SOLAR: 2015 was a historic year for the U.S. solar industry, with record-breaking fourth-quarter projections to come, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

• A Minnesota town will offset 67 percent of its power needs with solar over the 25 years. (Midwest Energy News)
One solar company CEO wants to see tax credits end for the industry so it can “focus on how to become more competitive.” (Houston Business Journal)
• A public utility in Nebraska is encouraging customers to install solar as a “hedge against uncertainty” with forthcoming regulations. (Lincoln Journal Star)
 An expiring state tax credit ignites a major push for solar installations in North Carolina, which were the second highest of any state in the 3rd quarter. (Charlotte Business Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: Rocky Mountain Institute’s e-Lab Accelerator is calling on America’s most innovative teams at the forefront of the electricity transformation looking to take projects to the next level. See if your project is eligible for this invitation-only event April 24—27. ***

• U.S. lawmakers press leaders of major oil companies on what they knew about climate change and whether they made efforts to downplay fossil fuels’ role. (InsideClimate News)
Major challenges remain for a deal in Paris, including how much emissions should be curbed and how it would get paid for. (Reuters)
Secretary of State John Kerry says if an agreement is not reached in Paris, “we will be liable for a collective moral failure of historic consequence.” (Greenwire)

FRACKING: Pennsylvania’s attorney general sues Chesapeake Energy over allegedly deceptive behavior when securing fracking leases from landowners. (Pittsburgh Business Times)

• Alaska’s governor proposes a personal income tax on residents for the first time in 35 years to help plug a multi-billion dollar budget deficit amid low oil prices. (Associated Press)
A federal bill clears a Senate committee that would designate the Great Lakes a “high consequence” area and subject it to stronger pipeline safety standards. (MLive)

• U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says mini-reactors could be a solution to bringing more nuclear energy online in the future. (Reuters)
• A legislative committee in Wisconsin approves lifting the state’s moratorium on new nuclear plants. (Associated Press)
Experts say an outdated model of health risks that seeks to block even low-level exposure to radiation is hampering the industry’s growth. (ClimateWire)

COAL: U.S. taxpayers could be left with multibillion-dollar liabilities if large coal companies are pushed to bankruptcy as part of a practice known as “self-bonding.” (Reuters)

EMISSIONS: In a separate issue from its diesel engine scandal, Volkswagen says a suspected discrepancy in carbon dioxide emissions from nearly one million of its cars is smaller than first expected. (MLive)

ECONOMY: An advanced-energy business leader in Michigan explains how strong clean energy policy leads to economic development. (Midwest Energy News)

BATTERIES: A Texas researcher is leading the state’s effort to bring online large amounts of renewables with storage technology. (The Texas Tribune)

GENERATION: A bad year financially for independent power producers is ending on a bad note. (EnergyWire)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Grid Modernization Forum, January 19-20 in Chicago is a focused industry conference examining the integration of renewables, energy storage, microgrids, engaging the customer, and key regulatory issues.  Enter “US-News” when registering for 10% off.  ***

BIOFUELS: Iowa’s congressional delegation asks House leadership to protect the Renewable Fuel Standard during budget negotiations. (Radio Iowa)

COMMENTARY: Oregon should take advantage of its offshore wind potential. (The Oregonian)

Andy compiles the Midwest Energy News digest and was a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News from 2014-2020. He is managing editor of MiBiz in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was formerly a reporter and editor at City Pulse, Lansing’s alternative newsweekly.

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