Revised Indiana bill would allow Tesla to continue selling directly to customers

SOLAR:
• For some Michigan farmers interested in generating solar energy on their property, they may have to choose between keeping tax incentives for preserving farmland or leasing their property to developers. (Midwest Energy News)
• An Illinois-based installer says solar will be a key part of southern Illinois’ renewable energy future. (Southern Illinoisan)

OIL AND GAS:
• In his latest budget proposal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is again seeking to raise the state’s severance tax on oil and gas production — and again, it’s being met with resistance by industry leaders and some lawmakers. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Minnesota Senate committee advances a plan to allow Xcel Energy to convert a major coal-burning plant to natural gas and bypass state utility regulators. (WCCO)

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

Minnesota Republicans take aim at renewables, state regulators

SOLAR: Legislation in Minnesota would block state utility regulators from overseeing fixed fees for distributed generation customers of cooperatives and municipally owned utilities. (Midwest Energy News)

OHIO: A variety of groups, including from the oil and gas industry, push back against attempts backed by utilities to re-regulate the state’s electric generation market. (Midwest Energy News)

***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!***

REGULATION:
• Minnesota Republicans “have introduced a half-dozen bills that would change the power and makeup of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.” Says one clean energy advocate: “They’re trying to do everything they can to send us back to the Dark Ages.” (MinnPost, Mankato Free Press)
• Democratic U.S. senators boycott a committee vote on the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator. (Greenwire)

CLEAN ENERGY: A new report shows Minnesota as a clean energy leader as state lawmakers debate legislation that advocates say could hinder the industry.

Lawmakers say feds poised to approve Dakota Access pipeline

WIND: Two rural Michigan counties — including the “wind capital” of the state — recently enacted one-year moratoriums on new wind development in order to sort out how localized zoning regulations should be. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES:
• U.S. lawmakers from North Dakota say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will grant the final approval needed to complete the Dakota Access pipeline, though opponents say they are “jumping the gun.” (Reuters)
• If the needed easement is granted, the Standing Rock Sioux chairman vows to challenge it in court. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the Energy Storage Conference, February 15 in Milwaukee. This conference will explore recent advances in energy storage technologies, as well as the applications and in-field examples of the role of energy storage. ***

SOLAR:
• Minnesota lawmakers advance legislation that would block state utility regulators’ ability to review solar fees by electric cooperatives.

Major solar project planned near Wisconsin nuclear plant

SOLAR: While having similarities to plans proposed in a few other states, a bill to end net metering in Indiana would give rooftop solar customers “the worst deal in the country,” advocates say. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• NextEra Energy announces plans for a 100-megawatt solar project adjacent to a nuclear plant it owns in Wisconsin, making it by far the largest solar project in the state. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
• Proposed legislation in Nebraska would tap a funding source that includes lottery revenue for community solar grants. (Midwest Energy News)
• Cook County in Illinois is more than halfway through a multi-year project to expand community solar opportunities. (WTTW)
• A Michigan state representative from the Upper Peninsula tells local students how solar generation will be key to keeping the region’s energy costs down.

Cheap wind, natural gas pushing re-regulation movement in Ohio

CLIMATE:
• While two state agencies have removed climate change information from their websites in recent months, Wisconsin has a long history of being a leader in climate research. (Midwest Energy News)
• In Kansas, “the economic realities of agriculture make climate change a critical business issue,” though politics and social pressures make it a difficult topic to discuss frankly. (New York Times)

UTILITIES: Draft legislation is being circulated in Ohio that would begin to re-regulate the state’s electric industry as major coal plants compete with cheap natural gas and wind. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the Energy Storage Conference, February 15 in Milwaukee. This conference will explore recent advances in energy storage technologies, as well as the applications and in-field examples of the role of energy storage.

Oil and gas executives mum following Trump’s order on Keystone XL, Dakota Access

GRID: “Smart-switching” technology developed by a Chicago-based company in 2006 has proven to be a key component to making the grid smarter, cleaner and more reliable. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: Developers hope Ohio lawmakers will return to old property setbacks for wind turbines that are more accommodating and may help bring new projects to the state. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the Energy Storage Conference, February 15 in Milwaukee. This conference will explore recent advances in energy storage technologies, as well as the applications and in-field examples of the role of energy storage. ***

PIPELINES:
• The Dakota Access pipeline developer and other industry executives have gone silent this week after President Trump threw his support behind building the project, likely to avoid scrutiny from activists, analysts say.

Wisconsin university recognized by U.S. EPA for clean energy commitment

GRID:
• As policymakers in Ohio and elsewhere look to modernize their aging electric grid, concepts in Germany’s changing energy system suggest how today’s decisions can set the stage for a greater share of renewables and more energy security. (Midwest Energy News)
• Missouri lawmakers speak out against proposed rate increases to pay for grid upgrades. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• Minnesota’s first statewide director of sustainability discusses opportunities with solar and efficiency. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Wisconsin university is recognized by the U.S. EPA for its commitment to clean energy.

Opponents face high legal hurdles in challenging Trump on Keystone XL, Dakota Access pipelines

PIPELINES: President Donald Trump signs executive orders to renegotiate deals and move forward with the construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, as well as expediting reviews for other pipeline projects. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• Opponents of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines face high legal hurdles if the U.S. government approves their construction, experts say. (Reuters)
• A top presidential campaign aide to Trump stands to profit if both pipeline projects go through. (DeSmog Blog)
• Two people are charged with misdemeanors for their protest against the Dakota Access pipeline during a professional football game in Minnesota. (Associated Press)

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

Minnesota Republicans critical of energy fund, solar incentive program

MINNESOTA: Republican state lawmakers look for greater oversight of energy funds, proposing a bill that would redirect revenue to the general fund and end a solar incentive program. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• Proposed legislation in Indiana would eliminate the state’s net metering program in a decade and reimburse self-generators at wholesale prices, moves advocates say would decimate the state’s solar industry. (Midwest Energy News)
• Installing solar panels has been “a huge cost savings” for a car dealership in southwest Minnesota. (Marshall Independent)
• Payments to 450 laid-off workers at a First Solar plant in Ohio will end at the end of the week, the company says. (Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune)

***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.

Wisconsin utility plans to idle one of its coal plants for half of the year

WIND: Wind farms are cropping up close to a network of transmission lines coming to fruition in several Midwestern states. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• A proposed bill in Indiana seeks to end the state’s net metering policy. (Indianapolis Business Journal)
• A 62-megawatt solar project in Minnesota begins operations, making it the second largest solar project in Xcel Energy’s portfolio. (PV Magazine)
• Students at a West Michigan university have created devices that provide backup power from solar when electricity fails at an African hospital. (MLive)
• A tiny solar house that has been on display in Michigan for the past 10 years is purchased by a couple who plan to move it off the grid.