Daily Digest

Congress reaches deal to extend tax breaks for wind, solar

RENEWABLES: A deal struck by Congressional leaders would extend tax breaks for solar and wind energy for five years, but language ending the U.S. ban on crude oil exports means passage is not assured. (The Hill)

POLLUTION:
• A University of North Carolina research lab estimates about 6% of all deaths around the world can be attributed to outdoor pollution and ozone. (Chapelboro.com)
• The legal showdown is expected to continue after a U.S. Court of Appeals backs the EPA’s stricter standards for mercury emissions. (Greenwire)

***SPONSORED LINK: Rocky Mountain Institute’s e-Lab Accelerator is calling on America’s most innovative teams at the forefront of the electricity transformation looking to take projects to the next level. See if your project is eligible for this invitation-only event April 24—27. ***

SOLAR:
• Georgia Power and the University of Georgia are testing solar arrays that track the sun’s movement to maximize the power they can generate. (Athens Banner-Herald)
Duke Energy plans to build — and own — two new solar farms in North Carolina totaling about 75 megawatts after previously relying on power purchase agreements. (Charlotte Business Journal)

CLIMATE:
• Tempers are rising along with the sea level in Key West, Florida over how to mitigate the changing climate. (Saint Peters Blog)
• A popular Charlotte TV weatherman explains his transition from “hard-core skeptic” to accepting climate science. (The Charlotte Observer)

OIL & GAS:
• Congressional leaders agree to lift 40-year ban on oil exports. (The Wall Street Journal)
West Virginia lawmakers are expected to weigh in on whether mineral owners must sell their natural gas if most of their neighbors previously have agreed to sell. (West Virginia Public Broadcasting)

WIND: An wind industry coalition is to collaborate with a marine industry alliance to develop wind systems off the Virginia coast. (REnews)

NUCLEAR: Entergy shuts down a reactor in Arkansas after operators find feedwater oscillations. (Platts)

FRACKING: New research by Duke University finds fracking hurts the resale value of properties that rely on well water. (Duke University)

COAL ASH:
• Duke Energy is to ask South Carolina to bury 2 million tons of coal ash at a lined landfill at its W. S. Lee power plant, satisfying some environmentalists. (Charlotte Business Journal; Greenville News)
• Kentucky approves plans for coal ash to be disposed of at two landfills. (Louisville Courier-Journal)

UTILITIES: Georgia regulators are to hold hearings, then decide in May, whether to approve the proposed merger of Southern Co. with AGL Resources. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

COAL: A union leader says members will strike if the parent company of Jim Walter Resources doesn’t agree to pay health benefits for retirees.  (Tuscaloosa News)

LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS: Federal regulators are expected to rule soon on construction of the proposed Lake Charles LNG export terminal in Louisiana. (Argus Media)

2010 GULF OIL SPILL: A Mexican civic group seeks remediation for alleged ecological damages from drifting contamination affecting sea life. (Climate Progress)

PIPELINES: A Virginia town asks the state to require local siting restrictions if the proposed Mountain Valley Pipeline is built. (The Franklin News-Post)

COMMENTARY:
• Getting the policy right could mean massive investments of solar in Virginia in 2016. (Power for the People VA)
• Not extending the investment tax credit beyond 2016 will have a particularly bad impact in West Virginia, where solar is finally catching on. (NRDC)
• A devoted “warrior” for solar in Florida shares her experiences seeking signatures to get solar choice on the November 2016 ballot. (The Gainesville Sun)
• Floridians should be able to decide for themselves whether they want their power from solar energy. (Tallahassee Democrat)

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