Daily digest

2012 was hottest year ever recorded in the United States

CLIMATE: 2012 was the hottest year ever recorded in the United States, with the year’s average temperature a full degree hotter than the previous record set in 1998. (New York Times)

SOLAR: A bill to require 10 percent of Minnesota’s electricity to come from solar will be at the top of the legislature’s clean energy agenda this year. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: Xcel Energy and the American Wind Energy Association downplay comments by an Xcel lobbyist implying the utility is considering a split with the industry group. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

OIL: The head of the American Petroleum Institute says the United States is “at the crossroads of a great turning point” in its energy history, and calls for the federal government not to take away industry tax breaks. (New York Times)

ALSO: Minnesota environmentalists oppose expansion of an Enbridge pipeline in the state, and Wichita officials consider allowing oil drilling on city-owned land near downtown. (Minnesota Public Radio, KSN-TV)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators still have no timetable for restarting the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska, which has been shut down since April 2011 because of flooding and a string of safety problems. (Associated Press)

COAL: Illinois’ coal industry saw its production increase in 2012, and increasingly sees exports as its future. (Carbondale Southern)

TRANSPORTATION: Iowa considers increasing its registration fee for electric vehicles, which has stood at $25 since 1927. (Quad-City Times)

GEOTHERMAL: An Illinois school considers a $4.5 million geothermal project to replace its aging heating system. (Chicago Tribune)

COMMENTARY: How transmission constraints continue to hold back wind development in the Midwest. (Reuters)

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