Daily Digest

Xcel Energy plans its largest Upper Midwest wind investment

WIND:
• Xcel Energy plans its largest wind investment yet in the Upper Midwest with a 600 megawatt project in South Dakota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Across the country, utilities are rushing to develop wind projects increasingly on economics alone, though transmission remains a challenge. (Utility Dive)

REGULATION:
• A bill to strip Minnesota utility regulators’ authority to settle disputes with electric co-ops over distributed generation fees heads to Gov. Mark Dayton’s desk. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• Proposed budget cuts to the U.S. EPA’s enforcement office could make it easier for air polluters to violate the law. (Climate Central)

***SPONSORED LINK: Stay current on the newest developments in the energy economy by attending the Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference this coming April 24th & 25th in Columbia, MO. For registration and details: www.AdvancingRenewables.org.***

OHIO: While state House lawmakers are moving fast to try to repeal Ohio’s clean energy standards, advocates say those legislators are “picking a fight they can’t win,” citing Gov. John Kasich’s opposition to the plan. (Columbus Dispatch)

SOLAR: An Illinois-based solar installer sees business grow as confidence in the industry increases in the Midwest. (Medill Reports)

COAL: In new filings with state regulators, Dayton Power & Light says it plans to sell its ownership in three Ohio coal plants and set up an economic development fund in one county that would be impacted by the closures. (Dayton Daily News)

STORAGE: ComEd launches a pilot energy storage project about 40 miles south of Chicago, aiming to improve reliability for customers. (Utility Dive)

BIOFUELS:
• Thousands of safer railcars to move biofuels are sitting idle around the country because the ethanol industry is not required to use them for another six years and they are about three times as costly as the ones in operation. (Reuters)
• A bipartisan group of more than 20 senators pressed President Trump to reject requests from oil refiners to overhaul the U.S. biofuels program. (Reuters)

PIPELINES:
• The Sierra Club and a group of landowners are appealing to the Iowa Supreme Court to block the flow of oil through the Dakota Access pipeline, saying state regulators have failed to consider whether the project promotes “public convenience and necessity.” (Associated Press)
• North Dakota officials may seek to recoup $38 million in costs related to Dakota Access pipeline protests from the federal government; while the project developer has offered to pay for it, that would present an ethical dilemma to the state as its regulator. (Minnesota Public Radio)

CLIMATE: A University of Minnesota professor spotlights a recent trip to Iceland to show how people across the globe are dealing with climate change. (Mankato Free Press)

UTILITIES: Due to inaction at the state level, the city of Columbus, Ohio may move to set limits on submetering companies that resell utilities in apartments and condominiums. (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.***

OIL AND GAS: Ohio landowners will be faced with a choice as oil and gas leases signed several years ago are about to expire. (Youngstown Vindicator)

COMMENTARY:
• U.S. News and World Report says clean energy sector job growth is an “inescapable fact,” and plans to cut funding for clean energy research would be an “enormous mistake.”
• An Indiana editorial board says a proposal to eliminate the state’s net metering program is a giveaway to utilities and designed to discourage solar installations. (Anderson Herald Bulletin)
• A Texas researcher says updating the U.S. electric grid could cost $5 trillion, so spending priorities will require careful analysis. (The Conversation) 

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