Wind power line proposal irks some Midwest farmers

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The windy plains of Kansas could be a treasure trove in the nation's effort to harness clean energy, but a major proposal to move wind-generated electricity eastward is running into a roadblock: Farmers who don't want high-power transmission lines on their land.

Clean Line Energy Partners wants to spend $2.2 billion to build a 750-mile-long high-voltage overhead transmission line. Towers 110 to 150 feet tall, 4-6 per mile, would carry lines with power generated by Kansas' modernistic windmill turbines through sparsely populated northern Missouri, through the cornfields of Illinois and to a substation in Sullivan, Ind. The exact route has not been finalized.

Kansas regulators OK Westar rate hike to pay for transmission improvements

The Wichita Eagle

Westar Energy customers are facing higher electricity bills after state regulators granted the utility a $43.6 million rate hike to cover the cost of new transmission lines, which will bring wind power onto the grid and improve reliability, The Wichita Eagle reports.

Vt. Senate backs bill to expand home-grown energy by raising net metering cap

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The amount of power utilities could buy from customers with solar or other renewable energy systems would nearly quadruple under a measure given preliminary approval Thursday by the Vermont Senate.

Vermont caps the amount of power utilities can take through what's called net metering, when the owners of rooftop solar installations or similar projects put excess power onto the grid. The current cap says each utility can take up to 4 percent of the peak load on its system from net-metering projects. The bill increases that to 15 percent.

Electric grid company MISO to break ground for new HQ in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A company that manages part of the nation's electric grid is to break ground on a regional headquarters in Little Rock, where about 50 employees will earn an average annual salary of $85,000.

Midcontinent Independent System Operator, known as MISO, has scheduled a Friday ceremony to mark the start of construction.

Office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski

Murkowski, LaFleur, electric groups condemn leak of FERC blackout study

The ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee joined electric industry groups Thursday in defending actions by power generators to secure critical facilities, following the leak of a government study that highlighted the grid's vulnerability to sabotage.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska issued a statement on the report by the Wall Street Journal, which revealed details of an unreleased grid vulnerability study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Murkowski said the story "seriously undermined" efforts by the industry to maintain reliable electrical service.

New power sources planned to replace Calif. nuclear plant

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California regulators Thursday approved a plan for two utilities to develop replacement power to help fill the void left by the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant, but environmentalists warned it could open the way for more dirty energy.

The nuclear plant between San Diego and Los Angeles, which stopped producing power in January 2012, once generated enough electricity for 1.4 million homes. The unanimous vote by the California Public Utilities Commission opened the way for Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to find ways to plug that gap.

FERC analysis found that US power grid vulnerable to targeted attack

The Wall Street Journal

Knocking out only nine electric transmitting substations could cause a national blackout, according to a previously unreleased study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Wednesday night winds sweep lights out in the Capitol, around DC

The Washington Post

High winds knocked out power to tens of thousands of customers in the Washington D.C. area Wednesday night, with the Capitol going dark for about half an hour, The Washington Post reports.

Contentious solar energy issue raised in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — When Xcel Energy raised questions about a system known as net metering that helps determine the credit homeowners get from utility companies for putting solar panels on their roofs, regulators found the issue so contentious they separated it from a review of the renewable-energy policies of Colorado's largest utility.

On Wednesday, Colorado's Public Utilities Commission set a hearing in April to start what is likely to be a protracted process of addressing questions solar proponents fear could lead to changes that could hurt their industry.

Although most states have net-metering policies, the practice has touched off debates from Vermont to Hawaii that could have a profound effect on renewable-energy policies across the nation.

European power giants, hit by renewables, cut dividends

The Wall Street Journal

Germany's E.ON SE and Italy's Enel have cut their dividends as the subsidized surge in renewable energy has slashed their revenue, The Wall Street Journal reports.


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