U.S. Energy News

Tesla launches line of batteries to make solar grid-free

BATTERIES: Tesla Motors unveiled batteries Thursday that store solar energy, serve as a back-up systems during blackouts and would allow consumers to get off the grid or obtain power in areas not on the grid. (BBC)

ALSO: In projects across the U.S., batteries are providing backup power and integrating renewable energy into the nation’s electric grid. (National Geographic)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
Opponents of the Clean Power Plan say the Clean Air Act restricts multi-state agreements to meet proposed EPA limits on carbon emissions unless Congress approves each agreement. (The Hill)
• Oklahoma’s governor issued an executive order Tuesday directing state agencies not to come up with a plan to comply with the EPA’s proposed emissions limits from power plants. (The Oklahoman)

EFFICIENCY:
President Obama on Thursday signed into law a measure that is intended to improve energy efficiency in buildings and stop efficiency rules for certain water heaters.
• The House passed an amendment late Thursday night that would prohibit funds to enforce energy efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs. (The Hill)
Method Products, maker of eco-friendly household, fabric and personal care products, has opened the industry’s first LEED-platinum certified factory in Chicago. (Sustainable Brands)

WIND:
• The American Wind Energy Association released a study Thursday reporting that 100 wind power projects with a generating capacity of 13,600 megawatts are under construction in 23 states during the first quarter of the year. (The Hill)
MidAmerican Energy plans $900 million worth of new wind-generated electricity capacity in Iowa, bringing the total wind farm investment it has announced this week to $1.5 billion. (Omaha World-Herald)

FRACKING: Even though Maryland has yet to permit fracking, emissions linked to the drilling technique have been detected in the air in Baltimore and Washington, according to a new study. (The Baltimore Sun)

SOLAR:
• Pacific Gas and Electric claimed the no.1 spot in the Solar Electric Power Association’s top-10 rankings of U.S. utilities for putting the most megawatts of solar on the grid in 2014. (FierceEnergy)
• Thanks to a $200 million credit line from Citigroup, Minneapolis-based Kilowatt Financial will now offer no-money-down loans of up to 20 years to homeowners who want to own their rooftop solar systems. (Bloomberg)
• Community solar developers in Minnesota are accusing Xcel Energy of openly defying state regulators in its effort to prevent multiple projects to be co-located at the same site. (Midwest Energy News)

CONSERVATION: A new study shows utility customers who sign up for automatic bill payment use more energy than those who aren’t. (The Washington Post)

NUCLEAR: Exelon says the fate of three unprofitable nuclear plants in Illinois hinges on a bill being passed by the state General Assembly before it adjourns a month from now. (EnergyWire)

ARCTIC DRILLING: Shell is preparing “an armada of 25 vessels” to begin a two-year program to explore two to three wells off the coast of Alaska, its chief financial officer said on Thursday. (Reuters)

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