Daily Digest

New head of U.S. mining safety narrowly confirmed by Senate

OVERSIGHT: The Senate on Wednesday narrowly approved President Trump’s selection of a David Zatezalo, a West Virginia native and retired coal company executive, to oversee U.S. mining safety. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: A Virginia electric cooperative is working to inform members of proposed rate increases as part of a settlement with the Sierra Club, which said the co-op failed to be transparent as well as disregarded the impact on its customers. (Southeast Energy News)

EMISSIONS: Virginia regulators vote on a plan today to reduce carbon emissions from power plants in Virginia and also allow the state to participate in a carbon-trading network. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: The Environmental Protection Agency has allowed chemicals with known health concerns to be used in fracking around the country, including in Arkansas. (Marketplace)

POLICY: Critics of Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to boost coal and nuclear energy sources are ready to file legal challenges should FERC adopt some version of the proposal. (E&E News)

UTILITIES: A clean energy advocate says Duke Energy’s proposed $13 billion grid modernization project in North Carolina could raise rates close to 50 percent over 10 years. (Charlotte Business Journal, subscription)

PIPELINES: The North Carolina Utilities Commission has filed a request asking FERC to hold a rehearing for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, one week after state regulators asked officials for a better erosion plan. (Triangle Business Journal)

NUCLEAR: South Carolina’s state-owned utility says a proposed bill intended to prevent another situation like the now-failed Summer nuclear project could hurt its customers. (The State)

GRID: More than 30 states, including several in the Southeast, are considering grid modernization, including new ways to integrate battery storage. (Utility Dive)

RENEWABLE ENERGY:
• A report from the International Energy Agency predicts solar power to become the cheapest source of new electricity generation, though oil and gas are likely to continue meeting the bulk of the world’s energy needs. (Associated Press)
• A city in South Carolina held a town hall meeting to discuss boosting the state’s solar and wind energy efforts as well as boosting green jobs. (GoUpstate.com)
Mississippi’s efforts to boost employment in renewable energy are suffering, in part due to inexpensive solar panels manufactured overseas. (WDAM)

POLITICS: A Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Florida says if elected she will end “utility taxes” for advanced nuclear power plant costs and stop utilities from charging customers for natural gas fracking. (Palm Beach Post)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Lawmakers in Florida consider a user fee for electric cars to make up for lost gasoline tax revenue. (Fox 4)

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