FRAC SAND: Wisconsin’s frac sand industry prepares for a slowdown amid falling oil prices. (Madison Capital Times)

EFFICIENCY: Despite clear benefits, Minnesota officials are finding a state efficiency program isn’t always an easy sell. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

KEYSTONE XL: Why “infrastructure is destiny” when it comes to energy politics, and experts note that the fight over Keystone XL is mostly about politics (which comes as no surprise to Grist’s David Roberts). (InsideClimate News, New York Times, Grist)

OIL: Hundreds pack a third hearing on a proposed Minnesota pipeline, and North Dakota’s top regulator says low prices mean “there’s gloom, but there’s no doom” for the state’s oil industry. (Forum News Service)

CLIMATE: An Illinois Senator who voted for cap-and-trade in 2009 disavows climate science, joining the 56 percent of congressional Republicans who either question or deny climate change. (E&E Daily, ThinkProgress)

WIND: An industry report says wind energy saved ratepayers $1 billion over two days during last winter’s cold snap, and the owners of two Minnesota community wind projects file for bankruptcy. (ECO Report, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

IOWA: Gov. Terry Branstad says the state legislature should stay out of regulatory decisions involving power lines and pipelines. (Des Moines Register)

NUCLEAR: An industry report says an Ohio nuclear plant has an economic impact of over $1 billion per year. (Toledo Blade)

COAL: A Minnesota utility says its coal supplies are “in pretty good shape” despite rail issues, and an Indiana company is pursuing two new surface mines. (Fergus Falls Journal, Platts)

SOLAR: A report finds that solar is a money-saver in 42 of the 50 largest U.S. cities, another finds more than 3,700 U.S. schools have installed solar panels. (Charlotte Business Journal, Sustainable Business)

COMMENTARY: Why aesthetic arguments over wind turbines don’t really matter. (Pacific Standard)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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