Ohio lawmaker: Bill to scrap energy laws ‘direct response’ to AEP wind, solar plan

OHIO: A new study by Ohio State University says most of the electricity cost increases in the state since 2008 are due to a lack of competition in the market. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: State Sen. Bill Seitz says his latest effort to scrap Ohio’s clean energy standards is “a fairly direct response” to AEP’s plan to build out 900 megawatts of wind and solar; hearings on the legislation begin today. (Columbus Business First, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

PIPELINES:
• In a public meeting with state officials, Enbridge defends the safety of its Line 5 pipeline through the Straits of Mackinac after a recent report called into question areas of protective coating. (Detroit News)
• Two tribes seek to head off the imminent flow of oil from the Dakota Access pipeline by appealing a judge’s decision allowing construction to be completed.

Minnesota city leads with renewable energy projects to reduce electricity costs

RENEWABLES:
• Advocates say a new study from an Ohio conservative group calling for repeal of the state’s clean energy standards relies on outdated assumptions. (Midwest Energy News)
• St. Cloud, Minnesota is a leader in the state for using renewable energy to cut utility bills and meet sustainability goals. (Minnesota Public Radio)

PIPELINES: Native Americans and their allies hold rallies in Washington D.C. to protest the Trump administration’s increased focus on pipeline development. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others.

Illinois clean energy industry sees bright future despite EPA cuts

RENEWABLE ENERGY: Clean energy companies in Illinois say their industry will continue to grow despite the threat of cuts to the EPA. (Chicago Tribune)

OIL AND GAS: An attorney warns an oil and gas conference in Ohio that massive cuts to EPA staff could actually harm their industry; attendees are otherwise optimistic about the Trump administration. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

PIPELINES: Michigan’s attorney general, along with other state officials, seek answers from Enbridge on whether oil pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac are losing their protective coating; a new report further questions the safety of the pipelines. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Michigan Radio)

ALSO:
• Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is recusing himself from review of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Midwest states, utilities remain skeptical about electric competition

DIVESTMENT: While it may be largely symbolic, a non-binding resolution from the Chicago City Council to divest the city’s pension funds and stocks and bonds from fossil fuels would send a powerful message, advocates say. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: An Indiana school district fights to keep net metering in state law as a way to save money and promote clean energy. (Lebanon Reporter)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

DEREGULATION: Several Midwest states and major utilities remain skeptical about following Illinois’ lead to deregulate the electricity market. (E&E News)

GRID: Ohio utility regulators are planning a major review of the state’s power grid.

Ohio Republicans try again to make energy standards voluntary

OHIO: Republican lawmakers in Ohio introduce a bill that will once again attempt to make the state’s renewable energy and efficiency standards voluntary. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ALSO: American Electric Power supports subsidies for FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants, a document FirstEnergy used to pitch lawmakers on its proposal has been removed from the internet. (Columbus Business First, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

PIPELINES:
• A judge denies a last-ditch effort by the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe to stop the Dakota Access pipeline on religious grounds, tribal activists plan to continue protests against the project in Washington D.C. later this week. (Bismarck Tribune, Associated Press)
• Developers say oil could begin flowing through the pipeline as early as next week.

Ohio advocates continue to dispute reports that clean energy standards cost jobs

ADVOCACY: A clean energy group says the Ohio organization lobbying for large energy users in the state has played an outsized role in blocking clean energy standards there. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES:
• In Minnesota and across the U.S., consumers are seeing flat or declining costs relative to income even amid dramatic shifts in the energy system. (Midwest Energy News)
• An Ohio-based free-market think tank claims clean energy standards will cost the state thousands of jobs, though advocates say the opposite is true. (Columbus Business First)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

SOLAR:
• Works begins on a campus solar project at Michigan State University that the school anticipates will save $10 million over the next 25 years.

Dakota Access developer claims initial pipeline route would have impacted minorities more

RENEWABLES: In search of lower prices and more renewables, some municipal utilities in Nebraska are ending power-purchasing contracts with the state’s largest utility. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Ohio is among coal-dependent states where industry jobs are being displaced by solar jobs. (The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register)
• Iowa sees 61 percent growth in the number of solar jobs in the state over the past two years. (Radio Iowa)
• Minnesota-based Red Wing Shoe Co. plans to use two solar gardens to offset nearly a quarter of the company’s energy use.

Wisconsin GOP lawmakers seek review of We Energies contracts

BIOGAS: The potential for generating energy from anaerobic digesters could address water quality issues and increase clean energy from Wisconsin farms, though economic and technical challenges remain with bringing biogas to the market. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES: Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin want state regulators to review contracts put in place by We Energies 15 years ago, saying the utility’s rate of return on some projects is too high and may be impacting rates. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

SOLAR: IKEA is installing a 470,000-square-foot solar array at a new distribution center in Illinois, making it the largest rooftop solar project in the state. (Yale Climate Connections)

WIND: North Dakota is among several states where new wind development is bringing strong opposition from lawmakers who oppose industry incentives.

North Dakota stands to gain $110 million annually from Dakota Access pipeline

RENEWABLES:
• Later this year the nation’s first “integrated” wind and solar hybrid project will begin producing power outside a small city in northwest Minnesota. (Midwest Energy News)
• A group of young climate-change activists urges Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to strengthen the state’s renewable energy standard. (Minnesota Public Radio)

NUCLEAR: While FirstEnergy cites concern about carbon emissions in its bid for zero-emissions credits for its Ohio nuclear reactors, environmental and consumer advocates say it’s just the latest chapter in the utility’s search for a “bailout” for uncompetitive plants. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

PIPELINES:
• North Dakota stands to gain $110 million annually in tax revenue if the Dakota Access pipeline is completed.

Minnesota governor signs bill bypassing regulators on gas plant

MINNESOTA: Gov. Mark Dayton signs a bill allowing Xcel Energy to build a natural gas plant to replace retiring coal units, saying it is needed for reliability and still aligns with the state’s clean energy goals. (Minnesota Public Radio)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Scientists at the Illinois Institute of Technology are designing a battery they hope will store more energy than conventional systems and can be “refueled” like a car’s gasoline tank. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

WIND: Clean energy advocates who have been critical of a Wisconsin utility’s commitment to clean energy are encouraged by the company’s plan for a new 66 megawatt wind project. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: A federal judge delays for up to a week a decision on whether to halt construction on the remaining portion of the Dakota Access pipeline.