St. Paul to power one-fourth of municipal buildings with solar

GRID: Illinois regulators hope to partner with utilities to address growing concern about the security of information and digital assets in the smart-grid era. (Midwest Energy News)

ADVOCACY: A coalition of clean energy businesses in Minnesota is formed to lobby state lawmakers about the importance of the growing sector and to strengthen existing policies. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Solar Summit 2017 is 10! Join GTM May 16-18 for three days of packed networking opportunities and a unique mix of market intelligence with engaging panel sessions among industry leaders. 15% off with code MWENERGY15.

FirstEnergy dispute with rail companies could force utility’s hand on subsidiaries

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Midwest utilities looking to develop electric vehicle charging stations are dealt another blow, this time as Missouri regulators deny Ameren the ability to pass costs to ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)
• Rural residents who drive electric vehicles are still dealing with range anxiety and few charging stations. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: A case involving FirstEnergy’s dispute with two rail companies over coal shipments could “force the company’s hand” on what to do about its money-losing power plant subsidiaries. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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

WIND: For Earth Day over the weekend, Xcel Energy powered two light rail lines in Minneapolis by purchasing wind generation credits for 24 hours.

Utility shares drop after Kansas regulators reject $12.2 billion merger

SOLAR:
• Officials in Dane County, Wisconsin will study the feasibility of building a 6-megawatt solar project on 30 acres at the local airport. (Wisconsin State Journal)
• A solar group-buying program in southeast Wisconsin moves forward with a new project developer. (Racine Journal Times)

UTILITIES: Shares of Westar Energy dropped 8 percent this week after Kansas regulators unanimously voted against its planned $12.2 billion sale to Great Plains Energy. (RTO Insider)

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

WIND: The chairman and CEO of Xcel Energy says a change in course on energy policy at the federal level is not deterring the utility from meeting customer demand for wind energy.

A solar disparity among Minnesota school districts based on the utility that serves them

OIL AND GAS: As oil and gas prices have fallen, Michigan officials turn to taxpayers to fund an oversight program that has traditionally been paid for by the industry. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• North Dakota legislators approve a measure meant to clarify the ownership rights of minerals in a Missouri River reservoir. (Associated Press)
• Energy Transfer Partners spills almost 50,000 barrels of drilling fluids into Ohio wetlands while constructing a $4.2 billion natural gas pipeline. (Bloomberg)

***SPONSORED LINK: Solar Summit 2017 is 10! Join GTM May 16-18 for three days of packed networking opportunities and a unique mix of market intelligence with engaging panel sessions among industry leaders.

Michigan utility: Economics driving move away from coal

COAL: An appeals court overturns a lower court ruling, saying AEP is responsible for the $1.4 billion cost of installing scrubbers at the Rockport Generating Station in Indiana. (RTO Insider)

ALSO:
• The Trump administration asks a federal appeals court to postpone consideration of 2012 rules requiring energy companies to cut mercury and emissions of other toxic chemicals from coal plants, even though most utilities are on pace to comply with the rules. (Associated Press)
• The CEO of Michigan-based DTE Energy says the utility’s move away from coal to natural gas and renewables is based primarily on economics. (WEMU)

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

PIPELINES: The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe vows to continue efforts to block oil from flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline, including raising awareness about banks and institutions that are funding the project.

Michigan congressman faces backlash over climate change position at town hall

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: While they applauded the selection of Chicago, Midwest advocates hoped to see Volkswagen settlement funds distributed to more cities in the region to support EV infrastructure. (Midwest Energy News)

CLIMATE:
• Climate change is becoming an increasingly contentious topic between Republicans and the public, and was most recently visible at a Michigan congressman’s town hall meeting. (E&E News)
• Trump administration advisers are scheduled to meet today on whether to recommend the U.S. withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. (Reuters)

***SPONSORED LINK: Solar Summit 2017 is 10! Join GTM May 16-18 for three days of packed networking opportunities and a unique mix of market intelligence with engaging panel sessions among industry leaders.

South Dakota farmers concerned about ethanol future under Trump

RENEWABLES: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith talks with Midwest Energy News about her efforts to expand clean energy in the state, saying residents “don’t have to choose between renewable energy and reliable energy.”

CLIMATE: At an appearance in Cleveland, the lead climate change lawyer who worked on the Paris climate agreement for the U.S. says the backlash from potentially pulling out of the framework “could well go beyond climate change.” (Midwest Energy News)

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

BIOFUELS: Some South Dakota farmers face an uncertain future for ethanol production under the Trump administration. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

OIL AND GAS:
• Residents in northwest Ohio say the developer of a natural gas pipeline through the area has not fully made payments for land easements. (Toledo Blade)
• Consumers Energy looks to start the process of removing coal tar from sediments along the Flint River in Michigan, the legacy of a former manufactured gas plant. (East Village Magazine)

POLICY: Tribal officials in regions with harsh winters fear the Trump administration’s plan to eliminate the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which provides home heating assistance in cold months.

Iowa lawmakers seek to end tax that funds renewable energy research

SOLAR: Multiple Midwest states are changing interconnection rules for solar customers, which could likely to cut the time and money required to establish a connection to the grid. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• Officials unveil a 10-megawatt solar project at a National Guard base in Minnesota, the largest on any National Guard base in the U.S. and one of the largest projects in the state. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• Renewable energy developer Geronimo Energy purchases a 40-acre site near Minneapolis for a community solar garden. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)
• Officials will unveil a 1 MW utility-scale solar project next week near Champaign, Illinois.

Duluth coal plant looks to cut emissions by transitioning to natural gas

SOLAR:
• An Illinois foundation is funding a program that provides teacher training and materials for K-12 students across the state to learn about solar energy. (Midwest Energy News)
• A growing number of farmers across the country are turning to solar generation to help offset costs. (GreenBiz)

COAL:
• The city of Duluth, Minnesota is launching a pilot program to cut coal usage at its downtown steam plant by transitioning to natural gas. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• The Ohio Coal Association is preparing a “laundry list” of action items to revive the industry. (Washington Observer-Reporter)

***SPONSORED LINK: Solar Summit 2017 is 10!

More than a dozen solar projects are under construction in western Wisconsin

NUCLEAR: A bill to subsidize FirstEnergy’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants in Ohio presents potential conflicts under state and federal law, as well as conceals information about costs from the public. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: Construction on more than a dozen solar projects is underway in western Wisconsin. (Vernon County Broadcaster)

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

WIND:
• South Dakota regulators begin hearings over a dispute about avoided costs at wind projects in three different counties. (Watertown Public Opinion)
• A Nebraska utility, which already doubled its wind-generating capacity in January, will add even more to its portfolio to meet the needs of a new Facebook data center.