Enbridge says report on its own website about Mackinac pipeline is only hypothetical

EFFICIENCY:
• Missouri lawmakers look to open energy efficiency subsidies to owners of thousands of mutli-family buildings who have blocked from doing so under state law. (Midwest Energy News)
• Federal appliance efficiency standards signed into law under President Reagan save Ohio residents hundreds of dollars annually, and advocates hope Congress and President Trump will hold them in place. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

PIPELINES:
• Enbridge officials deny a report on the company website saying its Straits of Mackinac oil and gas pipeline is losing its protective coating. (Detroit Free Press)
• The Army formally ends an environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)
• A North Dakota judge dismisses trespassing charges against three Dakota Access pipeline protesters.

Minnesota lawmakers advance bill bypassing regulators on natural gas plant

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Michigan utility withdraws plans for a $15 million statewide electric vehicle charging network after facing broad criticism over how the plan would be funded. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL AND GAS:
• Minnesota lawmakers approve a bill to bypass state utility regulators and allow Xcel Energy to build a natural gas plant to replace coal-burning units. (Associated Press)
• The developer of the proposed NEXUS gas pipeline says opponents are too late in arguing that northwest Ohio is prone to earthquakes and that the project shouldn’t move forward. (Toledo Blade)

SOLAR:
• A utility-backed bill to repeal Indiana’s net metering program moves forward. (Associated Press)
• A Minnesota county takes pride in being dubbed the state’s “solar capital.” (Chisago County Press)
• Plans move forward for a solar project at a former landfill in Ohio.

Report: Renewable energy standards have brought $3 billion in investment to Michigan

MINNESOTA: Two key opponents of a Minnesota bill allowing Xcel Energy to bypass regulatory approval for a major natural gas plant drop their opposition after lawmakers add more protections for ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: Michigan utilities met or exceeded renewable energy standards created under a 2008 law, which generated about $3 billion in investment in the state, according to a new state report. (UPI)

***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:
• Rooftop solar owners in Ann Arbor, Michigan are still frustrated by what the city says are a lack of options when it comes to property tax increases by owning panels. (MLive)
• Local officials finalize the sale of city-owned land to develop an Indiana city’s first solar project.

Independent power producers file lawsuit to block Illinois nuclear subsidies

ILLINOIS: Four companies that own coal and gas plants in Illinois file a lawsuit to stop legislation passed in late 2016 that provides subsidies to Exelon’s struggling nuclear plants in Illinois. (Quad-City Times)

POLICY: As in Michigan, Ohio Republicans are back on a path to weaken the state’s renewable and efficiency standards despite clean energy support from those states’ Republican governors late last year. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

HYDRO:
• Separate research teams at the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are tackling engineering, social and environmental concerns associated with hydroelectric generation. (Midwest Energy News)
• Michigan’s network of aging dams that once supplied hydropower pose flood risks, though not to the scale of the worsening situation in Oroville, California. (Detroit Free Press)

WIND: A Wisconsin-based electric cooperative will begin purchasing 80 megawatts of wind energy from an Iowa project.

Judge denies temporary restraining order on Dakota Access construction

SOLAR:
• Iowa advocates are concerned about a utility’s distributed generation pilot program they believe would limit the amount of energy solar customers are allowed to offset on their electricity bill. (Midwest Energy News)
• An Indiana school district moves forward on a project adding solar panels at four of the district’s five schools. (The Times of Northwest Indiana)

PIPELINES:
• A federal judge denies a temporary restraining order seeking to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, but he will require the developer to provide weekly updates of when oil begins to flow. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Analysts say the Trump administration’s newfound focus on pipelines won’t be a panacea for steel demand in Minnesota’s Iron Range. (Minnesota Public Radio)

***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.

Wind manufacturing, generation has been surging in North Dakota

POLICY: The Michigan Republican now steering energy policy discussions in the state House says everything is “on the table” in revisiting the state’s new energy laws, but he faces a Senate that is skeptical about dissecting two years’ worth of work. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
• Turbine manufacturing and generation has recently began to “surge” in North Dakota. (Forum News Service)
• A South Dakota county struggles with adopting new regulations for wind turbines. (Watertown Public Opinion)
• A legal dispute around the output of wind turbines in South Dakota is ongoing as Consolidated Edison Development takes over the project. (Watertown Public Opinion)

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

Gov. Dayton backs revised bill allowing Xcel to build natural gas plant

MINNESOTA: Gov. Mark Dayton supports a version of a bill that would allow Xcel Energy to build a major natural gas plant to replace coal-burning units but that doesn’t fully bypass state utility regulators. (Minnesota Public Radio)

EFFICIENCY:
• A new report says Minnesota could create 15,000 jobs and save more than $3.1 billion by reducing energy use in municipal buildings, universities, schools and hospitals. (Midwest Energy News)
• Clean energy advocates say new building efficiency codes adopted in St. Louis County, Missouri are “by far the weakest” they have seen in the Midwest. (St.

Final Dakota Access pipeline construction to begin immediately

OIL AND GAS:
• Advocates pushing for the permanent closure of Enbridge’s Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac say the pipeline is not needed to process propane for residents in the Upper Peninsula. (Midwest Energy News)
• An attorney calls Spectra Energy’s apparent oversight of an Ohio fault line “an astonishing screw-up” that could complicate the company’s efforts to build the NEXUS pipeline there. (Toledo Blade)

SOLAR:
• Despite adding more than 1,000 solar industry jobs in 2016, some company leaders say Ohio’s two-year clean energy “freeze” prevented even more growth. (Midwest Energy News)
• A major community solar project comes online in northern Michigan. (WWTV)

***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.

U.S. Army approves final piece of Dakota Access pipeline; Standing Rock Sioux promise a legal fight

PIPELINES:
• The U.S. Army approves construction of the Dakota Access pipeline across a disputed section in North Dakota, clearing the way for the project’s completion; the Standing Rock Sioux vow to challenge the decision in court. (Associated Press)
• A federal judge says Dakota Access pipeline protesters involved with violent confrontations with police in November are unlikely to succeed in a lawsuit alleging excessive force and civil rights violations. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLES:
• Minnesota’s largest utility will begin a program this spring allowing businesses and ratepayers to buy electricity directly from two renewable energy projects, though critics say it’s in direct competition with community solar. (Midwest Energy News)
• DTE Energy in Michigan is launching a similar pilot program allowing ratepayers to invest directly in renewable energy projects. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

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

Decision on final permit needed to build Dakota Access could come this week

RENEWABLES: Seven companies — including Wal-Mart, Target and General Motors — have indicated support for a proposed bill in Missouri that would allow them to bypass their utility and purchase power directly from a renewable generator. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES:
• The U.S. Army secretary could issue a decision as early as Friday on the final permit needed to build the Dakota Access pipeline. (Reuters)
• North Dakota House lawmakers advance four bills that give law enforcement more tools to respond to Dakota Access protests and that stiffen penalties for some offenses. (Forum News Service)

***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:
• As President Trump moves to revive coal and other fossil fuels, U.S. utilities are turning to solar as “both an opportunity and a defensive maneuver.” (Associated Press)
• A Minneapolis brewery looks to offset 120 percent of its energy use through solar.