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Knoxville becoming top solar power city

Knoxville is emerging as the No. 1 city in the Southeast and one of the top cities in the nation for solar power investment.

KUB announced last week it has selected Origis Energy to develop a 200-megawatt solar farm in Clay County, Mississippi, to support Knoxville's commitment to moving to more renewable energy. KUB's investment in the project helped enable 50 megawatts of new battery storage technology that will increase power grid resiliency.

"We take our commitment of being good stewards of our environment seriously, and we are thrilled to work with TVA to put our community on the map for renewable energy," said Gabriel Bolas, KUB president and CEO.

Last November, KUB announced that 20% of Knoxville's electricity will be generated from renewable sources.

Origis Energy will supply solar energy through a long-term power purchase agreement via TVA's Green Invest program.

"This is our third utility-scale solar facility in Mississippi with TVA, and it demonstrates the success of Green Invest to connect local communities, private business and public power through renewable energy," said Johan Vanhee, Origis Energy chief commercial officer and chief procurement officer.

Since 2018, TVA's Green Invest has attracted nearly $2.7 billion in solar investment and procured over 2,100 megawatts of solar on behalf of its customers.

 

Air travel reaches post-pandemic high

The United States set another record for the number of air travelers since the pandemic set in, although passenger numbers remain far below 2019 levels.

More than 1.6 million people were screened at U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday, according to the Transportation Security Administration. That was the highest number screened since March 12 of last year when air travel began to plummet.

However, it was still 35% below the number of airport travelers reported on the comparable Sunday in 2019, according to TSA figures.

Airlines started to see an increase in bookings around mid-February, and the TSA has screened at least 1 million people every day since March 11. Vacation destinations have been most popular — business travel, which is more profitable for airlines, remains drastically reduced.

Government restrictions are also sharply limiting international travel, another lucrative piece of the airline business.

Nearly 50 U.S. and U.K. travel-industry groups urged President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to lift restrictions on travel between the two countries. The groups said in a letter Monday that it would be ideal if the two leaders would announce "the full reopening of the U.S.-UK air travel market for both U.S. and UK citizens" before the G7 meeting in early June.

 

Bill & Melinda Gates announce divorce

Bill and Melinda Gates announced Monday that they are divorcing.

The Microsoft co-founder and his wife, who launched the world's largest charitable foundation, said they would continue to work together at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In identical tweets, they said they had made the decision to end their marriage of 27 years.

"We have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives," they said in a statement.

In her 2019 memoir, "The Moment of Lift," Melinda Gates wrote about her childhood, life and private struggles as the wife of a public icon and stay-at-home mom with three kids. She won Gates' heart after meeting at a work dinner, sharing a mutual love of puzzles and beating him at a math game.

The couple's sprawling Seattle-based foundation is easily the most influential private foundation in the world, with an endowment worth nearly $50 billion.

 

Fed chief sees need to aid the vulnerable

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell says the economic outlook has "clearly brightened" in the United States, but the recovery remains too uneven with lower income groups lagging behind.

In a speech Monday, Powell cited a number of reasons that U.S. growth prospects have brightened including rising vaccination levels, increased government support and more business re-openings nationwide. But he added that the economic downturn has not fallen evenly on all Americans and that those least able to bear the burden have been the hardest hit.

Powell said the Fed was focused on these long-standing disparities because they weigh on the country's productive capacity.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

 

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