SOLAR: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says the state will purchase 50% of its electricity from seven solar farms scattered throughout the state under a 15-year contract said to be the largest of its kind in the U.S. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

ALSO:
• An $8 million federal loan will help fund three solar projects totalling 6 MW in rural Maine. (Associated Press)
• A 4.95 MW solar array serving the Rhode Island Airport Commission goes into service, while construction is completed on a nearby 5.7 MW project. (news release)

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OFFSHORE WIND:
• Three lobster boats reportedly circled a surveying vessel conducting work for the future Maine Aqua Ventus offshore wind turbine, forcing it to abandon its work. (Portland Press-Herald)
Survey work begins for the proposed Atlantic Shores offshore project in New Jersey for a project that could supply up to 2,300 MW. (WorkBoat)
• Connecticut environmental officials will hold a virtual public hearing today on a plan to turn a state pier into a staging area for offshore wind farm construction. (The Day)
• Somerset, Mass., residents are unhappy that a brownfield developer that came to town with plans to support Vineyard Wind manufacturing has rented out space to a scrap metal business for the time being. (Commonwealth Magazine)

CLIMATE: Massachusetts lawmakers who support a sweeping climate bill awaiting Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature say the budget proposed for the state energy department is inadequate to begin implementing the law. (Eagle-Tribune)

NUCLEAR: A community group is formed to create a more transparent process in decommissioning the closed Three Mile Island nuclear plant. (StateImpact Pennsylvania)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Connecticut lawmakers begin their drive to allow Teslas to be sold directly to consumers, a move that has been blocked by the state’s auto dealers. (Hartford Courant)
• Proposed legislation in New Jersey would establish a three-year pilot program to find ways to help schools finance the high initial cost of electric buses. (NJ Advance Media)

TRANSMISSION: Anti-transmission corridor advertising spending in Maine ramps up after a state judge ruled against a part of the project’s permit last week. (Bangor Daily News)

BIOENERGY: A digester at a Vermont dairy farm that produces renewable natural gas from manure and food wastes will begin supplying gas to a local utility by mid-spring. (Burlington Free Press)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: The sale of a waste-to-energy plant that serves 115 Maine towns is now expected to close by the end of June. (Bangor Daily News)

COMMENTARY:
• A venture capitalist says Maryland can become a leader in clean technology innovation as it already is home to startups that improve building energy efficiency. (Baltimore Sun)
• The sponsor of legislation in Maine to prevent Hydro-Quebec’s financing of a campaign to defeat anti-transmission referenda says the purpose of the bill is to counter “foreign meddling” in a state election. (Portland Press Herald)
• A new liquefied natural gas export terminal in New Jersey is a backward step for the state, argues a hospital official in Camden, N.J., who pointed to the long-term health and environmental impacts of natural gas. (Common Dreams)

Bill Opalka

Bill Opalka

Bill is a freelance journalist based outside Albany, New York. As a former New England correspondent for RTO Insider, he has written about energy for newspapers, magazines and other publications for more than 20 years. He has an extensive career in trade publications and newspapers, mostly focused on the utility sector, covering such issues as restructuring, renewable energy and consumer affairs. Bill covers Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire and also compiles the Northeast Energy News daily email digest.