Daily Digest

Minnesota regulators approve Xcel Energy’s plan for major wind energy expansion

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Several utilities across the Midwest are backing the push to use Volkswagen settlement funds for electric school buses. (Midwest Energy News)
• The first electric school bus in the Midwest will begin transporting students in a suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul school district this fall. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
• Minnesota regulators approve Xcel Energy’s plans for a major wind energy expansion across four states that will increase the utility’s regional wind output by 70 percent. (Electric Light & Power)
• Contention between bird conservation groups and wind energy interests in Ohio is likely to continue as projects are pursued along Lake Erie. (Toledo Blade)

SOLAR:
• Environmental groups launch a crowdfunding campaign to build solar panels along the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline. (Wisconsin Gazette)
• The University of Minnesota commits to purchasing additional community solar subscriptions. (press release)

PIPELINES: The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is ordering Energy Transfer Partners to come up with a plan for cleaning spills related to the construction of its Rover gas pipeline. (Associated Press)

GEOTHERMAL: The University of Notre Dame installs three geothermal fields to “lower campus carbon dioxide emissions, reduce use of natural gas and coal, and create long-term savings.” (South Bend Tribune)

COAL: The Illinois Basin was once home to a thriving coal mining industry, but sulfur dioxide regulation in the 1990s “was devastating for the industry.” (Pacific Standard)

UTILITIES: Staff at the Illinois Commerce Commission issue a report recommending state regulators devise a plan for handling utility-scale data analytics software. (Utility Dive)

CLIMATE: Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota teams up with David Letterman on a web series to fight back against the “creeping apathy and disregard toward science and climate change.” (Minnesota Public Radio)

OIL AND GAS: A company is planning an expansion at a natural gas processing plant in North Dakota that would make it the largest facility of its kind in the state. (Bismarck Tribune)

COMMENTARY:
• As other states aim to scale back net metering policies, “Illinois has a shining opportunity to become a leader in solar energy.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
• Energy analysts say “well-designed wholesale electricity markets and clearly-specified state environmental policies can work together to maintain reliability and decarbonize the electricity sector at lower cost than less-market-based approaches.” (Utility Dive)

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