Despite objections, first fracking permit issued in Illinois

FRACKING: Illinois regulators approve the first fracking permit under new state regulations, despite numerous concerns raised by advocates. (Springfield State Journal-Register, Midwest Energy News archive)

TRANSMISSION: Developers of a wind-energy transmission line recently rejected by Missouri regulators seek a rehearing. (RTO Insider)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the “Building the Case for Energy and Resource Efficiency” Conference, September 21, in Milwaukee. This conference will show simple steps to reduce energy costs, how to sell projects internally, and recent case studies of energy efficiency projects. Register here.***

TECHNOLOGY: Four teams of researchers in Illinois will receive millions in federal funding to advance projects in power electronics and converting forms of electricity. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Iowa lawmakers tour solar installations as advocates push for further investment in a state tax credit. (Solar Industry)
• Raising concerns about preserving farmland, a Michigan county moves to restrict solar development.

Planners in rural Michigan county see commercial solar as ‘existential threat’ to farmland

NOTE TO READERS: Midwest Energy News is taking a break for Labor Day. The email digest will return on Tuesday, September 5. SOLAR: A draft policy in an eastern Michigan county looks to restrict commercial solar development, calling it an “existential threat to the county’s agricultural economy.” (Huron Daily Tribune)

ALSO:
• As the solar sector challenges traditional business models across the U.S., Minnesota is among some states where utilities and regulators are taking a collaborative approach. (Yale Environment 360)
• A northwest Indiana school board unanimously approves plans to install solar panels at several of its schools. (Michigan City News-Dispatch)
• Six years after it was first announced, a 1.6-megawatt solar project is now under construction at a former foundry site in southern Michigan.

Michigan governor ‘greatly concerned’ by latest Mackinac pipeline issues

MICROGRID: Ameren and a Chicago-based engineering firm successfully tested the islanding capabilities of an Illinois microgrid for 24 hours using only solar, wind and battery storage. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES:
• Michigan agencies are calling on Enbridge to make immediate repairs to its Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac after sections were discovered to have protective coating missing, a development that has Gov. Rick Snyder “greatly concerned.” (Detroit News)
• Enbridge staff and emergency responders practice pipeline spill training on a river separating North Dakota and Minnesota. (Forum News Service)
• A hole discovered in a pipeline in North Dakota spills 500 barrels of saltwater byproduct, though the contamination was contained to a well site. (Bismarck Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the “Building the Case for Energy and Resource Efficiency” Conference, September 21, in Milwaukee. This conference will show simple steps to reduce energy costs, how to sell projects internally, and recent case studies of energy efficiency projects. Register here.***

TRANSPORTATION: A federal grant will help increase the number of compressed natural gas fueling stations along the interstate in western Kansas, an area experts say is lacking particularly for the trucking industry.

Top Wisconsin environmental regulator appointed to EPA Midwest office

REGULATION: The head of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources — who has questioned the role of human activity in climate change and last year ordered such information to be removed from state websites — is appointed to be the deputy administrator of the U.S. EPA office overseeing Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, where she will hold the top post until an administrator is appointed. (Wisconsin State Journal, The Hill)

EFFICIENCY: A bipartisan group of Ohio lawmakers saw firsthand how energy efficiency programs support good jobs as they met with union and business leaders last week at a Cleveland-area training facility. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: How significant is the role of energy in the Midwest economy? Find out at the 2017 Midwest Energy Policy Conference October 3-4. Join policy makers, businesses, advocates and regulators who’ll be broadening their perspectives on infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy economic development through diverse, fact-based presentations. Click here for details.***

FINANCE: Two West Michigan cities adopt Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing programs, but do so in a relatively uncommon way compared to other communities in the state. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES:
• Tribes fighting the Dakota Access pipeline say the developer is overstating the potential impacts of a shutdown and “brought potential problems on itself” by building the project despite the uncertainty of final federal approval. (Associated Press)
• Six people are arrested on trespassing charges near the Minnesota-Wisconsin border after stopping construction on the Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

Advocates say agreement with Ohio utility will lead to major clean energy investment

UTILITIES:
• A wide-ranging agreement between American Electric Power and several groups calls for multiple new clean energy investments, though consumer advocates are opposed because it would “lock-in subsidies for its power plants, subsidies for special interests, and various other charges.” (Columbus Dispatch)
• Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy formally ask Kansas regulators to approve a $14 billion merger announced in July. (Topeka Capital Journal)

SUSTAINABILITY: An environmental camp in Northern Minnesota faces the challenges of having new facilities certified under rigorous net-zero building standards. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the “Building the Case for Energy and Resource Efficiency” Conference, September 21, in Milwaukee. This conference will show simple steps to reduce energy costs, how to sell projects internally, and recent case studies of energy efficiency projects. Register here.***

PIPELINES:
• Ohio residents will continue to fight the planned NEXUS gas pipeline despite construction approval by federal regulators. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• North Dakota regulators meet behind closed doors to consider a counter-proposal made by the Dakota Access developer to settle multiple issues around the construction of the pipeline.

