Illinois Supreme Court deals blow to proposed wind transmission project

TRANSMISSION: The Illinois Supreme Court deals a blow to the proposed Rock Island Clean Line project, upholding a lower court decision that state regulators improperly approved the project that would move wind energy from Iowa and the Dakotas to the Chicago market. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

WIND: NextEra Energy withdraws its appeals before the Michigan Tax Tribunal, meaning communities in the state’s Thumb region will be able to hold on to disputed wind turbine tax revenue. (Huron Daily Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: How significant is the role of energy in the Midwest economy? Find out at the 2017 Midwest Energy Policy Conference October 3-4. Join policy makers, businesses, advocates and regulators who’ll be broadening their perspectives on infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy economic development through diverse, fact-based presentations. Click here for details.***

RESEARCH: An economist at the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute discusses the intersection between energy use and transportation and how the declining costs of renewable energy are a “powerful force” in the transition from fossil fuels. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency issues a permit for construction of the Nexus gas pipeline to move forward, following federal authorization. (Toledo Blade)

HYDRO: Canadian utilities are pushing to sell hydroelectric power into U.S. markets due to excess supply in the country.

Fines and tensions grow between Ohio and Rover pipeline developer

UTILITIES: Despite a big win from Ohio regulators last month, new FirstEnergy filings could delay a court ruling on “bailouts” for the utility’s uneconomic coal and nuclear plants, further adding to customer bills. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Chicago-area developers, advocates, and government agencies are rushing to prepare local communities to take full advantage of incentives for community solar projects under a new energy law passed last year. (Midwest Energy News)
• A small Indiana town wants to power its government buildings entirely with solar. (WDRB)
• A pending case on whether to impose tariffs on imported solar equipment has several foreign manufacturers considering whether to open up shop in the U.S. to avoid potential trade restrictions. (Greentech Media)

***SPONSORED LINK: Curious about the future of renewable energy in the Midwest? Come to the Wind on the Wires Crystal Ball and see what’s in store. Register here.***

PIPELINES:
• Ohio environmental regulators’ fines against the developer of the Rover gas pipeline now reach $2.3 million for numerous water and air pollution violations during construction, and regulators now want the state attorney general’s office involved.

General Motors to buy 200 megawatts of wind power from projects in Ohio, Illinois

TRANSMISSION: After being rejected again by Missouri regulators, the developer of a proposed wind energy transmission line has hired former Gov. Jay Nixon as a legal adviser. (Midwest Energy News)

COAL: After nearly 10 years of negotiations with Michigan’s largest municipal utility, clean energy advocates reach an agreement that will close its two coal-fired power plants in Lansing by the end of 2025. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: How significant is the role of energy in the Midwest economy? Find out at the 2017 Midwest Energy Policy Conference October 3-4. Join policy makers, businesses, advocates and regulators who’ll be broadening their perspectives on infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy economic development through diverse, fact-based presentations. Click here for details.***

UTILITIES: Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy looks to legally separate its electric utility operations in Minnesota and North Dakota, citing divergent energy policies between the two states. (E&E News, subscription)

WIND: General Motors announces it will buy 200 megawatts of wind energy from projects in Ohio and Illinois once they come online next year. (Detroit Free Press)

SOLAR:
• Insiders believe the International Trade Commission is likely to find that U.S. solar cell manufacturers were harmed by imported modules, handing “the fate of the U.S. solar industry” to President Trump.

Developer says new 895-megawatt coal plant in Kansas now unlikely

COAL: A plan to build an 895-megawatt coal plant in southwest Kansas appears to be dead, and the developer is writing off as a loss more than $93 million it has already spent on the project. (Lawrence Journal-World)

PIPELINES: A state pipeline safety board in Michigan is asking Michigan Technological University to perform a risk analysis of the Line 5 pipeline after a contract with a company was canceled over conflict of interest issues. (Michigan Radio, Midwest Energy News archives)

***SPONSORED LINK: Curious about the future of renewable energy in the Midwest? Come to the Wind on the Wires Crystal Ball and see what’s in store. Register here.***

NORTH DAKOTA: With oil, coal, natural gas, wind and solar development, officials say North Dakota is a diverse energy-production state. (Forum News Service)

UTILITIES: Missouri regulators are opening proceedings to look further into emerging issues in utility regulation, particularly distributed generation.

Michigan regulators to continue studying in-state electric generation requirements

UTILITIES: An energy efficiency expert discusses new ways to incentivize utilities to increase spending on demand-side management. (Midwest Energy News)

GRID: Michigan regulators issue a controversial order requiring power providers to buy or produce electricity from within the state, but the companies won’t have to comply until 2022. (Bridge Magazine)

***SPONSORED LINK: How significant is the role of energy in the Midwest economy? Find out at the 2017 Midwest Energy Policy Conference October 3-4. Join policy makers, businesses, advocates and regulators who’ll be broadening their perspectives on infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy economic development through diverse, fact-based presentations. Click here for details.***

OIL AND GAS:
• Municipal leaders in North Dakota are now answering questions about how to pay down debt after infrastructure expanded during the state’s oil boom. (Forum News Service)
• Four years after a pipeline break sent 20,000 gallons of oil across a field in North Dakota, cleanup is nearing completion. (Associated Press)
• North Dakota crude oil is seeing increased demand following hurricanes that hit Texas and Florida.

