Advocates call pipeline approval a ‘quiet Keystone XL’

UTILITIES: Ratepayers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula could see up to a $24 million refund for costs they’ve paid to continue operating a Wisconsin utility’s aging coal plant there, federal regulators ruled Thursday. Meanwhile, fraud claims against the plant’s owner will get a closer look by federal officials. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES:
• Advocates say federal approval of the final piece of Enbridge’s Alberta Clipper pipeline represents a “quiet Keystone XL.” (InsideClimate News)
• Activists disrupt a hearing in Duluth, Minnesota over Enbridge’s plans to replace and expand its Line 3 pipeline. (Associated Press)
• Obstruction and disorderly conduct charges are dismissed against a photojournalist covering the Dakota Access pipeline protest last year. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: Registration is now open for the 2017 Veteran’s Energy Seminar on December 14 in Chicago.

Trump directs EPA to table plans to weaken biofuel mandate

SOLAR: Cities in Nebraska and Ohio are among a growing number to approve “plug and play” solar devices that make it easier and less costly to install solar panels at homes. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUELS:
• President Trump has reportedly directed the U.S. EPA to table plans that would weaken federal biofuel mandates, apparently in response to pressure from top lawmakers from Iowa. (Bloomberg)
• A county in northeast South Dakota looks to use a 30 percent ethanol blend in its vehicle fleet to save money on fuel. (Watertown Public Opinion)

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Iowa senator would stall EPA nominees if Renewable Fuel Standard scaled back

SOLAR: While opposed by many companies within the U.S. solar industry, proposed tariffs on imported crystalline silicon solar cells could create opportunity for one Ohio manufacturer. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• There is a gap developing between community solar projects that are ready to be built in Illinois under new energy laws and how those programs will be implemented. (PV Magazine)
• The mayor of Bloomington, Indiana discusses plans to increase the city’s usage of solar to power more than two dozen facilities. (Indiana Daily Student)

***SPONSORED LINK: Learn about the latest development in Microgrids from a commercial/business standpoint and a technical perspective both. Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at our 2017 Microgrids member meeting and technical conference on October 19 in Milwaukee.

Minnesota judge allows unusual defense for climate activists who shut down pipelines

EMISSIONS: An analysis finds Minnesota-based Great River Energy’s electric water heater program emits substantially more carbon than heaters using natural gas or propane because the utility still depends on coal for two-thirds of its generation. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE: A district court judge in Minnesota allows climate activists to use the “necessity” of confronting the climate crisis as justification for temporarily shutting down two crude oil pipelines last year, which one expert calls “extremely unusual.” (InsideClimate News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Learn about the latest development in Microgrids from a commercial/business standpoint and a technical perspective both. Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at our 2017 Microgrids member meeting and technical conference on October 19th in Milwaukee, WI. Learn more and register to attend by clicking here.***

UTILITIES: Environmental groups appeal an August decision by Ohio utility regulators they say allows for a “bailout” of FirstEnergy’s uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. (Toledo Blade)

BIOFUELS: The governors of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and South Dakota co-sign a letter to President Trump expressing concern about potential changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

In Ohio and Illinois, new efforts to support coal and nuclear plants

UTILITIES: Less than a year after state funding for microgrids was rejected by the Illinois legislature, the utility ComEd is turning to ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• Dynegy will seek state support for some of its coal plants from Illinois legislators during an upcoming veto session. (Crain’s Chicago Business)
• PJM Interconnection could impose new charges to offset the impacts of subsidies for nuclear plants in Illinois. (Crain’s Chicago Business)
• An newly introduced Ohio bill would create ratepayer subsidies for struggling nuclear plants. (News-Herald)
• Changes in the way independent power producers are compensated could force a Michigan waste-to-energy plant to close.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin recognized as a leader in solar development

Recognizing the important work of some of the many Midwest clean energy leaders — a list of Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 honorees is now online. CLEAN TECH: An Illinois-based startup develops a network that makes it easier for energy companies and other firms to trade commodities like renewable energy, oil and natural gas. (Midwest Energy News)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• A municipal utility in Missouri plans to keep investing in wind and solar due to declining prices despite efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan. (Springfield News-Leader)
• Clean energy groups are ready to challenge the U.S. EPA in court if it doesn’t fully replace the Clean Power Plan. (E&E News)
• Illinois coal producers praise the Trump administration’s efforts.

Judge rules Dakota Access pipeline can continue operating during review

Recognizing the important work of some of the many Midwest clean energy leaders — a list of Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 honorees is now online. PIPELINES:
• A federal judge rules that the Dakota Access pipeline can remain in operation while an environmental impact study is completed. (Associated Press)
• Enbridge defends its plans for a pipeline replacement and expansion project in northern Minnesota, saying it’s necessary to maintain adequate oil supplies. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: Minnesota and Michigan are among the top 10 states for solar installation growth between the second quarters of 2016 and 2017; eight of the 10 fastest-growing solar states supported President Trump in the election. (Reuters)

***SPONSORED LINK: Learn about the latest development in Microgrids from a commercial/business standpoint and a technical perspective both.

Repealing Clean Power Plan unlikely to slow growth of renewable energy in Iowa

Recognizing the important work of some of the many Midwest clean energy leaders — a list of Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 honorees is online. COAL: A plan by the Trump administration to rescue uneconomic coal plants has done little to ease the pall of anxiety hanging over two Ohio River counties. (Midwest Energy News)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• In Missouri and elsewhere, market forces are already driving coal-plant retirements amid efforts to repeal the Clean Power Plan. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• A Minnesota Republican lawmaker says he’s “proud that Minnesota companies and elected officials have taken it upon themselves to work to reduce carbon emissions without the heavy hand of the federal government demanding so.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
• A variety of stakeholders in Iowa say the EPA’s efforts are unlikely to slow the growth of wind energy in the state.

Michigan utility says repealing Clean Power Plan would not change its course

COAL: In a new report, the Union of Concerned Scientists finds 2.6 gigawatts of uneconomic coal plants in the Midwest, even after eight years of a relatively high number of plant closures. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: As Michigan researchers set out to formally analyze the risk of of a pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac, some advocates say the findings could provide enough evidence for the state to take action to shut it down. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Learn about the latest development in Microgrids from a commercial/business standpoint and a technical perspective both. Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at our 2017 Microgrids member meeting and technical conference on October 19th in Milwaukee, WI. Learn more and register to attend by clicking here.***

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt says he will repeal the Clean Power Plan today while declaring the “war on coal is over,” ending an Obama-era rule designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector. (Reuters)
• Detroit-based DTE Energy says the prospect of repealing the Clean Power Plan does not change its plans to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.

Iowa program to boost private solar installations exceeding expectations

NOTE TO READERS: Your support helps keep Midwest Energy News running. Thanks to News Match, contributions up to $1,000 will be matched through the end of the year. Click here to donate! SOLAR: A county environmental manager in Iowa says a program aiming to increase the number of private solar installations has “far exceeded our expectations.” (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

ALSO:
• Officials in Ann Arbor, Michigan are moving forward with plans to add solar panels at parking garages and surface lots to help power electric vehicle charging stations. (MLive)
• An automobile dealership in Illinois is seeing the benefits of installing rooftop solar panels. (Southern Illinoisan)

***SPONSORED LINK: Learn about the latest development in Microgrids from a commercial/business standpoint and a technical perspective both.