Critics question the value of ComEd’s Bronzeville microgrid project

RESEARCH: Analysts in Minnesota are joining others across the country to create standardized data from utilities to help counties and cities understand energy use for climate programs. (Midwest Energy News)

TRADE:
• In a high profile trade case, the Trump administration will impose a 30 percent tariff on imported solar photovoltaic modules and cells. The tariffs will decline by 5 percent each year until 2022. (Utility Dive)
• Solar advocates say the decision will cost tens of thousands of jobs in the U.S., while some analysts say proposed plans could have been more damaging. (Bloomberg)
• Chinese officials expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the decision being pursued under U.S. law rather than through the World Trade Organization. (Associated Press)

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North Dakota oil industry fails to meet flaring target

SOLAR: Federal researchers will plant pollinator-friendly habitat and other crops at three Minnesota solar farms. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• A Wisconsin county moves forward with a plan to install solar arrays at two government buildings. (Capital Times)
• Solar panels being installed on the Minnesota Senate building will generate up to 12 percent of the building’s electricity needs. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• A solar developer submits plans to county zoning authorities for a 2 MW solar facility in rural Peoria. (Peoria Journal Star)
• A regional solar initiative in Indiana may have reached a tipping point after a five-fold increase in residential installations. (Elkhart Truth)

***SPONSORED LINK: Present, advertise, exhibit, or sponsor to connect with 13,000 attendees regarding renewable energy, efficiency, and sustainability at The Energy Fair, June 15-17 in Custer, WI.

Keystone XL pipeline fully subscribed, though hurdles remain

PIPELINES: TransCanada says its Keystone XL pipeline is fully subscribed for potential shipments, though hurdles remain before construction can begin. (InsideClimate News)

SOLAR: A small Iowa city moves closer to energy independence with the completion of a 1.87-megawatt solar array. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Present, advertise, exhibit, or sponsor to connect with 13,000 attendees regarding renewable energy, efficiency, and sustainability at The Energy Fair, June 15-17 in Custer, WI. Exhibit early bird deadline 2/15.***

MORE SOLAR:
• A western Illinois city considers selling 17 acres at a business park for a solar project. (Tri-States Public Radio)
• Minnesota ranks third in the nation in funding commercial solar projects through Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

General Motors says better transmission needed to meet wind, solar demand

GRID: General Motors’s future growth will depend on greater access to wind and solar generation through expanded transmission lines. The Detroit company has pledged to get 100 percent of electricity from renewables by 2050. (Bloomberg)

EFFICIENCY: A Wisconsin nonprofit is successfully using gaming as a way to promote energy efficiency behavior. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Get connected! Join MEEA and 650 energy efficiency innovators at the 2018 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, February 7-9 in Chicago. Don’t miss out — register today.***

FRAC SAND: A prospective frac sand company with claims to thousands of acres in southeastern Minnesota will challenge a county’s frac sand mining ban in a higher court.

Michigan groups release their own plan to shut down Line 5 pipeline

CLEAN TECH: Manufacturing sensors and controls for advanced energy purposes is a major economic opportunity for Wisconsin, a new report concludes. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES:
• An Iowa town’s plan to create a municipally owned utility is financially feasible and could lower customers’ bills, a consultant’s study finds. (Midwest Energy News)
• A northern Michigan electric cooperative now gets 56 percent of its energy supplies from carbon-free sources. (Cadillac News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, Jan.

Ohio agency concerned about potential spills from Rover gas pipeline construction

SOLAR: Ohio utilities and their opponents dug into their positions at a hearing over proposed rule changes to net metering in the state. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• A solar-powered hybrid heat-and-electric system tested in Illinois could someday have uses in microgrids, energy storage, and large commercial applications. (Midwest Energy News)
• The mayor of a southern Illinois city wants to invest more in solar energy to power city operations. (Southern Illinoisan)
• School districts in Ohio and Indiana are “among a small but growing number of districts nationwide to adopt solar energy.” (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)
• Some solar projects in Michigan are on hold while state regulators finalize rules that compensate independent power producers for their generation. (Port Huron Times Herald)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit.

Nebraska utility exceeds targets as renewable energy sales reach 30 percent

WIND: After claims were dismissed in federal court last year against a wind project in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, landowners seek relief from state courts in what could be a long-shot victory to claim the turbines cause negative health impacts. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: A Nebraska utility exceeded its targets in 2017 as renewable energy — mostly from wind — accounted for 30 percent of retail sales and more than doubled over the previous year. (Omaha World-Herald)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Madison. Register Today!***

PIPELINES: If it overcomes challenges, construction on Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement and expansion project could start as early as this summer.

Poll: Ohio conservatives support clean energy, oppose coal and nuclear ‘bailouts’

RENEWABLES: Clean energy advocates are hopeful that newly appointed member of Missouri’s Public Service Commission will support policies that spur renewable energy development. (Midwest Energy News)

OHIO: A new poll finds conservative voters in Ohio oppose special charges to bolster coal and nuclear plants and support various clean energy initiatives. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, January 18th, in Madison, WI. Register Today!***

SOLAR:
• Environmental groups say Ohio regulators made a mistake in scaling back incentives for net-metering programs, while utilities support the decision. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A developer has finalized its plans for a 20-megawatt solar project in southwest Michigan, which it hopes will be operational in 2019 or 2020. (Sturgis Journal)
• A northern Illinois town considers a proposal for two 10-acre solar projects at its municipal airport.

Confidential memo suggests White House fulfilling Ohio coal baron’s wish list

COAL:
• The Trump administration appears to be following through on several sweeping requests from the CEO of Ohio-based Murray Energy to bolster the coal industry. (New York Times)
• Murray also called federal regulators’ rejection this week of a Department of Energy plan to support coal and nuclear plants a “bureaucratic cop-out,” while utilities in Ohio consider next steps. (Associated Press, WKSU)

CLEAN ENERGY: Minnesota’s clean energy and emission-reduction plans include expanding the state’s electric vehicle fleet, rehabbing state-owned buildings and adding solar panels to rooftops. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, Jan. 18, in Madison. Register Today!***

WIND:
• Local planners in an eastern Michigan county support extending a moratorium on wind energy development for another year.

FirstEnergy plants in jeopardy after FERC rejects coal, nuclear proposal

UTILITIES: Ohio-based American Electric Power forgot to notify the public about hearings on its latest case that will set rates and rider fees through 2024 for its customers, adding uncertainty to the proposal. (Midwest Energy News)

POLICY:
• Federal energy regulators reject a Department of Energy proposal that would have provided financial support to coal and nuclear plants, a plan backed by Ohio-based FirstEnergy and Murray Energy. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Grid operators now have 60 days to respond on whether any action should be taken at all, while FirstEnergy says some of its plants are still in jeopardy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join SEIA’s CEO Abigail Hopper, clean energy communications expert Jane Bloch, utility executives and industry experts at RENEW Wisconsin’s “Connecting to a Powerful Future” Summit. Thursday, January 18th, in Madison, WI. Register Today!***

SOLAR:
• Advocates in Michigan say state regulators are moving too quickly to redesign net metering for solar customers, saying it hasn’t been determined whether such customers provide net benefits to the grid.