Bloomberg: FirstEnergy Says Its Headquarters Is Worth $568 Million to Ohio
FirstEnergy Corp., Ohio’s homegrown utility with roots in the state that date to 1930, wants its customers to pay to ensure it stays there. In the latest twist in a two-year battle for aid, the company has asked regulators to approve as much as $568 million a year for eight years in customer surcharges to compensate for the economic impact of having its headquarters in Akron.
FirstEnergy is among utilities across the U.S. struggling amid flat demand and low power prices bought on by cheap natural gas, and growing supplies of solar and wind energy. That hasn’t swayed manufacturers, consumer advocates and environmental groups who said they were left flabbergasted by the proposed hike.
"When they first told me that was in there, I thought it was a joke," said Eric Burkland, the president of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, which opposes the fee increase. "From a manufacturing ratepayer’s perspective, it’s just bizarre."
Washington Examiner: Mexico Makes a Friend of Ethanol
U.S. ethanol producers found a friend south of the border on Monday after Mexico approved its own national mandate for blending the alcohol-based fuel in gasoline.
The establishment of Mexico's ethanol requirement is being hailed as a major expansion of the North American renewable fuels market and a key step toward harmonizing the two countries' clean energy goals, industry groups said.
"Our collective goal should be greater harmonization across all of North America on fuel regulations that embrace cleaner burning biofuels like ethanol because that is in the best interest of every mother, father and child," said Emily Skor, CEO of the U.S. pro-ethanol group Growth Energy.
Nature: Nuclear Power Plants Prepare for Old Age
Sophisticated inspections are helping to pick up defects in aging nuclear power plants before they cause trouble. In March, ultrasonic tests identified signs of wear and tear in some of the stainless-steel bolts in the reactor core of the Indian Point power plant just north of New York City. Researchers at the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, California are now analyzing more than a dozen of the 5-centimeter-long bolts -- which secure plates that help direct water through the radioactive core -- to determine why they failed the inspection.
The analysis comes as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission considers whether to extend the life of Indian Point’s two 40-year-old reactors for 20 more years. Opponents of the plant, including the state of New York, cite the defective bolts, a transformer fire last year and environmental and safety concerns as evidence that the facility should close.
Electrek: Tesla Adds Hidden Payment Option to Buy 'Supercharger Credits'
Tesla updated its website to show a hidden payment option to buy ‘Supercharger credits’ per KWh block -- hinting at a business model surrounding the Model 3 access to Superchargers.
While Tesla made clear that it was going to be a paid option, it wasn’t clear if it would be a one-time $2,500 fee like it is for the original Model S 60 and 40 or if it would be on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Wired: How Quickly Climate Change Is Accelerating, in 167 Maps
When it comes to explaining climate change, it helps to have clear, convincing evidence on hand. Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading with a knack for data visualization, specializes in precisely this kind of evidence.
Perhaps you’ve seen his work. His “Spiraling Global Temperatures” animation, which depicts a rainbow-colored record of global temperatures coiling outward at an accelerating pace, went viral back in May. It even made an (unexpected) appearance at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Rio.
His latest visualization, “Mapping Global Temperature Changes,” is less abstract, but conveys a similar sense of urgency.