Minnesota regulators approve plan to close three biomass facilities

PIPELINES:
• Michigan officials are taking a closer look at what it would take to tunnel Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac, as many unanswered questions remain. (Midwest Energy News)
• Oil-recovery efforts following the Keystone pipeline spill will now shift to soil that has been impacted, TransCanada officials say. (Watertown Public Opinion)

UTILITIES: Industry, consumer and environmental groups support a utility-reform bill in Ohio that is meant to protect customers from “subsidizing the operations of utility corporate affiliates.” (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition, January 17-18 in Chicago, brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision. Enter “MWEN” when registering for 10% off.***

BIOMASS: Minnesota utility regulators approve Xcel Energy’s plan to close three biomass facilities in the state, despite opposition from the timber and turkey-farming industries. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WIND: Executives at seven wind companies urge Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to lobby against a cut in a federal tax credit that could derail $1.5 billion in planned projects across the state.

Former Missouri governor leads legal fight to support wind transmission project

GRID: Xcel Energy says a flood of clean energy project proposals have come in since the completion of the 800-mile-long CapX2020 transmission project was completed in late September. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is leading the legal team representing the developers of the Grain Belt Express wind transmission project as they seek to overturn state regulators’ denial of the project. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• North Dakota regulators approve Xcel Energy’s request for a new five-mile transmission line in the Fargo area to improve reliability. (Forum News Service)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition, January 17-18 in Chicago, brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision.

We Energies to close major Wisconsin coal plant next year

SOLAR: Advocates say the first update in decades to the prices Michigan utilities must pay independent power producers will open the door for widespread solar development. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• The former director of a clean energy advocacy group in Missouri launches a project to deploy solar energy in Puerto Rico. (St. Louis Public Radio)
• Preliminary figures compiled by the Minnesota Department of Commerce show the state has added 366 MW of solar in 2017, more than doubling the capacity available at the end of 2016. (KELO)
• A Minnesota elementary school adds rooftop solar panels that are expected to provide around 80 percent of the school’s electricity.

Critics say Michigan pipeline agreement doesn’t go far enough

PIPELINES: Under the terms of a new agreement, the state of Michigan and Enbridge will spend the next nine months coming up with a path forward for Line 5, while closing it permanently is “still on the table.” (MLive)

ALSO:
• The agreement, which drew opposition from environmental groups, also calls for shutting down the pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac during “sustained adverse weather conditions.” (Detroit Free Press)
• TransCanada plans to restart the Keystone pipeline today at reduced pressure, nearly two weeks after it leaked 5,000 barrels of oil in South Dakota. (Reuters)
• The Keystone pipeline has “leaked substantially more oil, and more often,” than the developer initially claimed in risk assessments when it came online in 2010. (Reuters)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition, January 17-18 in Chicago, brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision. Enter “MWEN” when registering for 10% off.***

WIND:
• Ameren Missouri files plans with state regulators for a program that allows companies and municipalities to purchase wind energy for up to 100 percent of their energy needs. (St.

Minnesota ruling upholding frac sand mining ban sparks interest in other counties

COAL ASH: Environmental regulators in Illinois will continue hearing testimony to determine whether several coal ash storage sites in northern Illinois are contaminating nearby water sources. (Midwest Energy News)

FRAC SAND: A recent ruling upholding a Minnesota county’s ban on frac sand mining is generating interest in other counties, “where efforts to enact similar bans have so far foundered.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Smart Cities International Symposium and Exhibition, January 17-18 in Chicago, brings together municipal professionals and thought leaders to explore technology advances and key lessons to date in achieving the Smart City vision. Enter “MWEN” when registering for 10% off.***

OIL AND GAS: A federal appeals court grants an Ohio city’s request to block construction of an eight-mile section of the Nexus gas pipeline amid other pending appeals to the project. (Akron Beacon Journal)

PIPELINES:
• TransCanada has recovered more than 1,000 barrels of oil from the recent Keystone pipeline spill, but the company has not yet set a restart date for the pipeline. (Reuters)
• South Dakota regulators say they could revoke a permit for the Keystone pipeline if the company is found to have violated its terms. (InsideClimate News)
• A South Dakota utility regulator who helped approve the Keystone pipeline 10 years ago says it is “very disturbing” that it has leaked multiple times since then.

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.