Ohio utility plans $1.8 billion investment in renewable energy

TRANSPORTATION: Industry leaders gathered in Ohio last week are optimistic about the future of fuel cell buses and say the fuel cell industry could add 65,000 jobs for the Midwest by 2032. (Midwest Energy News)

GRID:
• Clean energy and consumer advocates want Iowa regulators to carefully scrutinize a utility’s grid modernization plan, citing uncertainty over how $300 million a year would be spent. (Midwest Energy News)
• Several Midwest states will receive funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for rural grid improvements, including smart grid projects. (Utility Dive)

***SPONSORED LINK: Registration is now open for the 2017 Veteran’s Energy Seminar on December 14 in Chicago. This one-day training for military veterans and reservists will include classroom sessions and panels on global energy security challenges.

Company with first Illinois fracking permit returns it, citing ‘burdensome’ regulations

FRACKING: The first company to receive a fracking permit in Illinois has returned it, saying state regulations are too “burdensome and costly;” advocates earlier this year had identified numerous shortcomings and unanswered questions in the company’s “poorly written and incomplete” permit application. (Springfield State Journal-Register, Midwest Energy News archive)

UTILITIES:
• Illinois regulators approve new rules to rein in alternative energy suppliers using deceptive marketing tactics and variable rates, though clean energy and consumer groups oppose removal of some draft provisions. (Midwest Energy News)
• The president and CEO of Michigan-based Consumers Energy discusses the current transformational period of the utility sector. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

***SPONSORED LINK: Registration is now open for the 2017 Veteran’s Energy Seminar on December 14 in Chicago. This one-day training for military veterans and reservists will include classroom sessions and panels on global energy security challenges. Learn more and register to attend by clicking here.***

SOLAR:
• Installers, ratepayers and clean energy groups are concerned Indiana’s solar market will stagnate or collapse after the state begins to phase out net metering on January 1.

Kansas, Iowa rate cases show utility trend of separating distributed generation customers

EFFICIENCY: Performance contracting, a financing tool that pays for clean energy projects over time through avoided energy costs, continues to save public entities in Michigan millions of dollars a year. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES:
• Rate cases in Kansas and Iowa show an increasing trend by utilities to separate distributed generation customers into their own rate class. (Utility Dive)
• Otter Tail Power Co., whose service territory includes parts of Minnesota and the Dakotas, is seeking an $11.50 monthly rate increase for average residential customers to help pay for pollution-control technologies at a coal plant. (Forum News Service)

***SPONSORED LINK: Registration is now open for the 2017 Veteran’s Energy Seminar on December 14 in Chicago. This one-day training for military veterans and reservists will include classroom sessions and panels on global energy security challenges.

Missouri utility plans $1.5 billion wind investment, closing coal plant

EFFICIENCY: Advocates say energy efficiency savings are on the upswing in Indiana, but not at levels they could be following the repeal of a key policy three years ago. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
• A Missouri utility files plans for a $1.5 billion wind energy project — tripling its current wind portfolio — and also to eventually close a coal plant. (Joplin Globe)
• Ohio landowners discussed proposed changes to wind turbine setback rules. (WYSO)

***SPONSORED LINK: Free CEE Technology Forum, November 7 at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. See how tech piloting, program design, and partnerships will define our next era of energy efficiency.

Duke Energy plans 5 megawatt microgrid project at Indiana National Guard base

SOLAR:
• The U.S. International Trade Commission issues three non-binding recommendations for imported solar components that include up to a 35 percent tariff. (Associated Press)
• The recommendations are “all over the map, but none come close to the proposals” originally sought by SolarWorld and Suniva. (Utility Dive)

ALSO:
• An Iowa-based solar installer is offering a storage solution that could cut power bills in half for some large electricity customers in a state with high demand charges. (Midwest Energy News)
• A collaborative project among leaders in Chicago-area communities looks to make it easier for residents and developers to create new markets for rooftop solar. (Midwest Energy News)
• The Minneapolis City Council last month signed new 25-year agreements for community solar subscriptions that will dedicate a portion to serve low-income households. (Southwest Journal)
• Advocates say while there is solar growth potential in Wisconsin, they will remain focused on investor-owned utilities’ attempts to raise fees.

Owners of distributed generation projects in Minnesota to see sales tax refund

POLICY:
• A federal proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear power over other forms of electricity has created unusual alliances in Ohio among energy companies, state agencies and other groups who oppose the plan. (Midwest Energy News)
• Grid operator PJM and two clean energy groups estimate the cost of the Department of Energy’s plan could range from $300 million to more than $32 billion. (RTO Insider)

MINNESOTA: State officials will issue refunds to property owners with distributed generation projects for sales tax that was incorrectly collected by utilities. (West Central Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Free CEE Technology Forum, November 7 at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. See how tech piloting, program design, and partnerships will define our next era of energy efficiency.

How Ohio shifted to policies that support fossil fuels

SOLAR: The Dawah Islamic Center in Milwaukee is pursuing solar energy as a way to build connections in the community and understanding among faith-based groups. (Midwest Energy News)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• A look at how Ohio went from encouraging the clean energy sector to policies that support fossil fuels. (InsideClimate News)
• St. Louis becomes the 47th U.S. city to commit to a 100 percent clean energy goal. (Grist)

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

Minnesota regulators say Enbridge must disclose pipeline spill projections

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A new study argues that utilities should be more aggressive in adopting electric vehicle infrastructure, and that they would be justified in passing along the cost to ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)

IOWA: After being moved from a university to a state agency with little explanation, the Iowa Energy Center relaunches this month with a smaller staff and a possible change in focus. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Registration is now open for the 2017 Veteran’s Energy Seminar on December 14 in Chicago. This one-day training for military veterans and reservists will include classroom sessions and panels on global energy security challenges. Learn more and register to attend by clicking here.***

PIPELINES:
• Minnesota regulators say Enbridge must release spill projections for its proposed Line 3 pipeline.

Michigan regulators approve plan for Upper Peninsula power plants

STORAGE: A new housing development in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul will use grid-interactive electric thermal water heaters to enable a community energy storage project. (Midwest Energy News)

MICHIGAN: State regulators approve a $277 million plan for a pair of natural gas plants to be built in the central Upper Peninsula to replace an aging coal plant in Marquette. (POWER Magazine)

***SPONSORED LINK: Free CEE Technology Forum, November 7 at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. See how tech piloting, program design, and partnerships will define our next era of energy efficiency.

Minneapolis explores replacing city fleet with electric vehicles

TRANSMISSION: A new report examines how counties in Minnesota, Kansas and Wisconsin have benefitted economically from transmission projects. (Midwest Energy News)

TRANSPORTATION:
• Minneapolis city council members express interest in replacing the city’s fleet with electric vehicles as a way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• A clean-fuels collaborative says more recharging stations could lead to thousands more hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles on the road in central Ohio. (Columbus Business First)

***SPONSORED LINK: Registration is now open for the 2017 Veteran’s Energy Seminar on December 14 in Chicago. This one-day training for military veterans and reservists will include classroom sessions and panels on global energy security challenges.