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SPOTLIGHT

1. WIND:

More renewable use requires better weather forecasts

Utilities working to harness the wind must also become better meteorologists if they are to grow their renewable energy portfolios and meet a possible federal mandate. Toward this end, the nation's largest wind power provider, Xcel Energy, yesterday teamed with two major research facilities, the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, to improve day-to-day forecasts at its wind farms.

2. LOBBYING:

Renewable portfolio standard -- a 'distraction' or a solution?

As Congress considers a national mandate for renewable electricity, a fault line is forming. House Democratic leaders are pushing a new bill that would require utilities by 2025 to obtain 25 percent of the electric power they distribute from renewable sources such as wind, solar and biomass. Supporters of the policy say it will accelerate the development of carbon-free electricity sources and an expansion of the power grid. Opponents argue that requiring power companies to produce a portion of power from renewables will tie up the hands of lawmakers and deliver far fewer climate benefits than its proponents have promised.

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