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Lessons from Germany’s aggressive path to integrate renewables on the grid

As policymakers in Ohio and elsewhere look to modernize their aging electric grid, concepts in Germany’s changing energy system suggest how today’s decisions can set the stage for a greater share of renewables and more energy security.  Germany has committed to reducing its reliance on fossil fuels with a shift known as the Energiewende. The country sees the shift not only as “an important energy project, but also an important economic project,” said spokesperson Beate Baron at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy in Berlin.

Buffett's BNSF cuts ethanol shipper costs amid push for safer train cars

BNSF Railway Co will start offering discounts to ethanol shippers this April if they agree to use new, safer train cars, as it pushes to scrub puncture-prone ones from its rail lines at a faster pace than required by U.S. regulations.  The move by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway rail company comes even as ethanol shippers have been slow to embrace the new train cars mandated by sweeping new regulations enacted in 2015 after a series of fiery crude oil derailments.

Exxon Praises ‘Monumental’ Paris Agreement in Signal to Trump

Exxon Mobil Corp., the U.S. oil giant that’s facing investigations over what it knew and when about climate change, sees the Paris agreement to mitigate global warming as a “monumental” achievement, according to a top executive.  The company supports the December 2015 Paris accord as a “very meaningful and constructive process,” William M. Colton, Exxon’s vice president for corporate strategic planning, said in an interview in Berlin. Adhering to the accord’s commitments are achievable and compatible with Exxon’s business strategy, he said.

Net metering bill would make Indiana an outlier on solar policy

As dozens of states consider adopting fees and less-favorable rates to tilt the scales against net metering, advocates say a proposal in Indiana would offer rooftop solar customers the worst deal in the country.  Senate Bill 309, would end net metering by 2027 at the latest, and earlier than that for new panel installations by customers of utilities that hit caps on net metering capacity. The new rules would require customers to buy all the electricity they consume from the utility at a retail rate while selling everything they generate to the utility at a lower wholesale rate.

Nebraska bills would allow more community solar, tap lottery for funding

A pair of bills now before the Nebraska legislature would provide a new potential funding source for community solar projects, and mandate that utilities allow community solar projects initiated by their customers. LB 610 would explicitly allow the Nebraska Environmental Trust to consider issuing grants to community solar projects. The trust’s funds, coming from a portion of the state’s lottery proceeds, amount to roughly $16 million yearly.

Pipeline leaks 138,600 gallons of diesel in northern Iowa

An investigation is ongoing on how a pipeline leaked 138,600 gallons of diesel fuel in Worth County early Wednesday morning, according to Magellan Midstream Partners L.P., the pipeline company. "It’s a big one — it’s significant," said Jeff Vansteenburg, a field office supervisor for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Appeals court to decide future of California carbon auctions

Businesses looking to invalidate California’s fee for carbon pollution took their arguments to a state appeals court Tuesday in a case that could determine the future of one of California’s signature efforts to combat climate change. With a central piece of Gov. Jerry Brown’s legacy on the line, lawyers for the state and for environmental advocacy groups defended a program that has been closely watched around the world as a potential model for controlling carbon emissions.

US solar power employs more people than oil, coal and gas combined

The latest report from the US Department of Energy (DOE) reveals solar energy accounts for the largest proportion of employers in the Electric Power Generation sector, with wind energy the third largest, while the coal industries have declined in the past 10 years. Solar energy employed 374,000 people over the year 2015-2016, making up 43 per cent of the sector’s workforce, while the traditional fossil fuels combined employed 187,117, making up just 22 per cent of the workforce, according to the report.

California proposes ambitious new climate goals

California formally proposed a 40 percent slash in the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, minutes after President Trump was inaugurated.  The state’s Air Resources Board said that 40 percent cut by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, would be the most ambitious climate goal in North America.

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