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.
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.
• Legislation to subsidize FirstEnergy’s Ohio nuclear plants appears to be stalled in committee. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• With the exception of Illinois, similar plans to support nuclear plants have failed to gain traction in other states. (Bloomberg)
EFFICIENCY: An expansion of the opt-out provisions for Ohio’s energy efficiency standard will likely lead to over $6 billion in added energy and health costs over the next decade, according to a new report. (Midwest Energy News)
ELECTRIC CARS: Advocates for electric vehicles in Minnesota explain why they think a new $75 annual fee is too high. (Midwest Energy News)
• The U.S. adds 2 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter of 2017, as utility-scale system prices drop below $1 per watt for the first time, according to a new report.
GRID: Advocates say regulators in many states aren’t moving fast enough on grid modernization. (Midwest Energy News)
ALSO: Duke Energy seeks a rider to pay for grid modernization in Ohio, and plans a 10 MW battery storage project. (Utility Dive / Energy Choice Matters)
CLIMATE: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to sign an executive order committing the city to the Paris climate accord. (WBBM)
NATURAL GAS: Utilities in Minnesota and Wisconsin plan a 700 MW natural gas plant. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
OHIO: An Ohio Republican seeks a compromise on a legislation to weaken the state’s renewable energy standards to gain Gov. John Kasich’s support.
MINNESOTA: Recently passed energy legislation in Minnesota will significantly change the state’s renewable energy fund and eliminate regulatory oversight of fixed charges for rural co-ops and small municipal utilities. (Midwest Energy News)
GRID: An Illinois utility’s microgrid is unique in that it will be able to “island” residential customers in an outage. (Midwest Energy News)
COAL: Coal mining is “not the big dog anymore” in southern Illinois. (E&E News)
COAL ASH: Advocates continue to raise concern about the threat of coal ash contamination to Illinois’ only designated scenic river. (WAND)
• A Canadian company revives a northern Minnesota solar plant.
CLIMATE: Minnesota becomes the first Midwest state to join the U.S. Climate Alliance, a group of states committed to upholding Paris Agreement targets despite President Trump’s pledge to withdraw from the accord. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• The CEO of Wisconsin-based We Energies says despite Trump’s decision, the company still anticipates tougher carbon regulations in the future. (WUWM)
• More than 1,200 corporations, academic institutions and state and local governments have committed to upholding U.S. climate action. (Climate Central)
• An Illinois professor discusses what exiting the Paris Agreement means for Midwest agriculture. (Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting)
CLEANTECH: A report finds venture capitalists are losing interest in clean energy, apart from software development, and much of their investments are focused outside the Midwest.
NUCLEAR: An Exelon nuclear plant in Illinois did not clear the latest PJM capacity auction, as low prices suggest a challenging market for demand response and coal plants as well. (Quad-City Times, Greentech Media, POWER magazine)
• Officials from northwest Ohio ask state lawmakers to repeal restrictions on wind farms, as an industry report suggest the rules will prevent nearly $1.6 billion in economic development. (Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• An Iowa researcher says his design for concrete wind towers passed stress tests and will be viable for turbines up to 460 feet tall; more information on the technology here. (news release, Midwest Energy News archive)
***SPONSORED LINK: Smart Cities Technologies in Wisconsin is taking place on June 6 in Milwaukee. Organized by the Midwest Energy Research Consortium and the City of Milwaukee, this workshop will explore how cities like Milwaukee are adopting Smart Cities Technologies.
NUCLEAR: FirstEnergy continues to push for state subsidies for its nuclear plants even after the Ohio House stopped hearings on legislation, saying its subsidiary will go bankrupt without the assistance. (Toledo Blade, Columbus Dispatch)
• A Missouri utility is the latest to adopt inclining block rates, which create a larger financial incentive for customers to use less electricity. (Midwest Energy News)
• Ottumwa, Iowa, is the latest city to join Alliant’s Hometown Rewards efficiency program. (Ottumwa Courier)
***SPONSORED LINK: Network with 450-plus solar, storage and utility execs at the 4th Annual Midwest Solar Expo & Smart Energy Symposium, May 22-24 in Minneapolis. Gain the latest market insights and trends while networking with hundreds of industry leaders.
• In Texas, Energy Secretary Rick Perry praises a carbon-capture project as a way to advance “conventional sources of energy.” (Texas Tribune)
• EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt tells Pennsylvania coal miners that “the regulatory assault is over”; his visit was at a mine owned by a company trying to exit the coal industry because of market forces. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, New Republic)
• The Trump administration is postponing enforcement of a rule to prevent toxic wastewater discharges from coal plants. (Washington Post)
• A new poll shows more people think President Trump can save the coal industry, even as most accept climate change. (Greentech Media)
• Some workers are failing to show up at nuclear construction sites amid the Westinghouse bankruptcy.
FRACKING: While the cause of a recent earthquake in Ohio remains unclear, it’s raising questions about the prospect of more oil and gas activity in Wayne National Forest. (Midwest Energy News)
GRID: At a conference in Chicago this week, attendees grappled with the question of who should pay for smart grid upgrades when the value isn’t immediately apparent. (Midwest Energy News)
***SPONSORED LINK: Stay current on the newest developments in the energy economy by attending the Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference April 24-25 in Columbia, Missouri. For registration and details: www.AdvancingRenewables.org.***
• Advocates say they can defeat a bill in Missouri that would allow significant increases in fixed costs for utility customers. (Midwest Energy News)
• An industry publication calls an Indiana solar bill “a fascinating Trojan horse.”