Daily digest

Critics say Michigan nuclear plant needs extensive upgrades

NUCLEAR: Advocates say they have unearthed new information showing that the Palisades nuclear plant on Lake Michigan needs extensive upgrades to be able to operate safely. (SNL)

SOLAR:
• A group-buying program meant to reduce the cost of installing solar for businesses and homeowners is spreading to another Midwest city. (Midwest Energy News)
Indiana Michigan Power is now operating its first utility-scale solar project and company officials say more are on the way. (Inside Indiana Business, WSJM)

***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 “ME-News” when registering for 10% off.  ***

OIL AND GAS: Michigan lawmakers call on state officials to reject a request from Marathon Oil to release more pollutants from its refinery near Detroit. (MLive)

VOLKSWAGEN SCANDAL: The Obama administration files a federal lawsuit in Detroit accusing the German automaker of violating pollution laws by using emissions-cheating software in its engines. (Washington Post)

COAL:
• An Illinois community looks to diversify its energy mix amid ongoing concerns about the city’s relationship with the Prairie State Energy Campus. (Kane County Chronicle)
Peabody Energy agrees to pay $75 million into a health care fund for coal-mining retirees affected by a recent bankruptcy proceeding, though many see it as a temporary fix. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray continues his fight against the federal government as the “last of the old-time coal barons.” (Bloomberg)

PIPELINES:
• South Dakota regulators again approve a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline through the state as the developer maintains the project could be revived under a new president. (Associated Press)
North Dakota regulators approve plans for an oil pipeline that will cross beneath a lake. (Bismarck Tribune)

EFFICIENCY:
• Commonwealth Edison partners with a St. Louis-based startup on a pilot program that helps customers more easily monitor their energy use. (Utility Dive)
• Duluth and Fargo are in the running for a $5 million prize as part of a national energy-saving competition. (Minnesota Public Radio)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join dynamic CEO Mary Powell of Green Mountain Power, renewables thought leader James Tong, Wisconsin utilities, and renewable industry experts for “Shaping the Utility of the Future,” Thursday, January 21st in Madison, Wisconsin. ***

TRANSMISSION: A recent federal ruling saying transmission companies were getting excessive revenue from ratepayers is unlikely to affect new projects through Wisconsin. (LaCrosse Tribune)

COMMENTARY: The Three Affiliated Tribes should approve a new oil revenue-sharing agreement with North Dakota and “see how it works.” (Bismarck Tribune)

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