Judge allows oil to keep flowing through Dakota Access during review

PIPELINES:
• Two weeks before two highly anticipated studies about the future of Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline were to be published, the state of Michigan terminates an agreement with one of the contractors, citing a conflict of interest with an employee. (Midwest Energy News)
• A judge allows oil to keep flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline this summer while further environmental review is conducted. (Reuters)

GRID: A new report by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation says the power grid is remaining reliable and resilient amid the growth of variable, distributed generation. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: As wind energy deployment grows in the Great Plains, opponents raise questions about its reliability, though experts say there isn’t cause for concern. (NPR)

NUCLEAR: A Michigan utility is among several in the U.S. with a construction and operating license for a new nuclear reactor that “creates an option down the road.” (Utility Dive)

COAL: Ohio coal CEO Robert Murray files a defamation lawsuit against TV host John Oliver over a segment critical of Murray and the coal industry.

Ohio plan to subsidize aging coal plants ‘might not pass at all’

OHIO:
• A statewide budget bill advancing in Ohio includes an amendment that critics say is another attempt at a “bailout” for the state’s utilities, and another that would ease wind turbine setbacks. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Senate committee also rejects a request by Cuyahoga County to extend a power purchase agreement for wind and solar projects by 10 years. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COAL: Uncertainty grows as a plan to subsidize two coal plants in Ohio and Indiana are no longer on a fast track and “might not pass at all.” (Columbus Dispatch)

UTILITIES: An effort is underway in a small Iowa city to create its own municipal utility, in part so the area can have more control over its access to renewable energy. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: The federal judge in a lawsuit over the Dakota Access pipeline says President Trump will not be added as a defendant in the case. (Associated Press)

EMISSIONS: Some Midwest states rank high nationally for total carbon dioxide emissions as well as average CO2 emission rates.

Wisconsin groups challenge frac sand permits that would fill wetlands

COAL:
• As Ohio lawmakers consider subsidies for two uneconomic coal plants, a new report shows market forces — especially lower prices from shale gas development — are behind the general decline of coal plants’ competitiveness. (Midwest Energy News)
• New U.S. Energy Information figures show coal is still the dominant generation fuel in the Midwest. (Utility Dive)

FRAC SAND: Environmental groups are challenging a decision last month by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to grant permits for a frac sand mining operation that would fill 16.25 acres of wetlands. (LaCrosse Tribune)

SOLAR:
• A Minnesota utility announces plans to plant pollinator habitat at an upcoming solar installation and at local substations. (Northfield News)
• A Minnesota couple’s efforts to promote pollinator-friendly solar gardens are receiving national attention.

Entrepreneur launches successful solar company in Missouri

REGULATION: Advocates say new regulatory changes in Michigan will pave the way for more distributed generation owned by independent producers. (Midwest Energy News)

EFFICIENCY:
• A recent report finds utilities based in Minnesota and Illinois are among the most energy efficient in the country despite relatively low electricity prices. (Midwest Energy News)
• South Dakota regulators approve plans by Xcel Energy to increase rates for energy efficiency projects. (Rapid City Journal)

SOLAR: A Missouri resident launches a successful solar installation company despite political opposition. (St.

Michigan wind project expansion to start construction three years ahead of schedule

POLICY: While the bill is unlikely to pass, Michigan Democrats say a proposal for a 50 percent renewable energy standard is intended to “set up a new frontier of where we should be looking.” (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: Michigan regulators approve a plan for Consumers Energy to start construction on a wind project three years ahead of schedule. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES:
• Oil shippers say they were surprised by a judge’s ruling this week ordering further environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline, but they are optimistic it won’t cause a long-term disruption of service. (Associated Press)
• Advocates are preparing for the next round of deliberations over the Dakota Access pipeline, hoping to shut down the flow of oil. (Reuters)

SOLAR:
• An Illinois school district says it could generate new revenue and lower maintenance costs by building a solar project at a former landfill site. (Lake County News-Sun)
• Students at the University of Missouri are researching lighter, more portable and cheaper solar cells to be deployed in developing countries.

Advocates pushing to ease Ohio wind turbine setback restrictions through budget bill

PIPELINES: A federal judge orders the Trump administration to conduct further environmental reviews of the Dakota Access pipeline, but stopped short of halting oil-pumping operations. (Washington Post) 

WIND:
• Advocates are pressing Ohio lawmakers this week to include a provision in a budget bill that eases setback restrictions for turbines. (Columbus Dispatch)
• As Geronimo Energy develops wind projects across the Midwest, the company’s CEO says he wants to “make certain the farms are taken care of.” (KEYC)
• Officials are investigating the cause of a wind turbine’s collapse in southeast Nebraska. (Lincoln Journal Star)

NUCLEAR: With the glut of cheap natural gas putting pressure on nuclear plants and the inability of wind and solar to replace the generation, longtime anti-nuclear environmental groups are rethinking their position. (New York Times)

OIL AND GAS: A countywide economic development agency is partnering with universities in North Dakota to hedge against the boom-and-bust cycle of oil patch jobs.

Advocates say coal plant is impeding lakefront development in Illinois city

STORAGE: Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are exploring the potential for “self-healing” energy storage batteries that could respond to deterioration after wear and tear. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE:
• A report finds carbon emissions from the power sector have dropped to 1990 levels; Ohio-based American Electric Power is still the top emitter despite being only the sixth largest energy producer. (InsideClimate News)
• A survey at the University of Michigan finds a majority of Americans believe states should take the lead to address climate change if the federal government fails to act. (Michigan Radio)

COAL: Advocates in Waukegan, Illinois say a coal-burning power plant is impeding development in the community along Lake Michigan after decades of dealing with industrial pollution. (Pacific Standard)

EFFICIENCY:
• Some residents in a St. Paul, Minnesota neighborhood say the switch to LED streetlights has been intrusive.

Developer sues Minnesota town for refusing community solar permit

FINANCE: Advocates are hopeful that Illinois will become the 20th state with Property Assessed Clean Energy financing for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects after receiving strong support in the legislature. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• A developer files suit against a Minnesota town over its refusal to allow the company to build a 5-megawatt community solar project. (Courthouse News Service)
• Plans by an Indiana city to lease land for a 1,000-panel solar project move forward. (Goshen News)

WIND: Two planned wind projects in Indiana are facing organized opposition from some residents, though proponents say their claims are unfounded. (Crawfordsville Journal Review)

EMISSIONS: Iowa’s attorney general joins 12 other states in preparing to challenge any efforts by the Trump administration to roll back vehicle emission rules.

TransCanada asks U.S. State Department to pause oil pipeline review

GRID:
• Researchers with the Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium in Illinois are working to build trust in the power grid, particularly when faced with cybersecurity threats. (Midwest Energy News)
• A planned 125-mile transmission line through southwest Wisconsin is pitting environmental groups against each other. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

PIPELINES: TransCanada asks the U.S. State Department to pause its review of the Upland Pipeline that would carry oil from North Dakota to Canada. (Bismarck Tribune)

WIND: Some residents in central Illinois hope to halt construction on a 139-turbine wind project through litigation. (Decatur Herald & Review)

SOLAR:
• A proposed array at a Madison technical college would be Wisconsin’s largest.

Plan to subsidize Ohio nuclear plants appears to be stalled

NUCLEAR:
• 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)

SOLAR:
• 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.