Daily Digest

Florida utilities volunteer to limit hedging for natural gas supplies

UTILITIES: Florida utilities unexpectedly volunteer to limit hedging the price of natural gas after $6 billion in losses for ratepayers since 2002. (Tampa Bay Times)

COAL ASH:
• A North Carolina bill would prohibit state or local agencies from issuing certain health advisories about water quality near ash dumps. (Winston-Salem Journal)
• While Duke Energy defends its action, a critic says it is “playing a game of chicken” with North Carolina regulators. (Charlotte Observer)

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SOLAR:
• A new report says Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia are blocking policies that can foster growth in local, distributed solar. (Eco Watch)
• Florida International University and Florida Power & Light unveil a large solar array over a parking lot that will double as a research lab for engineering students. (Miami Herald)
• Strata Solar of North Carolina says it plans to hire at least 60 residents to build a large-scale solar project in Fort Rucker, Alabama. (Dothan Eagle)
• A Charlotte-based startup is pressed to raise $4 million to commercialize a microchip inverter for solar panels. (Charlotte Business Journal)
Cisco Systems contracts with Duke Energy to purchase power and renewable energy credits for two 5-megawatt systems near Charlotte. (Charlotte Business Journal)
• An interview with the ex-chief of the national solar lobby captures lessons learned that might apply to states, including the importance of job creation. (Greentech Media)
• Mississippi Power breaks ground with its partners on the first of three solar systems, a $100 million facility to provide power to about 6,500 homes. (PV Tech)

PIPELINES: A new report challenges the need for two natural gas pipelines in Virginia. (The News Virginian)

STORAGE: Duke Energy is looking to leap from pilot projects to commercial installations in its regulated markets in the Carolinas and Florida. (SNL)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Regulators in Georgia stand firm in their refusal to stop preparing to comply with the Clean Power Plan until Supreme Court rules. (ClimateWire)

EFFICIENCY: Duke Energy launches an efficiency push with Asheville, North Carolina, Buncombe County and area businesses. (Mountain Xpress)

TRANSPORTATION: GM says it will spend $790 million to build a new high-efficiency engine at its plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee and create nearly 800 jobs. (Johnston City Press)

BLANKENSHIP TRIAL: Federal prosecutors urge an appeals court not to allow former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship to remain free while he appeals his conviction. (Associated Press)

COAL: Job training for laid-off miners begins in three eastern Tennessee counties May 4. (Middlesboro Daily News)

POLITICS: North Carolina philanthropist Jay Faison says he’ll spend “seven figures” to support the re-election campaigns of U.S. Senators from Ohio and Maine who generally favor clean energy legislation. (Reuters)

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COMMENTARY:
• A prominent newspaper in Virginia joins the call for a carbon tax. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
• Be skeptical of the utility-backed “Smart Solar” amendment on Florida’s November ballot. (Sun Sentinel)
• The “Smart Solar” amendment in Florida should be supported because it ensures utilities must protect all consumers as it does with other energy sources. (Palm Beach Post)
• A Virginia law passed in 2015 labeled as a rate freeze is anything but. (Power for the People VA blog)

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