Daily digest

April winds led to ‘unprecedented’ power production in Upper Midwest

WIND: High wind speeds in April produced “unprecedented power production” across the Upper Midwest. (Minnesota Public Radio)

STORAGE: A Minnesota co-op leads an initiative pushing for the greater use of electric water heaters and electric vehicles as a means for energy storage. (Midwest Energy News)

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UTILITIES:
• Returning Ohio to a regulated electric market would not be easy. (Columbus Dispatch)
Opponents of the two “bailout” deals in Ohio have reached the deadline to file requests for a re-hearing with state regulators. (Associated Press)
• An Illinois utility rejects a local park district’s offer to pay past-due electric bills at a state park that have mounted during the state’s budget impasse. (Belleville News-Democrat)
The retiring CEO of We Energies says he has no regrets about his strategies at the utility, which included a $9 billion merger last year. (Milwaukee Business Journal)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Challengers to the Clean Power Plan ask federal judges for five hours of oral arguments across two days in June — typically cases get 20 to 40 minutes. (Greenwire)

SOLAR:
• Officials in Bowling Green, Ohio are considering developing a 20-megawatt solar project on city-owned land. (Toledo Blade)
• A new program by Ameren allows customers to help pay for solar projects. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• Alliant Energy in Wisconsin is set to unveil a solar demonstration project this week. (WMTV)
A Minnesota county considers a moratorium on new solar farms. (St. Cloud Times)

CLIMATE: In recommending adopting a social cost of carbon in Minnesota, an administrative law judge deals a loss to contrarian climate scientists hired by Peabody Energy. (The Guardian)

OIL & GAS:
• The Bakken oil and gas field is largely responsible for the global uptick in ethane pollution, a new study says. (Associated Press)
• A construction worker dies near St. Louis from a natural gas main explosion. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Layoffs are making life difficult for energy-sector workers across the Great Plains. (Rapid City Journal)

EFFICIENCY: Xcel Energy plans to install LED streetlights across North Dakota. (Associated Press)

COAL:
• The decline in coal use since its apex in 2007 was “particularly sharp” in the Midwest and Southeast. (ClimateWire)
• Ohio officials are planning to repair a mile-long stretch of roadway that is beginning to sag due to an old underground coal mine. (Columbus Dispatch)
CEO Robert Murray is “the architect of the most serious challenge to the Obama administration’s environmental goals.” (New York Times)
The industry downturn has proved lucrative for firms overseeing coal companies’ bankruptcies. (SNL / Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

FRAC SAND: A proposal to expand a frac sand mining site in Iowa would not negatively impact public health, according to an expert. (The Gazette)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: A new gasification plant that runs on wood waste is expected to save an Iowa city $40,000 a year on energy costs. (Sioux City Journal)

PIPELINES: House Republicans pull a provision in proposed pipeline safety legislation that would have made it easier for people affected by spills and leaks to file civil cases. (E&E Daily)

COMMENTARY:
• “As long as fracking is well regulated,” it facilitates an important bridge fuel that burns cleaner than coal. (Akron Beacon Journal)
FirstEnergy moves its plan to have ratepayers subsidize uncompetitive coal plants to West Virginia. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)
Michigan needs updated targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency. (Crain’s Detroit Business)
Unfreeze Ohio’s clean-energy standards. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Solar should play an increasingly larger role in Wisconsin’s energy mix. (Wisconsin State Journal)
Challenges and delays to pipeline projects in Minnesota only serve to stall economic benefits for the state. (Duluth News Tribune)

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