Ohio utility taking bids on 350 MW of wind, solar projects

RENEWABLES:
• AEP is taking bids on projects to generate 100 megawatts of solar and 250 MW of wind in Ohio, with site preference in Appalachia. (Columbus Business First) 
• Officials in Madison, Wisconsin are scheduled to vote today on a plan to transition the city’s operations to 100 percent renewable energy. (Wisconsin State Journal)

MICROGRIDS: Despite microgrid funding being removed from a major energy bill in Illinois, ComEd plans to develop more projects by seeking approval from state regulators. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives.

Michigan lawmakers approve sweeping, bipartisan energy plan

POLICY: Michigan lawmakers reach a bipartisan and widely praised agreement on a sweeping two-bill energy package that, among other provisions, increases the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 15 percent and keeps efficiency spending requirements in place. (MLive)

GRID: A new report by MIT researchers offers a roadmap for recalibrating the electric grid for today’s flexible, digital and decentralized landscape. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives. Use discount code MWEN for 15% off. Register today!

Michigan lawmakers inch closer to deal on energy bills

GRID: While a series of high-level announcements have been made over the past four months touting solutions to reliability challenges in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, advocates say they have notably excluded distributed generation plans. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES: Another Ohio utility is asking state regulators for additional revenue to maintain its financial integrity. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives. Use discount code MWEN for 15% off. Register today!

EPA modifies claim on fracking’s drinking water impact

FRACKING:
• Citing significant data gaps, the U.S. EPA abandons its contentious assertion that hydraulic fracturing does not cause “widespread, systemic” problems with drinking water, saying that it can have impacts in “certain circumstances.” (Greenwire)
• As the debate continues, “Ohio drillers are smashing shale production records.” (The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register)

PIPELINES: North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault meet to discuss ways of reducing tension between officers and pipeline protesters. (Minnesota Public Radio)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives. Use discount code MWEN for 15% off. Register today! ***

RENEWABLES: A Minnesota town gets 22 percent of its electricity through wind, solar and hydro.

Officials estimate 4,300 barrels of oil spill from North Dakota pipeline

POLICY: A new report highlights how states are decoupling their economies from carbon emissions — allowing for growth while reducing emissions — and that states’ roles will be critical amid federal policy uncertainty. (Midwest Energy News)

COAL: Indiana utilities continue to pursue coal plant retirements despite uncertainty over the direction President-elect Donald Trump may take energy policy. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives. Use discount code MWEN for 15% off. Register today!

Ohio Republican fighting clean energy standards is getting solar panels at home

NUCLEAR: The proposed agreement between Entergy and Consumers Energy to close down the Palisades nuclear plant in southwest Michigan early is a vastly different approach than that taken by Exelon in Illinois. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• An Ohio utility says it would welcome support from the federal government for its Davis-Besse nuclear plant, following reports of the Trump administration’s interest in preventing more premature closures. (Toledo Blade, Bloomberg)
• A drilling project to study the potential for storing nuclear waste in South Dakota sparks concern from local residents. (Rapid City Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives.

Ohio Senate approves plan to make clean energy standards voluntary for two years

EFFICIENCY: Advocates in Wisconsin say their fears have been realized as state regulators approve directing ratepayer funds for energy efficiency to expanding broadband internet access in rural areas. (Midwest Energy News)

OHIO: The Ohio Senate approves changes to the state’s clean energy standards, making them voluntary for the next two years. The bill heads back to the House for approval and may ultimately be vetoed by Gov. John Kasich. (Columbus Dispatch)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives.

Michigan energy bills may be in jeopardy as Republicans disagree over electric choice

NUCLEAR: The operator of Michigan’s Palisades nuclear plant along Lake Michigan seeks to close the facility in 2018, a decision earlier than expected after reaching a deal to cut short a power-purchase agreement. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC CHOICE: Republican infighting over proposed changes to Michigan’s electric choice market may jeopardize the chances of passing comprehensive energy legislation there. (Detroit News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives. Use discount code MWEN for 15% off. Register today!

Ohio House passes bill to make clean energy standards voluntary

OHIO: The state House passes a bill that would make renewable energy standards voluntary for the next three years. If passed by the Senate, advocates are hoping Gov. John Kasich will veto the measure. (Columbus Dispatch)

MICROGRIDS: A new five-story office building in suburban Minneapolis will be equipped with a microgrid powered by a mix of renewables, combined heat and power and storage. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Smart Cities International Symposium, January 24-25 in Chicago, examines the latest technology advances and business models for the 21st Century connected city. Explore implementation strategies, case studies, and the successful financing of key initiatives.

Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman asks pipeline protesters to return home

COAL:
• U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio vows to hold up work on any other legislation until lawmakers address maintaining health and pension benefits for retired coal miners. (USA Today)
• By paying back a loan term early, bankrupt Peabody Energy could save more than $12 million in interest payments. (St. Louis Business Journal)

SOLAR:
• Rural Minnesota businesses are embracing solar power to reduce electricity costs. (Forum News Service)
• A municipal utility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is on track to open a community solar project next summer.