U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves federal Line 3 pipeline permit

Note to readers: Midwest Energy News is taking a break for the holiday and will be back on Monday, Nov. 30. Thank you for reading! POLITICS: Supporters of the proposed Clean Energy Jobs Act in Illinois say a “mysterious dark money group” is co-opting messages on climate and clean energy with vague messages critical of utility’s clean energy transitions. (Energy News Network)

ALSO: Democratic lawmakers in Ohio are growing frustrated with the lack of action to repeal the state’s power plant bailout law as the investigation has “snowballed into something much larger than where we started.” (WOSU)

TRANSMISSION: A pair of energy consultants seek partners for a $9.5 billion transmission-plus-storage project that could complete a renewable energy superhighway connecting Southern California and Chicago.

Top Ohio utility regulator Sam Randazzo resigns

OHIO: Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo resigns days after the FBI searched his home as part of an investigation into the state’s power plant subsidy law bribery scandal. (Cleveland.com)

POLICY: An Indiana legislative task force’s report appears to lay the groundwork for justifying power-plant bailouts similar to those in Ohio and Illinois, despite assurances from state regulators and the region’s grid operator that coal plant closures do not pose a threat to grid reliability. (Energy News Network) 

COAL: As coal use declines nationally, Indiana remains among 15 states that still gets a majority of its power from coal. (Herald Republican)

TRANSMISSION: A federal judge will allow environmental groups’ lawsuit to proceed against the planned Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission project in southwestern Wisconsin. (Wisconsin State Journal)

• Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s plan to shut down Line 5 in the Straits of Mackinac causes concern for Toledo area refineries.

Minnesota regulators approve renewable natural gas supply system

WIND: As prices continue to fall, Xcel Energy issues bill credits to customers who volunteered to pay extra to support wind energy. (Energy News Network)

• Federal regulators allow a developer more time to show to grid operator MISO that it has secured enough land for a proposed 600 MW wind project in Wisconsin. (RTO Insider)
• The Port of Duluth-Superior is on pace this year to set another record for wind turbine cargo shipments. (Star Tribune)

RENEWABLE GAS: Minnesota regulators approve CenterPoint Energy’s plan to create a statewide supply system that would link renewable natural gas producers with a distribution network. (Star Tribune)

UTILITIES: FirstEnergy tells federal regulators that the recent firing of top executives was tied to a $4 million payment to terminate a consulting contract with a firm apparently linked to PUCO Chairman Sam Randazzo.

Former ComEd CEO charged with bribery

TRANSPORTATION: Michigan environmental and public transit advocates are dismayed at their exclusion from a new state mobility task force whose members’ backgrounds heavily favor automobiles. (Energy News Network) 

• Former ComEd CEO Anne Pramaggiore and a former top ComEd lobbyist are charged with bribery as part of an alleged scheme to gain favorable contracts through House Speaker Michael Madigan. (Chicago Sun-Times)
• Several Midwest utilities are planning major infrastructure investments to reduce climate-related risks and transition fuel sources. (Utility Dive)

• Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo was not at Wednesday’s commission meeting following an FBI search of his home earlier this week. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Addressing the power plant subsidy law at the center of a bribery scandal is among top priorities for Ohio lawmakers’ lame-duck session.

Consumers Energy CEO stepping down to lead PG&E

POLICY: Developers and advocates say Illinois’ solar industry could face irreparable harm after the pandemic causes state leaders to cancel a November legislative session, delaying action on multiple clean energy bills. (Energy News Network)

UTILITIES: Consumers Energy President and CEO Patti Poppe is leaving the company effective Dec. 1 to lead PG&E Corp., California’s largest utility, as it grapples with wildfire and reliability challenges. (MiBiz)

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