Advocates say Michigan officials may be gearing up to close Mackinac pipeline

PIPELINES: New images show patches of protective coating larger than previously thought missing from Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac, and advocates say the state may be gearing up to take legal action against Enbridge to close the pipeline. (MLive)

SOLAR:
• An Iowa utility looks to create two new rate classes for customers who generate some of their own energy, which advocates say could lead to new fees for distributed solar. (Midwest Energy News)
• An automobile dealership and repair company in southern Illinois nears completion of a $1 million solar project at seven of its businesses in the region, which is expected to pay for itself in five years. (Southern Illinoisan)
• A new report says Michigan installed 65 megawatts of solar in the second quarter of this year, nearly doubling the total output in current inventory. (Crain’s Detroit Business)
• A city in southern Illinois gives preliminary approval for a 10-megawatt solar project.

Indiana nonprofit struggles to keep up with solar demand

SOLAR: Illinois utilities begin implementing plans for community solar as required under a new state energy law, which allows them to make more money on these and other projects. (Midwest Energy News, Utility Dive)

ALSO:
• An Indiana solar assistance project is unable to meet demand for projects ahead of net metering changes next year. (Indiana Public Media)
• Three schools in central Wisconsin are installing solar panels. (WSAW)
• An Ohio dairy farmer hopes solar panels can help him save money. (Youngstown Vindicator)
• Solar developers are suspending construction as they face the looming threat of U.S. import tariffs.

Utilities in Indiana and Ohio see benefits of energy storage despite lack of policy

GRID: A researcher at the Illinois Institute of Technology is developing a potentially game-changing power converter that better manages the way renewable energy generation interacts with the grid. (Midwest Energy News)

STORAGE: Utilities in Indiana and Ohio rank high for the amount of energy storage connected to their systems in 2016, even though there hasn’t been a legislative push in those states to promote the technology. (Utility Dive)

***SPONSORED LINK: How significant is the role of energy in the Midwest economy? Find out at the 2017 Midwest Energy Policy Conference October 3-4. Join policy makers, businesses, advocates and regulators who’ll be broadening their perspectives on infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy economic development through diverse, fact-based presentations. Click here for details.***

PIPELINES: One year after Dakota Access pipeline protests began, tribal leaders say “Standing Rock is stronger for what happened last year and that tribal members are engaged and focused on helping build the future.” (Minnesota Public Radio)

FRAC SAND: Last-minute changes to the state budget in Wisconsin would strip local control over regulating quarries, which some fear could be easily expanded to include frac sand mines. (LaCrosse Tribune)

CLEAN ENERGY: Recent legislation and private investments suggest that the clean energy workforce in Illinois will continue to grow. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND:
• Residents in a Wisconsin county continue to debate whether wind turbines have negative health impacts.

Minnesota says aging Line 3 pipeline should be shut down, replacement not needed

PIPELINES: An analysis by the Minnesota Department of Commerce says a new oil pipeline across the northern part of the state is not needed and that the aging Line 3 it’s supposed to replace should be shut down. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

EFFICIENCY:
• Going against the recommendation of an administrative law judge, Illinois regulators approve a request by Ameren to lower its energy efficiency targets under the state’s new energy law, a plan that had been sharply criticized by clean energy advocates. (WTTW)
• A small utility fee increase in a proposed Minneapolis city budget would raise millions to promote energy efficiency — and pay for itself many times over, according to advocates. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Energy leaders — make your nominations today for the 2017 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40. Open to nominations from all sectors involved in the Midwest’s energy transition.***

SOLAR:
• County officials in southeastern Ohio are optimistic about a proposal for a 125-megawatt solar project on reclaimed strip-mined land, which is one of three projects larger than 100 megawatts in the state awaiting approval.

‘Virtual’ power purchase agreements could boost wind farms

WIND: A draft U.S. Department of Energy report shows mainly minor or negligible short-term impacts from a plan to construct and operate six wind turbines approximately eight miles offshore of Cleveland. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: “Virtual power purchase agreements” are gaining steam around the country and could “provide a significant boost” to Indiana wind farms. (Indianapolis Business Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: How significant is the role of energy in the Midwest economy? Find out at the 2017 Midwest Energy Policy Conference October 3-4. Join policy makers, businesses, advocates and regulators who’ll be broadening their perspectives on infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy economic development through diverse, fact-based presentations. Click here for details.***

SOLAR:
• The U.S. solar industry installed nearly 2,400 megawatts in the second quarter this year, representing the largest total in a second quarter to date. (Solar Industry Magazine)
• A group of volunteers in Indiana are helping residents install solar panels under current net metering rules before they are phased out. (WFPL)
• Officials in a Minnesota town approve a 3-megawatt solar garden on rural residential property but require that it not be visible to neighbors. (Forum News Service)
• Students at the University of Illinois develop a solar-powered cell phone case that charges devices with indoor and outdoor light.