Ohio advocates continue to dispute reports that clean energy standards cost jobs

ADVOCACY: A clean energy group says the Ohio organization lobbying for large energy users in the state has played an outsized role in blocking clean energy standards there. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES:
• In Minnesota and across the U.S., consumers are seeing flat or declining costs relative to income even amid dramatic shifts in the energy system. (Midwest Energy News)
• An Ohio-based free-market think tank claims clean energy standards will cost the state thousands of jobs, though advocates say the opposite is true. (Columbus Business First)

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SOLAR:
• Works begins on a campus solar project at Michigan State University that the school anticipates will save $10 million over the next 25 years.

Dakota Access developer claims initial pipeline route would have impacted minorities more

RENEWABLES: In search of lower prices and more renewables, some municipal utilities in Nebraska are ending power-purchasing contracts with the state’s largest utility. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Ohio is among coal-dependent states where industry jobs are being displaced by solar jobs. (The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register)
• Iowa sees 61 percent growth in the number of solar jobs in the state over the past two years. (Radio Iowa)
• Minnesota-based Red Wing Shoe Co. plans to use two solar gardens to offset nearly a quarter of the company’s energy use.

Wisconsin GOP lawmakers seek review of We Energies contracts

BIOGAS: The potential for generating energy from anaerobic digesters could address water quality issues and increase clean energy from Wisconsin farms, though economic and technical challenges remain with bringing biogas to the market. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES: Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin want state regulators to review contracts put in place by We Energies 15 years ago, saying the utility’s rate of return on some projects is too high and may be impacting rates. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

SOLAR: IKEA is installing a 470,000-square-foot solar array at a new distribution center in Illinois, making it the largest rooftop solar project in the state. (Yale Climate Connections)

WIND: North Dakota is among several states where new wind development is bringing strong opposition from lawmakers who oppose industry incentives.

North Dakota stands to gain $110 million annually from Dakota Access pipeline

RENEWABLES:
• Later this year the nation’s first “integrated” wind and solar hybrid project will begin producing power outside a small city in northwest Minnesota. (Midwest Energy News)
• A group of young climate-change activists urges Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to strengthen the state’s renewable energy standard. (Minnesota Public Radio)

NUCLEAR: While FirstEnergy cites concern about carbon emissions in its bid for zero-emissions credits for its Ohio nuclear reactors, environmental and consumer advocates say it’s just the latest chapter in the utility’s search for a “bailout” for uncompetitive plants. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

PIPELINES:
• North Dakota stands to gain $110 million annually in tax revenue if the Dakota Access pipeline is completed.

Minnesota governor signs bill bypassing regulators on gas plant

MINNESOTA: Gov. Mark Dayton signs a bill allowing Xcel Energy to build a natural gas plant to replace retiring coal units, saying it is needed for reliability and still aligns with the state’s clean energy goals. (Minnesota Public Radio)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Scientists at the Illinois Institute of Technology are designing a battery they hope will store more energy than conventional systems and can be “refueled” like a car’s gasoline tank. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

WIND: Clean energy advocates who have been critical of a Wisconsin utility’s commitment to clean energy are encouraged by the company’s plan for a new 66 megawatt wind project. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: A federal judge delays for up to a week a decision on whether to halt construction on the remaining portion of the Dakota Access pipeline.

Indiana Senate passes bill to weaken solar net metering

RENEWABLES: A bipartisan effort in Minnesota led by the Dayton administration would double the state’s renewable energy standard to 50 percent by 2030. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• The Indiana Senate approves a bill that would drastically cut the price solar generators are paid for their surplus energy, though the bill would grandfather in current solar panel owners for 30 years. (Associated Press)
• A 17-megawatt commercial-scale solar project in Indiana is now in operation. (Inside Indiana Business)
• An Indiana school board gives unanimous approval to a plan for solar projects at two of its schools. (Goshen News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others.

Indiana lawmaker faces backlash over statements made about net metering bill

SOLAR:
• An Indiana lawmaker faces backlash over controversial statements he made about plans to eliminate the state’s net metering law. (Associated Press)
• Advocates in Iowa ask state regulators to reconsider a ruling they say could imperil solar development in the state. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A 6.9-megawatt expansion of a wind project is underway in northeast Nebraska. (Norfolk Daily News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

COAL: Some coal producers are casting themselves as a contributor to a clean-energy future.

Indiana net metering bill moves forward despite industry concerns

COAL: An Ohio utility opposes Murray Energy’s attempt to intervene in a rate case that would close two of the utility’s coal plants. (Dayton Business Journal)

ALSO:
• An aging Chicago-area coal plant is an example of the ideal candidate for conversion to natural gas. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Dynegy official says subsidies for renewable energy and nuclear plants are a growing concern for the coal industry. (Platts)
• Coal is a “resource curse” for southern Illinois economies. (WUWM)

SOLAR:
• An Indiana bill to eliminate net metering moves through the committee process with amendments, though advocates are still critical of the bill. (Kokomo Perspective)
• Construction of a 5-megawatt solar array in Minnesota is scheduled to begin in the coming weeks.

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.