SOLAR: Utility-scale solar in the U.S. is a more cost effective, carbon-free power option than residential-scale systems, according to a new study from The Brattle Group. (Greentech Media)

GRID: Republicans are short-changing the U.S. electric grid millions of dollars needed to protect it from cyber attacks, two Democratic senators warned on Wednesday. (The Hill)

Even as the White House finalizes the Clean Power Plan, the federal government is leasing public lands for coal mining at an increasing rate. (Climate Central)
• An Iowa utility will phase out coal at five plants in the state under a settlement announced Wednesday by the Department of Justice and the EPA. (The Huffington Post)
• A number of municipalities in the Midwest would like to get out of an agreement they signed to buy power from a coal-fired plant at rates that turned out to be well above market prices. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL PRICES: Cheap crude has hammered oil-producing states to the point that they’re dragging down overall economic growth and erasing any positive effects from falling commodity prices, according to Goldman Sachs. (FuelFix)

OIL STOCKS: Oil stocks, the worst performing shares in the world, are starting to lure investors, with dividend yields the highest since the financial crisis that began in 2008. (Bloomberg)

CLIMATE DENIAL: ExxonMobil gave more than $2.3 million to members of Congress and a lobbying group denying climate change, eight years after pledging to stop funding climate denial, a newspaper reports. (The Guardian)

EDUCATION: Republican senators rejected an amendment to a No Child Left Behind reform bill Wednesday that would have established a federal climate change education program. (The Hill)

PIPELINES: There’s at least one area of environmental regulation on which Republican and Democratic lawmakers agree, and that is the need to fix the nation’s decrepit oil-and-gas pipeline system. (ThinkProgress)

A bipartisan poll shows voters in states with sage grouse habitat support federal plans to protect the bird across millions of acres of public land, even if doing so restricts some energy development. (Greenwire)
• A poll shows 75 percent of Nevada voters want their state to promote renewable energy, and 90 percent think consumers should be able to generate solar electricity from their rooftops. (Las Vegas Sun)

The director of the Bureau of Land Management told lawmakers Wednesday that new rules for fracking on federal lands are necessary to “address modern practices.” (The Hill)
More than 50 parents stood in front of a high school in Middlesex Township, Pennsylvania, Wednesday to protest a plan that would allow fracking near local schools. (StateImpact)

STORAGE: Intersolar North America, one of the biggest solar conferences in the U.S., kicked off in San Francisco this week, and batteries have dominated the conversation. (Fortune)

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