Federal regulators approve construction of NEXUS gas pipeline

CLEAN TECH: A Chicago-based accelerator will spend the next two years developing an investment model that better suits the needs of clean-energy startups. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES:
• Federal regulators allow construction to start on the controversial $2 billion, 257-mile NEXUS gas pipeline through Ohio and Michigan. (Toledo Blade)
• A lawsuit against environmental groups opposed to the Dakota Access pipeline continues the narrative that protesters were “violent adversaries.” (Grist)
• Details on a proposed settlement between North Dakota regulators and the Dakota Access pipeline developer over artifacts discovered during construction remains confidential. (Bismarck Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join 300+ energy leaders from industry, the public sector, academia, and non-profits at the MW Energy Storage Summit on September 15 to grow our shared understanding of energy storage trends, opportunities, and barriers. Click here to register and learn more, space is limited!***

SOLAR:
• A community solar project on a reservation in Minnesota is the first in the nation to be formally linked with an energy assistance program meant to help low-income residents. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Indiana school districts rush to complete solar projects before new net metering rules take effect.

Iowa wind energy ‘paramount’ to attracting Apple data centers

WIND: Apple says the large amount of wind energy developed in Iowa was “paramount” to the company’s decision to build two new data centers there. (Radio Iowa)

CONSERVATION: Advocacy groups are applauding a plan for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to acquire up to 60,000 acres of a former coal mining site from American Electric Power. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Dream of Driving Electric? The Illinois Solar Energy Association is raffling a 2017 Tesla Model X! Only 2,500 tickets sold. 1 for $100, 4 for $300.

Michigan utility agrees to close another major coal plant by 2025

COAL: As part of a settlement agreement with the Sierra Club over environmental violations, Michigan’s largest municipal utility agrees to shut down a second major coal plant by 2025. (Lansing State Journal)

ALSO:
• President Trump’s use of the phrase “clean coal” at a speech in Phoenix this week remains ambiguous and unclear about what he was referring to. (Associated Press)
• A county commission in Ohio wants a company to hold another public hearing for a coal mine it is looking to develop there. (The Athens News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join 300+ energy leaders from industry, the public sector, academia, and non-profits at the MW Energy Storage Summit on September 15 to grow our shared understanding of energy storage trends, opportunities, and barriers. Click here to register and learn more, space is limited!***

GRID:
• A highly anticipated report on grid reliability from the U.S. Department of Energy could lay the groundwork for future support of coal and nuclear plants, though clean energy groups sharply criticized the findings. (New York Times)
• The report also says cheap natural gas has been the “biggest contributor” to coal and nuclear plant closures, not renewables or environmental regulations.

Dakota Access developer seeks up to $1 billion in damages from environmental groups

PIPELINES: The company that built the Dakota Access pipeline is suing Greenpeace and other environmental groups for damages upwards of $1 billion, claiming the groups disseminated false information about the project. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: A team of Midwestern researchers is studying energy use patterns in hopes of devising home energy management systems with what their users really want. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Dream of Driving Electric? The Illinois Solar Energy Association is raffling a 2017 Tesla Model X! Only 2,500 tickets sold. 1 for $100, 4 for $300.

Kasich opposes rate increases to support Ohio nuclear plants

NUCLEAR:
• While touring a new natural gas plant near Toledo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he opposes rate increases to help support two struggling nuclear plants in the state. (Toledo Blade, Associated Press)
• The legal battle over zero-emissions credits for Illinois nuclear plants will continue. (Illinois News Network)

SOLAR:
• A team at Northwestern University in Illinois is completing a fully solar-powered home to compete in a national competition. (Midwest Energy News)
• The “threat of a very large price hike” is looming for U.S. solar installers if a requested tariff on imported panels is approved. (NPR)
• Catholic officials in Iowa are increasingly promoting the benefits of solar power.