Daily digest

$1 billion in tax relief for major Wisconsin utility to go toward infrastructure

POLICY: After six months of revisions, clean-energy and consumer advocates are still critical of energy legislation in Michigan that they say would be costly for ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES:
• Milwaukee-based WEC Energy Group will see $1 billion in tax relief from 2015 based on a new federal law; the company says the windfall will be spent on capital projects. (Milwaukee Business Journal)
• A mild winter cut into a Wisconsin utility’s first-quarter revenues. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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WIND:
• A new federal proposal would allow wind developers to receive 30-year permits for wind turbines and allow for the killing or disturbing of more bald eagles as a way to get firms to commit to more conservation measures. (Greenwire)
• A Wisconsin-based manufacturer that specializes in repairing wind turbine gearboxes plans to expand again within two years due to the sector’s growth. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
The first quarter of 2016 for wind installations was the strongest since 2012. (Smart Grid News)

EFFICIENCY: Ameren Missouri is reinstating a roughly $2-a-month charge on electric bills to go toward an energy efficiency rebate program. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

PETCOKE: Southeast side Chicago residents say recent settlements over petcoke pollution are not enough and want to see the companies stockpiling it leave town. (CBS Chicago)

FRACKING: Environmental groups sue the U.S. EPA over the agency’s alleged failure to stop the disposal of drilling waste that can threaten groundwater supplies and trigger man-made earthquakes. (Associated Press)

BIOFUELS:
• Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says companies are already interested in a new state tax credit for making products from biofuel leftovers. (Radio Iowa)
• One of the first ethanol plants in the country closes in South Dakota because it was outdated. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES:
A Midwest infrastructure advocate says it’s time for opposition groups to stop stalling the Dakota Access pipeline so it can be built in one season. (Radio Iowa)
• But for Native American tribes affected by the project, the fight over it is “far from over.” (ClimateProgress)

ILLINOIS: A radio broadcaster and state political candidate pays nearly $4,000 for overdue electric bills at three Illinois state parks so they can re-open. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

NUCLEAR: A nuclear plant in southeast Michigan is shut down for repairs. (Monroe News)

SOLAR:
• Officials in a Minnesota county approve a solar project on a wetlands site, though the project will still have to pass state and federal wetland regulations. (Red Wing Republican Eagle)
• The Department of Energy launches a new $25 million fund to help integrate solar energy into the grid. (Utility Dive)
As net metering is phased out in some states, home energy storage is becoming more attractive. (Bloomberg)

OIL AND GAS:
• Tens of thousands of residents are evacuated as a wildfire in the heart of Alberta’s oil sands spreads to nearby towns. (Associated Press)
March oil production numbers in North Dakota are “going to be bad,” according to an industry official. (Forum News Service)
Local officials want more information before deciding on a proposed oil refinery near a national park in North Dakota. (Associated Press)

COAL: Studies show that people living in coal-mining communities do not generally live longer, happier lives, despite claims made on Fox News. (Grist)

CLIMATE: A new report says phasing out fossil fuel leases on public lands would be a significant way to reduce carbon emissions and meet international climate goals. (InsideClimate News)

COMMENTARY:
• FirstEnergy “plugs away in zombie-like fashion at its undying effort” to have customers pay for its struggling plants in Ohio. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)
• DTE Energy says Michigan’s current energy law threatens the reliability of the state’s energy resources as coal plants close. (Detroit News)

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