Ohio agency concerned about potential spills from Rover gas pipeline construction

SOLAR: Ohio utilities and their opponents dug into their positions at a hearing over proposed rule changes to net metering in the state. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• A solar-powered hybrid heat-and-electric system tested in Illinois could someday have uses in microgrids, energy storage, and large commercial applications. (Midwest Energy News)
• The mayor of a southern Illinois city wants to invest more in solar energy to power city operations. (Southern Illinoisan)
• School districts in Ohio and Indiana are “among a small but growing number of districts nationwide to adopt solar energy.” (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)
• Some solar projects in Michigan are on hold while state regulators finalize rules that compensate independent power producers for their generation. (Port Huron Times Herald)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit.

Nebraska utility exceeds targets as renewable energy sales reach 30 percent

WIND: After claims were dismissed in federal court last year against a wind project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, landowners seek relief from state courts in what could be a long-shot victory to claim the turbines cause negative health impacts. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: A Nebraska utility exceeded its targets in 2017 as renewable energy — mostly from wind — accounted for 30 percent of retail sales and more than doubled over the previous year. (Omaha World-Herald)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Madison. Register Today!***

PIPELINES: If it overcomes challenges, construction on Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement and expansion project could start as early as this summer.

Poll: Ohio conservatives support clean energy, oppose coal and nuclear ‘bailouts’

RENEWABLES: Clean energy advocates are hopeful that newly appointed member of Missouri’s Public Service Commission will support policies that spur renewable energy development. (Midwest Energy News)

OHIO: A new poll finds conservative voters in Ohio oppose special charges to bolster coal and nuclear plants and support various clean energy initiatives. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, January 18th, in Madison, WI. Register Today!***

SOLAR:
• Environmental groups say Ohio regulators made a mistake in scaling back incentives for net-metering programs, while utilities support the decision. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A developer has finalized its plans for a 20-megawatt solar project in southwest Michigan, which it hopes will be operational in 2019 or 2020. (Sturgis Journal)
• A northern Illinois town considers a proposal for two 10-acre solar projects at its municipal airport.

Confidential memo suggests White House fulfilling Ohio coal baron’s wish list

COAL:
• The Trump administration appears to be following through on several sweeping requests from the CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy to bolster the coal industry. (New York Times)
• Murray also called federal regulators’ rejection this week of a Department of Energy plan to support coal and nuclear plants a “bureaucratic cop-out,” while utilities in Ohio consider next steps. (Associated Press, WKSU)

CLEAN ENERGY: Minnesota’s clean energy and emission-reduction plans include expanding the state’s electric vehicle fleet, rehabbing state-owned buildings and adding solar panels to rooftops. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Madison. Register Today!***

WIND:
• Local planners in an eastern Michigan county support extending a moratorium on wind energy development for another year.

FirstEnergy plants in jeopardy after FERC rejects coal, nuclear proposal

UTILITIES: Ohio-based American Electric Power forgot to notify the public about hearings on its latest case that will set rates and rider fees through 2024 for its customers, adding uncertainty to the proposal. (Midwest Energy News)

POLICY:
• Federal energy regulators reject a Department of Energy proposal that would have provided financial support to coal and nuclear plants, a plan backed by Ohio-based FirstEnergy and Murray Energy. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Grid operators now have 60 days to respond on whether any action should be taken at all, while FirstEnergy says some of its plants are still in jeopardy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, January 18th, in Madison, WI. Register Today!***

SOLAR:
• Advocates in Michigan say state regulators are moving too quickly to redesign net metering for solar customers, saying it hasn’t been determined whether such customers provide net benefits to the grid.

Minnesota to rely on nuclear into the 2030s for reliability, emissions

COAL:
• Ohio’s shift from coal to natural gas has led to a significant drop in carbon emissions, which fell by 50 million metric tons from 2005 to 2015. (Midwest Energy News)
• Illinois coal production increased 10 percent in 2017, though experts say the sector’s long-term prospects remain shaky as plants are retired and new natural gas facilities come online. (Associated Press, SNL)

NUCLEAR:
• Minnesota will continue to rely heavily on nuclear power until the 2030s to maintain grid reliability and keep down carbon emissions. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• A federal appeals court hears oral arguments in a case looking to overturn Illinois’ zero-emission credit program supporting nuclear plants. (Utility Dive)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, Jan.

Minnesota solar capacity could reach one gigawatt by 2019

EFFICIENCY: Some clean energy advocates say additional revenue raised in Minneapolis for sustainability efforts is better spent on efficiency programs rather than renewable energy credits. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: Minnesota’s solar capacity now exceeds 700 megawatts, and further growth is expected in the coming years. (Minnesota Public Radio)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Madison. Register Today!***

WIND:
• A $90 million, 44-megawatt wind project is online in eastern Michigan, with more turbines expected to be added in 2020.

Analysts: State renewable portfolio standards still driving investment

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Chicago looks to increase the size of its electric bus fleet, potentially doubling a planned expansion if funding is available. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES:
• In states like Illinois and Michigan, renewable portfolio standards are still a valuable tool in driving investment despite declining costs in the sector. (Utility Dive)
• Advocates say uncertainty over tax credits could hurt state funding for wind and solar projects in Iowa. (KIOW)
• Some independent, renewable power producers in northern Michigan could see the rates they’re paid by a utility cut in half after a recent ruling by state regulators. (Traverse City Record-Eagle)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit.