Wisconsin power line debate raises questions over renewables, reliability

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Midwest utilities explore new “smart charging” strategies for encouraging customers to plug in electric vehicles during off-peak times. (Energy News Network)

TRANSMISSION:
• Wisconsin regulators say they will consider formal opposition to the controversial Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project by attorneys general in Illinois and Michigan. (Wisconsin State Journal)
• The project has divided some clean energy groups and raises key questions about reliability amid the transition to renewables. (Utility Dive)

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SOLAR:
• Tribes in Wisconsin will use federal grants to install solar projects as they pursue “energy sovereignty.” (Wisconsin Public Radio)
• A utility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula plans to purchase power from a new 125 MW solar project that will push the utility’s renewable energy portfolio beyond 50% by 2022.

Michigan AG: Line 5 at greater risk as pipeline gaps expand

COAL: Residents in a Chicago neighborhood seek greater protection from air pollution as officials prepare to remediate a coal plant that closed seven years ago. (Energy News Network)

PIPELINES:
• An unsupported section of the Line 5 pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac exceeds the 75-foot limit under an easement with the state of Michigan, putting it at higher risk for erosion and rupture. (Detroit News)
• A county board in northwestern Michigan delays a resolution in support of a tunnel project for Line 5. (Interlochen Public Radio)

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RENEWABLES: Some Midwest electric cooperatives remain hesitant to embrace renewables over more expensive coal generation, though most likely for political than economic reasons.

Midwest ethanol plants expected to cut production amid trade dispute

BIOFUELS: Ethanol plants across the Midwest are expected to cut back production due to oversupply and President Trump’s trade dispute with China. (Radio Iowa)

ALSO:
• Two ethanol plants in South Dakota are sold to a new company for $47.5 million as the previous owner liquidates its assets. (Associated Press)
• Democrats seeking to unseat President Trump embrace ethanol mandates as a way to combat climate change, though observers say the position contradicts support for policies like the Green New Deal. (E&E News, subscription)

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WIND: Ohio’s wind industry could soon face more hurdles to siting and producing wind farms if regulators approve new rules related to building codes and incident reporting.

FirstEnergy Solutions bankruptcy wouldn’t honor union contracts

UTILITIES: FirstEnergy Solutions tells a bankruptcy court that it won’t honor existing union contracts, which means power plant workers who helped lobby for the recent Ohio bailout bill could lose traditional pensions if a judge agrees to the utility’s restructuring plan. (Utility Dive)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Iowa’s electric vehicle charger network is poised for growth as MidAmerican Energy plans a fast-charger network. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register today to attend the 2019 Veteran’s Advanced Energy Summit in Chicago, August 13 — where the future of energy meets national security. The summit will address the trends, technologies, and policies that are shaping the energy sector.***

GRID: DTE Energy has had the second-highest rate increases among U.S. utilities since 2015, yet its grid reliability is below average, according to a recent report from consumer advocates. (Detroit Free Press)

PIPELINES:
• South Dakota tribal leaders request a hearing on a plan to double the Dakota Access Pipeline’s capacity.

Wind power helps keep down power costs in Wisconsin

WIND: Declining wind energy costs help keep electric rates down for Xcel Energy customers in western Wisconsin, company officials say. (Wisconsin State Journal)

ALSO: Wind advocates say improved turbine technology will help the industry as federal tax credits expire. (E&E News, subscription)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register today to attend the 2019 Veteran’s Advanced Energy Summit in Chicago, August 13 — where the future of energy meets national security. The summit will address the trends, technologies, and policies that are shaping the energy sector.***

RENEWABLES: A complex solar partnership helps a Wisconsin dairy cooperative offset 100% of its energy use with renewables. (Energy News Network, LaCrosse Tribune)

SOLAR:
• As federal tax credits expire for solar projects, customers in Minnesota and elsewhere rush to install projects.