Trump officials fan out to promote ‘conventional’ energy

COAL:
• 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)

NUCLEAR:
• Some workers are failing to show up at nuclear construction sites amid the Westinghouse bankruptcy.

Ohio State seeks to become energy leader in $1 billion deal

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.***

SOLAR:
• 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.”

Illinois clean energy industry sees bright future despite EPA cuts

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Clean energy companies in Illinois say their industry will continue to grow despite the threat of cuts to the EPA. (Chicago Tribune)

OIL AND GAS: An attorney warns an oil and gas conference in Ohio that massive cuts to EPA staff could actually harm their industry; attendees are otherwise optimistic about the Trump administration. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch)

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PIPELINES: Michigan’s attorney general, along with other state officials, seek answers from Enbridge on whether oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac are losing their protective coating; a new report further questions the safety of the pipelines. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Michigan Radio)

ALSO:
• Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is recusing himself from review of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Ohio Republicans try again to make energy standards voluntary

OHIO: Republican lawmakers in Ohio introduce a bill that will once again attempt to make the state’s renewable energy and efficiency standards voluntary. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ALSO: American Electric Power supports subsidies for FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants, a document FirstEnergy used to pitch lawmakers on its proposal has been removed from the internet. (Columbus Business First, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***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:
• A judge denies a last-ditch effort by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to stop the Dakota Access pipeline on religious grounds, tribal activists plan to continue protests against the project in Washington D.C. later this week. (Bismarck Tribune, Associated Press)
• Developers say oil could begin flowing through the pipeline as early as next week.

Trump team failed to reach consensus on EPA climate authority

POLITICS: A Senate committee advances Rick Perry’s nomination for Secretary of Energy; the full Senate is expected to confirm him in the coming weeks. (The Hill)

CLIMATE:
• A Trump transition team failed to reach a consensus over whether the administration should seek to overturn the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. (ClimateWire)
• A Florida Republican has drafted a bill that would “completely abolish” the U.S. EPA. (Huffington Post)
• The president of the National Academy of Sciences says “organized retreat” – protecting communities and key assets from climate change impacts – should be part of the broader discussion. (Scientific American)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the Energy Storage Conference, February 15 in Milwaukee.

Dark-money nonprofit lines up support for EPA nominee

EPA: In addition to backing from fossil fuel industries, President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the EPA, Scott Pruitt, now has support of a nonprofit that doesn’t have to disclose its donors. (Politico)

ALSO:
• Campaign finance rules would allow Pruitt’s PAC to continue raising money from industries he would oversee as EPA administrator. (EnergyWire)
• Many of Trump’s cabinet nominees have not completed background checks or ethical disclosures. (Washington Post)

***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!***

NUCLEAR:
• The Indian Point nuclear plant in New York will shut down by 2021 in a new agreement with the state.

Great Plains grid operator seeks to sell electricity to Canada

FRACKING: A federal forecast predicts increased natural gas production will make the U.S. a net energy exporter by 2026. (Reuters)

GRID:
• A 76-year-old power plant at an Illinois university is under consideration for a carbon capture project, highlighting the challenge of adapting aging infrastructure to modern climate initiatives. (Midwest Energy News)
• The Southwest Power Pool seeks permission to sell electricity into Canada. (Utility Dive)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives.

Minnesota utility seeks to separate its North Dakota resource decisions

UTILITIES: Xcel Energy, which serves both Minnesota and North Dakota, seeks to separate resource decisions for the two states. (Electric Light & Power)

EFFICIENCY: After significantly scaling back its efficiency efforts, an Ohio utility is moving forward with a new plan that includes key changes sought by advocates. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives. Use discount code MWEN for 15% off. Register today!

Ford announces $4.5 billion investment in new electric vehicles

ELECTRIC CARS:
• Ford announces a $4.5 billion investment in electric vehicles, including a proposed SUV with 300 miles of range. (MLive, CNET)
• A section of I-94 from Detroit to Fargo is among the routes the federal government is promoting as an electric vehicle corridor. (Alexandria Echo Press)

OHIO:
• While Ohio’s clean energy standards will resume this year, they remain weakened by a pair of 2014 laws. (Midwest Energy News)
• Leaders of Ohio’s House and Senate say the state needs a long-term energy plan that is “consistent and stable.” (Cleveland.com)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city.

Ohio renewable energy standards to resume this year

MICHIGAN: In an interview with Midwest Energy News, Gov. Rick Snyder praises recent legislation and discusses Michigan’s energy future. OHIO:
• State renewable energy standards will resume this year after Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill to make them voluntary; state Sen. Bill Seitz, who has tried for years to thwart the standards, accuses the governor of “appeasing his coastal elite friends.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Business First)
• Developers plan a new 1,650 MW natural gas plant in eastern Ohio. (Columbus Business First)

***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:
• “Solar is taking off in Minnesota” as a new utility-scale array doubles the state’s capacity and becomes the first solar farm integrated into the Midwest’s wholesale market.