coal plant as part of a broader plan to cut carbon emissions 60 percent by 2030. Environmental groups praised the decision(Midwest Energy News, Minnesota Public Radio)

POLLUTION:
• The U.S. EPA defends its new ozone pollution standard as environmental and public-health advocates say they will likely challenge the rule in court. (Greenwire)
• An Associated Press analysis pegs the death toll from VW’s emission control evasion at 5 to 20 per year in the U.S.

SOLAR:
• SolarCity claims it will offer the most efficient rooftop solar panel in the world. (ThinkProgress)
• A memo reveals that SunEdison will be laying off 10 percent of its workforce. (Greentech Media)
• The CEO of California-based SunPower says “we’re in the early innings of the complete disruption of the ways Americans get energy.” (EnergyWire)

COAL:
• The federal government’s three-count indictment against coal baron Don Blankenship is sprinkled with memos suggesting a culture that did not take safety seriously. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
• When he was CEO of Massey Energy, Don Blankenship was warned about serious safety problems months before the 2010 explosion at the company’s Upper Big Branch mine that killed 29 miners. (Charleston Gazette-Mail)
Why the Tennessee Valley Authority is about to retire a massive chunk of its coal-burning plants. (Slate)
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign a new law meant to ease the transition for communities where power plants close. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OHIO: Despite being required by law to consider the costs and benefits of the state’s clean-energy standards, an Ohio legislative committee’s report made no mention of the latter. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES: Exelon says it has reached an agreement with Washington D.C. officials over its proposed takeover of Pepco. (Bloomberg)

EFFICIENCY:  A New Mexico utility touts the economic benefits of energy efficiency for businesses. (Albuquerque Journal)

WIND: Inspectors find “numerous” safety issues at the site of the nation’s first offshore wind farm in Rhode Island. (Associated Press)

GRID:
• Why cheap natural gas is thwarting advances in energy storage. (Washington Post)
• A U.S. House committee approves a bill with bipartisan support to update the country’s grid infrastructure. (Utility Dive)

OIL AND GAS:
• Commercial tar sands mining begins in Utah. (Climate Central)
• The U.S. is expected to announce resolution of all federal and state claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. (Reuters)

FRACKING: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signs into law a prohibition on any local regulations restricting fracking in the state. (Fayetteville Observer)

FRAC SAND: The industry’s downturn is leaving Wisconsin and Minnesota towns with an uncertain future. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WILDLIFE: A court ruling may make it harder for the government to prosecute energy companies for bird deaths. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

TECHNOLOGY: A MacArthur Fellow hopes to develop artificial leaves to provide sustainable energy. (Los Angeles Times)

MEDIA: David Letterman takes on a new gig as a climate correspondent. (CleanTechnica)

COMMENTARY: Because of strong clean-energy policies already in place, Minnesota is well positioned to comply with the Clean Power Plan. (Midwest Energy News)

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