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)

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)

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)

• 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)

• 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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