Keystone XL approved in Nebraska, but uncertainty remains for TransCanada

NOTE TO READERS: Midwest Energy News is taking a break for Thanksgiving. We’ll return on Monday, November 27. KEYSTONE XL: On a 3-2 vote, Nebraska regulators approve the Keystone XL pipeline through the state — but not TransCanada’s preferred route, raising questions about whether the company will continue to pursue the project. (Lincoln Journal Star)

ALSO:
• As opponents prepare for legal challenges, the project also faces market uncertainty after crude oil prices were cut in half since it was first proposed in 2008. (Reuters)
• Opponents are beginning to organize to potentially block construction through peaceful protest.

Radioactive waste continues to leak from Illinois nuclear plants

NUCLEAR: An investigation finds radioactive waste continues to leak from Illinois nuclear plants, with at least 35 self-reported releases since the 2007 discovery of chronic radioactive leaks at Exelon plants. (Better Government Association)

SOLAR:
• Advocates say that while some net metering rule changes in Ohio are beneficial, they will ultimately reduce the amount customers are compensated. (Midwest Energy News)
• While potential tariffs on imported solar panels may compel Chinese manufacturers to open plants in the U.S., it’s unlikely to create a solar jobs boom here. (Bloomberg)
• Construction is expected to begin in April on a 40-megawatt solar project in South Dakota. (Rapid City Journal)

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

Ohio ruling expected to lower net metering credits for customers

COAL: Dynegy and advocacy groups disagree over whether legislation being considered by Illinois lawmakers constitutes a bailout for the company’s downstate coal plants. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• A ruling by Ohio utility regulators is likely to shrink the amount ratepayers are credited for sending excess electricity back to the grid through net metering. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Duke Energy provides a $14,600 grant for solar panels to be installed at a group home for disabled residents in Bloomington, Indiana. (Indiana Daily Student)

***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.

How Cleveland is poised to be a renewable energy leader

SOLAR: As plans for commercial-scale solar projects increase in Michigan, local planners across the state are faced with land-use and zoning questions. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• A city in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is doing various environmental tests as it plans for a solar project to offset some of its electricity costs. (Escanaba Daily Press)
• A member community of the Indiana Municipal Power Agency unveils a 2.84-megawatt solar project. (Greenfield Daily Reporter)

***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.

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.