Ohio gas pipeline project entangles Dakota Access developer in another public battle

SOLAR: A clean energy financing program in Michigan reaches 1 megawatt of solar development and aims for $1 billion in clean energy projects over the next five to seven years. (Midwest Energy News)

• A Minnesota city considers subscribing to a community solar project. (ABC Newspapers)
• A Catholic school in Milwaukee plans a 1,000-panel solar installation. (Milwaukee BizTimes)
• An Illinois agency begins seeking proposals for large-scale solar projects. (PV Magazine)

• As wind energy expands in Iowa, the Center of Rural Affairs says developers should prioritize working with local communities.

Minnesota regulators to update cost of carbon emissions

UTILITIES: As attention turns to a utility trade group’s role in promoting policies that discourage rooftop solar, critics question whether ratepayers should be footing the bill. (Midwest Energy News)

EMISSIONS: Minnesota regulators will spend the next week deciding how to update the state’s price on carbon dioxide emissions, which will impact what kind of new generation is built into the future. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

• Opponents of Illinois’ subsidies for nuclear generation vow to appeal a recent court decision allowing the policy to move forward. (Crain’s Chicago Business)
• The largest portion of radioactive waste from nuclear generation is being temporarily stored at seven sites across Illinois, making it the “nation’s biggest de facto nuclear waste dump.” (NPR Illinois)

FRAC SAND: The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources agrees to reconsider a permit it issued to a company allowing it to fill wetlands as part of a frac sand development. (LaCrosse Tribune)

• A group fighting the Keystone XL pipeline says it will appeal a judge’s ruling upholding a decision by regulators allowing it to move through South Dakota. (Associated Press)
• A panel of industry officials say protests similar to the ones over the Dakota Access pipeline will likely become commonplace.

Minnesota emerges as the national ‘epicenter’ of community solar

SOLAR: A major utility in Michigan is partnering with a well-known property developer to launch its first solar-plus-storage project in a Grand Rapids neighborhood. (Midwest Energy News)

• Minnesota is the “epicenter of one nation-topping experiment: community solar.” (OZY)
• Residents in a southern Michigan town have raised concerns about a developer’s attempts to amass land for a major solar project. (Sturgis Journal)
• A Minnesota city reaches a 25-year deal to purchase 1.5 megawatts of power a year from a community solar project, while a northern Michigan city turns to solar to help it reach its 100 percent renewable energy goal. (Northfield News, WWTV)
• A public utility in southwest Minnesota launches a community solar program. (Sleepy Eye Herald-Dispatch)
• Construction is underway on the redevelopment of a former steel factory in Muncie, Indiana which calls for a 5-megawatt solar installation.

Wisconsin research center to shift focus from ethanol to other forms of biofuel

• The Rover gas pipeline being constructed in Ohio and Michigan continues to face scrutiny from state and federal regulators over spills of drilling mud, as well as mounting concerns from landowners. (Midwest Energy News)
• Ohio and Michigan landowners are similarly concerned about the potential construction of the Nexus gas pipeline and what it would mean for their properties. (E&E News)

• A biofuels research center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison will shift its focus from ethanol to other forms of biofuels after receiving new grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy. (Wisconsin State Journal)
• The University of Wisconsin-Madison and ExxonMobil extend by two years an agreement researching the the fundamental chemistry of converting biomass into transportation fuels. (press release)

• “Seasonal trends, favorable conditions and ever-improving technology” came together in April to help the United States’ wind fleet pass coal’s capacity factor.

Judge dismisses challenge to Illinois zero-emission credit program

NUCLEAR: A federal judge dismisses challenges to Illinois’ zero-emission credit program brought by independent power producers, saying it falls within the state’s authority. (RTO Insider)

COAL: Duke Energy’s $3.5 billion Edwardsport power plant in Indiana that converts coal into combustible synthetic gas remains plagued by unplanned outages and costly repairs. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

• An Indiana city embarks on a $5.4 million project to power its city buildings, street lights and traffic signals with solar. (Columbus Republic)
• Researchers at an Ohio university have been awarded a $1.47 million federal grant to test new high-output solar panels. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

VOLKSWAGEN SETTLEMENT: A wide array of businesses are contacting Minnesota officials with suggestions on how to spend $47 million in Volkswagen settlement funds the state will receive to reduce air emissions.

After dropping lawsuits, groups still push Wisconsin agency to withdraw frac sand permit

EMISSIONS: For the president and CEO of Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group, reducing the utility’s greenhouse gas emissions is about economics. (Milwaukee Business Journal)

FRAC SAND: Environmental groups drop their lawsuits against the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources over its approval of clearing wetlands for a frac sand mining operation, though they are still pushing the agency to withdraw the permit. (LaCrosse Tribune)

• The Dakota Access pipeline developer has a standing offer to the state of North Dakota to help it pay for the law enforcement costs of protests. (Forum News Service)
• The Trump administration denied North Dakota’s request for a “major disaster declaration” that would have helped pay for the law enforcement costs. (Associated Press)

• A $290 million solar project completed in Minnesota last month is mired in legal disputes as subcontractors say they haven’t been paid for their work.

Michigan senators seek to halt Rover pipeline construction

• A Michigan agency rejects a request to halt construction of the Rover gas pipeline over environmental and safety concerns in an area of southeast Michigan. (MLive)
• Meanwhile, two U.S. senators from Michigan make a similar request to federal regulators. (MLive)

• New documents raise conflict-of-interest questions about whether the second company hired to study alternatives to Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline had also done work simultaneously for Enbridge. (DeSmog Blog)
• North Dakota officials continue to explore their options for recouping costs incurred by the Dakota Access pipeline protests. (Forum News Service)
• Criminal charges are dropped against the operator of a drone who captured footage of Dakota Access pipeline security workers.

Xcel Energy CEO says wind will be utility’s largest energy source by 2021

SMART GRID: As smart meter usage expands, so do questions about the ways utilities and other companies can harness energy data to advance grid technology while still protecting consumer privacy. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: The CEO of Xcel Energy discusses the increasing role of renewables in its generation mix and why wind will be its largest energy source by 2021. (Utility Dive)

• Local officials celebrate the installation of solar panels at five of six fire stations in Dubuque, Iowa. (Dubuque Telegraph Herald)
• A Nebraska City Council approves electric rates for residents who want to participate in a community solar project. (Fremont Tribune)
• A company is in talks with an Iowa community about installing solar panels on the roof of a public works building as a way to reduce the city’s energy costs.

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

• 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)

• 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.

Minnesota officials plan for spike in electric vehicle adoption

• Advocates say an Indiana utility’s plan to delay the installation of new wastewater pollution controls at its largest coal plant is among the first clear effects of President Trump’s rollback of environmental regulations. (Midwest Energy News)
• The coal industry is growing in North Dakota, though forces impacting the industry nationally are “creeping into the landscape.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Minnesota officials are planning the next steps for a statewide electric vehicle charging network as EV adoption is expected to increase and the vehicles become more mainstream. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, New York Times)

• Clean energy growth in Iowa has not only helped the state diversify its energy portfolio, but also has “created jobs, provided economic growth and defined Iowa as a leader.” (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• Independently owned renewable energy facilities in west Michigan are cautiously optimistic they will remain economically viable amid regulatory changes. (MiBiz)

• Funding for solar programs under Illinois’ Future Energy Jobs Act has been preserved through a legislative override of the governor’s budget veto. (PV Magazine)
• Indiana is among several states where utility lobbyists have been aggressively fighting net metering policies and succeeding.