Key decision expected today on solar tariffs

• The International Trade Commission is expected to decide today whether two solar companies were harmed by foreign competition, which could lead to recommendations for tariffs. (Associated Press)
• Solar companies are concerned about major job losses if tariffs are imposed. (BBC News)
• Free-trade deals with South Korea, Mexico and other countries could dampen the impact of potential tariffs. (Bloomberg)

ALSO: The Colorado Springs utility board commits to 100 MW of new solar after a meeting that included a theatrical performance by advocates. (Colorado Springs Independent)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Mercedes will produce electric SUVs at an Alabama plant as part of a $1 billion expansion. (Birmingham Business Journal)

GRID: How Puerto Rico’s dependence on fossil fuels contributed to a massive power outage following Hurricane Maria.

Indiana nonprofit struggles to keep up with solar demand

SOLAR: Illinois utilities begin implementing plans for community solar as required under a new state energy law, which allows them to make more money on these and other projects. (Midwest Energy News, Utility Dive)

• An Indiana solar assistance project is unable to meet demand for projects ahead of net metering changes next year. (Indiana Public Media)
• Three schools in central Wisconsin are installing solar panels. (WSAW)
• An Ohio dairy farmer hopes solar panels can help him save money. (Youngstown Vindicator)
• Solar developers are suspending construction as they face the looming threat of U.S. import tariffs.

Overlooked in Energy Department report: A key role for transmission

TRANSMISSION: The recent Department of Energy grid reliability report highlights the need for “major transmission additions” to support more renewable energy. (Utility Dive)

• A Missouri county approves a controversial transmission line. (Kirksville Daily Express)
• Indiana Michigan Power announces plans for a $13 million transmission upgrade. (Daily Energy Insider)

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SOLAR: A system of solar carports at Michigan State University is expected to save the school $10 million in energy costs over the next 25 years. (State News)

UTILITIES: A proposal to offer electricity discounts to Amazon data centers in Ohio raises questions about impact on ratepayers.

Despite objections, first fracking permit issued in Illinois

FRACKING: Illinois regulators approve the first fracking permit under new state regulations, despite numerous concerns raised by advocates. (Springfield State Journal-Register, Midwest Energy News archive)

TRANSMISSION: Developers of a wind-energy transmission line recently rejected by Missouri regulators seek a rehearing. (RTO Insider)

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TECHNOLOGY: Four teams of researchers in Illinois will receive millions in federal funding to advance projects in power electronics and converting forms of electricity. (Midwest Energy News)

• Iowa lawmakers tour solar installations as advocates push for further investment in a state tax credit. (Solar Industry)
• Raising concerns about preserving farmland, a Michigan county moves to restrict solar development.

EPA plans to overhaul wastewater rule for power plants

COAL: EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he plans to revise a wastewater rule for power plants that the agency put on hold in April. (Associated Press)

POLITICS: The Sierra Club seeks to force the Energy Department to reveal the groups it consulted with in developing its grid reliability study. (Reuters)

FERC: New FERC chair Neil Chatterjee said Monday that coal and nuclear plants must be compensated properly “to recognize the value they provide to the system.” (Washington Examiner)

• Efforts to give hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits to the Vogtle nuclear project in Georgia seem stuck in the U.S. Senate as lawmakers look at a broader tax overhaul. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
• Supporters of Georgia’s troubled Vogtle nuclear plant are asking the Trump administration to help the project to ensure its completion. (Bloomberg)
• An analysis says it is likely that future plans to build full size nuclear reactors in the U.S. “are now being put on indefinite hold.” (Energy Collective)
• Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the decline of the U.S. nuclear sector is a threat to national security.

Michigan utility pursues new $1 billion natural gas plant

NATURAL GAS: A Michigan utility announces plans for an 1,100 MW natural gas plant at the site of two aging coal plants north of Detroit. (Detroit Free Press)

• After months of negotiations and surviving a contentious budget battle in the state legislature, the hard work of enacting Illinois’ comprehensive energy bill is underway. (Midwest Energy News)
• Six entities have been named as funding recipients for job training programs under the new law. (Chicago Defender)

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• Advocates from Illinois were among those urging the EPA this week not to roll back tougher standards for water discharges from power plants.

Lake Erie offshore wind project reaches a key milestone

WIND: Ohio officials have signed off on the application for an offshore wind farm in Lake Erie, allowing a formal review of the project to begin. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ALSO: How lack of a consistent federal policy is preventing Ohio and other states from developing stronger industries around wind energy. (American Prospect)

***SPONSORED LINK: Energy leaders — make your nominations today for the 2017 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40. Open to nominations from all sectors involved in the Midwest’s energy transition.***

• Utilities and clean energy advocates in Illinois see smart thermostats as a key energy-management tool in the future. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Minnesota city is replacing nearly 2,000 streetlights with LEDs.

Ohio Republicans will try again to roll back strict wind turbine setbacks

ELECTRIC CARS: Advocates say despite Michigan’s legacy as “the automotive capital of the world,” the state is lagging on policies supporting electric cars and compressed natural gas. (Midwest Energy News)

• Republican lawmakers in Ohio will again seek to ease setbacks in the state, saying strict rules passed in 2014 are stifling clean energy development. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• The U.S. has 40 percent more wind farm projects under construction than it did a year ago, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association. (Houston Chronicle)

***SPONSORED LINK: Energy leaders — make your nominations today for the 2017 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40. Open to nominations from all sectors involved in the Midwest’s energy transition.***

• An executive from TransCanada Corp., which has been granted permission to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline, says the company is still debating whether to move forward with the project. (The Hill)
• Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline in Nebraska begin erecting solar panels in the pipeline’s path. (NTV)
• Skeptics in the oil industry question whether Keystone XL is still needed.

While promoting coal, U.S. energy secretary misstates how supply and demand work

COAL: Energy Secretary Rick Perry says coal plants are needed for reliability, while also misstating how supply and demand work. (Associated Press, WFPL)

ALSO: Mississippi regulators pull the plug on the Kemper “clean coal” plant, ordering a utility to fuel the plant with natural gas instead. (Atlanta Business Chronicle)

OIL AND GAS: The Interior Department issues an order to accelerate permitting for drilling on federal lands. (Washington Post)

• In March and April, output from U.S. nuclear power plants was surpassed by renewable energy for the first time since 1984. (Bloomberg)
• A federal report warns that hackers are targeting companies that operate nuclear power plants.

Despite Trump push for fossil fuels, investors remain bullish on clean energy

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Investors continue to have a strong interest in renewable energy projects despite the Trump administration’s emphasis on fossil fuels. (Reuters)

• Montana regulators drastically cut incentives for clean energy, now the lowest in the Northwest. (Billings Gazette)
• The U.S. Conference of Mayors, who represent a 148 million people and 41.8 percent of the country’s electricity use, plans to vote this weekend on making 100 percent renewable energy targets a top policy priority over the next decade. (Huffington Post)

WIND: President Trump’s criticism of wind energy during a speech this week in Iowa didn’t sit well in a state that has bipartisan support for the industry. (Associated Press)

• Why California sometimes has to pay neighboring states to take its excess solar power.