Daily digest

Advocates say agreement with Ohio utility will lead to major clean energy investment

UTILITIES:
• A wide-ranging agreement between American Electric Power and several groups calls for multiple new clean energy investments, though consumer advocates are opposed because it would “lock-in subsidies for its power plants, subsidies for special interests, and various other charges.” (Columbus Dispatch)
• Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy formally ask Kansas regulators to approve a $14 billion merger announced in July. (Topeka Capital Journal)

SUSTAINABILITY: An environmental camp in Northern Minnesota faces the challenges of having new facilities certified under rigorous net-zero building standards. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the “Building the Case for Energy and Resource Efficiency” Conference, September 21, in Milwaukee. This conference will show simple steps to reduce energy costs, how to sell projects internally, and recent case studies of energy efficiency projects. Register here.***

PIPELINES:
• Ohio residents will continue to fight the planned NEXUS gas pipeline despite construction approval by federal regulators. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• North Dakota regulators meet behind closed doors to consider a counter-proposal made by the Dakota Access developer to settle multiple issues around the construction of the pipeline. (Bismarck Tribune)
• A federal judge allows industry trade groups to weigh in on whether the Dakota Access pipeline should be shut down while an environmental review is conducted. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLES: In Michigan, the regulatory debate over avoided costs utilities pay to independent renewable energy generators is playing out in a more collaborative way compared to other states. (Greentech Media)

TRANSPORTATION: American Electric Power is seeking to charge its customers in Ohio $21.2 million to pay for transportation initiatives in Columbus, about half of which would cover rebates for electric vehicle charging stations. (Columbus Business First)

WIND: Construction continues on a $200 million wind farm in Indiana. (WISH-TV)

SOLAR:
• President Trump reportedly asked his economic advisers to “bring me some tariffs,” which may be good news for two U.S. solar manufacturers who are petitioning the federal government for solar tariffs, but a “worrying sign” for the majority of the industry. (Greentech Media)
• A solar rebate program in Wisconsin surpasses a second goal for the number of systems purchased. (Hub City Times)

GRID: PJM Interconnection publishes a white paper on how putting a price on carbon could be an efficient and cost-effective approach to making decisions about clean energy or keeping a legacy power plant online. (Utility Dive)

EFFICIENCY: An Ohio township is saving more than $2,000 a month by switching to LED lightbulbs in township buildings. (Youngstown Vindicator)

***SPONSORED LINK: Learn the latest in renewable energy at the NEW Energy Fair in St. Paul, Minnesota, September 9-10 with a Solar Professional Day September 8. Featuring keynote speakers Tara Houska and Jason Edens, FREE admission to 80+ workshops and 60+ exhibits, Electric Vehicle Ride-N-Drive, and more.***

COAL: While top coal transporter BNSF Railway brought back 4,000 of 5,000 furloughed workers in part due to stronger volumes of coal, the company still sees the “long-term trend to decline.” (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• Environmental groups say a proposed settlement with AEP in Ohio will “unlock millions in funding, lower pollution, avoid unnecessary electricity bill increases, and provide customers with more clean energy options.” (Environmental Defense Fund)
• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Department of Energy’s grid study released last week undermines the case for pumping “taxpayer resources into reviving the coal industry.”

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