North Dakota lawmakers rescind plan for two-year wind moratorium

MICROGRID: While some longtime residents remain skeptical, local leaders in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood look to build on the community’s legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship as it embarks on a microgrid project. (Midwest Energy News)

SMART METERS: Two advocacy groups and an Illinois utility are working to quantify the emission-reduction benefits of installing smart meters. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: The North Dakota Senate strips language from a proposed bill that would have placed a two-year moratorium on wind development. (Forum News Service)

NUCLEAR: After plans surface about FirstEnergy seeking subsidies to keep its nuclear plants open, the company says it is still interested in selling them. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PIPELINES:
• Ten people were arrested when they refused to evacuate a Dakota Access protest camp in North Dakota as others set fire to temporary structures in a final act of defiance.

Following Illinois, FirstEnergy seeks subsidies for Ohio nuclear plants

NUCLEAR:
• Ohio-based FirstEnergy is said to be pursuing “zero emission credits” for its struggling nuclear plants, a plan modeled off of one recently adopted in Illinois and which could generate $300 million annually for the utility. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• The head of grid operator PJM says such subsidies for nuclear plants “run the risk of skewing competitive markets.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

DEMAND RESPONSE: Two recent reports say incentives for reducing Michigan ratepayers’ electric demand will play a valuable role in limiting the need for new natural gas plants as the state addresses capacity shortfalls. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE: Researchers say a national climate report due every four years is moving forward and drawing on data from Ohio and other states, despite uncertainty over climate policy from the Trump administration. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A Madison, Wisconsin utility is planning to build a $107 million, 66-megawatt wind farm in northeast Iowa. (Wisconsin State Journal)

RENEWABLES: Ohio state Rep. Bill Seitz, a vocal opponent of the state’s clean energy standards, vows to roll back the laws once again by making them voluntary until 2027.

North Dakota lawmaker proposes two-year freeze on wind development

SMART GRID: Illinois regulators approve a plan by ComEd to share anonymous energy usage data with interested parties as part of a broader effort to develop energy-saving programs. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A North Dakota Republican introduces legislation to halt wind development for two years in an effort to boost the state’s coal plants. (Forum News Service)

***SPONSORED LINK: Connect with more than 650 of the region’s best and brightest at MEEA’s 2017 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, February 22-24 in Chicago, featuring unparalleled networking, insightful panels and more. Register today!***

COAL:
• The University of Iowa plans to end its coal use by 2025 as a “logical next step” in its transition to renewables. (Radio Iowa)
• Critics of a plan to close two Ohio coal plants say it would cost hundreds of jobs and cause millions in local economic losses. (Dayton Daily News)

REGULATION:
• President Trump appears poised to sign an executive order aimed at rolling back Obama-era rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from utilities.

Enbridge says report on its own website about Mackinac pipeline is only hypothetical

EFFICIENCY:
• Missouri lawmakers look to open energy efficiency subsidies to owners of thousands of mutli-family buildings who have blocked from doing so under state law. (Midwest Energy News)
• Federal appliance efficiency standards signed into law under President Reagan save Ohio residents hundreds of dollars annually, and advocates hope Congress and President Trump will hold them in place. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PIPELINES:
• Enbridge officials deny a report on the company website saying its Straits of Mackinac oil and gas pipeline is losing its protective coating. (Detroit Free Press)
• The Army formally ends an environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)
• A North Dakota judge dismisses trespassing charges against three Dakota Access pipeline protesters.

Minnesota lawmakers advance bill bypassing regulators on natural gas plant

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Michigan utility withdraws plans for a $15 million statewide electric vehicle charging network after facing broad criticism over how the plan would be funded. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL AND GAS:
• Minnesota lawmakers approve a bill to bypass state utility regulators and allow Xcel Energy to build a natural gas plant to replace coal-burning units. (Associated Press)
• The developer of the proposed NEXUS gas pipeline says opponents are too late in arguing that northwest Ohio is prone to earthquakes and that the project shouldn’t move forward. (Toledo Blade)

SOLAR:
• A utility-backed bill to repeal Indiana’s net metering program moves forward. (Associated Press)
• A Minnesota county takes pride in being dubbed the state’s “solar capital.” (Chisago County Press)
• Plans move forward for a solar project at a former landfill in Ohio.

Report: Renewable energy standards have brought $3 billion in investment to Michigan

MINNESOTA: Two key opponents of a Minnesota bill allowing Xcel Energy to bypass regulatory approval for a major natural gas plant drop their opposition after lawmakers add more protections for ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: Michigan utilities met or exceeded renewable energy standards created under a 2008 law, which generated about $3 billion in investment in the state, according to a new state report. (UPI)

***SPONSORED LINK: Connect with more than 650 of the region’s best and brightest at MEEA’s 2017 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, February 22-24 in Chicago, featuring unparalleled networking, insightful panels and more. Register today!***

SOLAR:
• Rooftop solar owners in Ann Arbor, Michigan are still frustrated by what the city says are a lack of options when it comes to property tax increases by owning panels. (MLive)
• Local officials finalize the sale of city-owned land to develop an Indiana city’s first solar project.

Independent power producers file lawsuit to block Illinois nuclear subsidies

ILLINOIS: Four companies that own coal and gas plants in Illinois file a lawsuit to stop legislation passed in late 2016 that provides subsidies to Exelon’s struggling nuclear plants in Illinois. (Quad-City Times)

POLICY: As in Michigan, Ohio Republicans are back on a path to weaken the state’s renewable and efficiency standards despite clean energy support from those states’ Republican governors late last year. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

HYDRO:
• Separate research teams at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are tackling engineering, social and environmental concerns associated with hydroelectric generation. (Midwest Energy News)
• Michigan’s network of aging dams that once supplied hydropower pose flood risks, though not to the scale of the worsening situation in Oroville, California. (Detroit Free Press)

WIND: A Wisconsin-based electric cooperative will begin purchasing 80 megawatts of wind energy from an Iowa project.