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)

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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)

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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)

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After Keystone spill, opponents turn up heat on Nebraska regulators

PIPELINES: TransCanada shuts down the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota after it leaks 210,000 gallons of oil, just days before Nebraska regulators are expected to release a decision on the company’s Keystone XL project. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• Opponents of Keystone XL were already in the midst of a last-minute push to urge Nebraska regulators to reject a proposed route for the project, with one group saying the spill “should be a stark warning.” (Reuters, NRDC)
• The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes continue to push for stronger water protections and spill response plans for the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)

***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.

Study raises new climate concerns about ethanol boom

BIOFUELS: A Wisconsin study finds plowing new farmland for biofuel production from 2008-2012 released carbon emissions equivalent to 20 million new cars on the road. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR:
• Illinois solar developments are concerned about uncertainty over renewable energy credit pricing, but are overall optimistic about the state’s energy plan. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Wisconsin businessman creates a fund to help nonprofits install solar power. (Milwaukee Public Radio)

***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.

Lawsuit seeks to stop pipeline work in Ohio, Michigan

PIPELINES: A lawsuit filed by environmental groups seeks to stop work on the Nexus pipeline, which would cross Ohio and Michigan. (Associated Press)

ALSO:
• Enbridge says a recent report finding gaps in protective coating does not “represent a risk to the safe operation of Line 5,” but refuses to answer specific questions about the findings. (Detroit Free Press)
• Human error is blamed for a pipeline spill in North Dakota that leaked more than 11,000 gallons of brine. (Bismarck Tribune)

***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.

Michigan governor calls pipeline report ‘deeply concerning’

PIPELINES: Enbridge releases a report on coating gaps on the Line 5 pipeline beneath the Straits of Mackinac, which Gov. Rick Snyder calls “deeply concerning.” (MLive)

ALSO: Nebraska officials are expected to rule next week on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline route through the state. (Associated Press)

***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.***

GRID: Illinois ranks second in the country in a national assessment of how states are modernizing their electricity transmission and distribution systems. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Schools in Minnesota are increasingly investing in solar energy by installing arrays owned by third parties or subscribing to community solar gardens.