• A bipartisan effort in Ohio seeks to restore utility energy efficiency programs while also giving customers an option to opt out. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
• Energy conservation and assistance remains a key mission for an environmental group based in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (Marquette Mining Journal)

POWER PLANTS: A Wisconsin bill would extend the amount of time local governments receive payments from the state after a power plant is decommissioned. (Telegraph Herald)

• An Ohio judge freezes $8 million in assets of former utility regulator Sam Randazzo, who is the current target of an FBI investigation, to preserve the assets for potential future collection. (Associated Press)
• A FirstEnergy lobbyist registered to lobby the administration of Gov. Mike DeWine on COVID-19 last year as the bribery investigation involving power plant bailout bills was ramping up. (Ohio Capital Journal)

• Advocates say state and federal policymakers should adopt clean energy policies that grow jobs in states like Kansas. (Wichita Eagle)
• A new advocacy group forms in Nebraska to promote wind and solar development opportunities. (Lincoln Journal Star)

• “The COVID pandemic kind of put the industry to sleep, and it’s struggling somewhat to wake up,” a North Dakota official says as statewide oil production has plateaued in recent months. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Groups representing large energy users in Kansas want state officials to further investigate natural gas price spikes during a cold weather snap earlier this year that caused controlled blackouts. (Kansas Reflector)

STORAGE: Michigan regulators direct investor-owned utilities to propose energy storage pilot programs to better understand how storage could benefit the grid. (Utility Dive)

UTILITIES: Incoming Xcel Energy CEO Bob Frenzel has worked in the power sector for most of his career and says the company is “going to lead in the clean-energy transition.” (Star Tribune)

PIPELINES: A pipeline activist reports to federal prison to begin serving an eight-year sentence for her role in damaging parts of the Dakota Access pipeline in 2016 and 2017. (Democracy Now)

• Vehicle electrification can “become a differentiator for automakers, addressing social responsibility and also creating excitement with customers,” the head of a major auto supplier said at a recent conference in Michigan. (MiBiz)
• Ohio electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors expects to start limited production of its electric truck next month as it continues to seek long-term funding from investors. (Associated Press)

• Dozens of utility-scale solar projects are proposed in Ohio as developers pursue good land and power supply contracts. (WYSO)
• Opponents of a planned 120 MW solar project in Indiana want the state’s Supreme Court to overrule a decision allowing the project to proceed. (Herald Bulletin)
• County officials in northern Indiana will consider plans this week for a 150 MW solar project. (Goshen News)

COMMENTARY: Ohio has an opportunity to be a clean energy jobs leader through its existing manufacturing base, says the spokesperson for a manufacturing trade group. (Cleveland.com)

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.