Ohio communities plot a future without large coal plants

SOLAR: A new online marketplace hopes to accelerate community solar development by connecting developers and potential subscribers in nine states, including Illinois and Minnesota. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• Dominion Energy acquires a 150 MW solar project in northwestern Ohio. (LimaOhio.com)
• Alliant Energy donates $90,000 in community solar subscriptions to a local Habitat for Humanity group. (WFRV)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join MEEA and fellow industry leaders and innovators at the 2021 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, happening virtually Feb. 16-19.

Biden administration may move quickly to cancel Keystone XL permit

PIPELINES: President-elect Joe Biden is expected to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline permit early on in his administration. (New York Times)

ALSO:
• Top Canadian officials hope to at least discuss the proposed pipeline with Biden amid reports that it would be canceled. (Associated Press)
• Critics say revoking the Keystone XL permit would be at odds with Biden’s promise to support good-paying union jobs. (E&E News, subscription)
• Ohio becomes the latest state to enact harsher penalties for trespassing on or interfering with energy infrastructure, which critics say is an attempt to chill pipeline protests. (Grist)

SOLAR:
• Some Michigan solar advocates see a potential silver lining for battery storage after regulators reduced compensation rates for Consumers Energy customers sending excess power back to the grid.

Minnesota falls further behind on emission-reduction targets

EMISSIONS:
• Minnesota is falling further behind on its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets largely because of increased natural gas usage and transportation emissions. (Star Tribune)
• Transportation-related nitrogen dioxide emissions declined markedly in the St. Louis area over the past year during the pandemic, following trends in cities globally. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

POLITICS: Exelon and American Electric Power are among utilities halting political contributions in the wake of last week’s failed insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Ohio AG seeks to block $102M in fees for FirstEnergy

CLEAN ENERGY: Ann Arbor, Michigan, officials are pursuing a community choice aggregation bill that would allow it to purchase clean energy on behalf of residents and businesses. (Energy News Network)

ALSO: Wisconsin officials anticipate a growing number of solar and energy efficiency projects to come online this year. (WUWM)

OHIO:
• Attorney General Dave Yost seeks a court order blocking $102 million in decoupling fees allowed under HB 6, which state attorneys say are “for the sole purpose of padding FirstEnergy’s bottom-line.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)
• A plan to undercut Cleveland Public Power began in 2018 and used nonprofits funded by players in the HB 6 scandal to criticize the utility’s rates, authorities say. (Cleveland.com)

POWER PLANTS: A $400 million power plant planned in North Dakota would run on ethane, which supporters say would help limit flaring from natural gas production. (Bismarck Tribune)

GRID:
• Interstate coordination and expanding the U.S. transmission system could lower the cost of fully decarbonizing the electric grid by 2040 by 46%, according to an M.I.T. study.

Minnesota utility to shutter remaining coal plants by 2035

COAL: A northern Minnesota utility announces that it will close its last two coal plants by 2035 as it transitions to carbon-free power by 2050. (Star Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: Months after record participation by state and local governments helped pass an ambitious building energy code update, the organization that oversees the process is taking steps that would sideline thousands of public sector members from voting on future updates. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES:
• Enbridge tells Michigan officials that it has no intention of shutting down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac after the state last year announced it would revoke the company’s easement. (Bridge Michigan)
• The organization that hosts a popular ski and trail event in northwestern Wisconsin cuts sponsorship ties with Enbridge after community members scrutinized the relationship. (Star Tribune)

CLIMATE:
• Officials in Des Moines, Iowa, pass a resolution calling for 100% carbon-free electricity community-wide by 2035 and reducing carbon emissions 45% over the next decade.