NUCLEAR: Exelon says falling profits may force it to shut down nuclear plants. (Chicago Tribune)

COAL ASH: Tests show high levels of arsenic and other toxins in the North Carolina river where thousands of tons of coal ash spilled on Sunday. (Los Angeles Times)

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COAL: The PJM Interconnection gives FirstEnergy permission to close two Ohio coal plants ahead of schedule. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

GRID: With reliability a growing concern, some Midwest universities are looking to microgrids; and customers participating in an Illinois dynamic pricing program are seeing significant savings on their energy bills. (Midwest Energy News, EnergyWire)

SMART METERS: Illinois regulators approve a fee of $21.53 per month for ComEd customers who refuse to have smart meters installed. (Chicago Tribune)

OIL BY RAIL: Tesoro says it is phasing out older rail cars to haul crude oil, oil trains are disrupting Amtrak service as well as a Twin Cities commuter line, and Minnesota’s governor will push for legislative hearings on rail safety. (Associated Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WIND: A judge orders Consumers Energy to file a noise mitigation plan in its dispute over a wind farm in a Michigan county. (Michigan Capitol Confidential)

NATURAL GAS: Xcel Energy says customers’ conservation efforts helped stabilize natural gas supplies after a major pipeline rupture last month, and Missouri regulators say a utility failed to take adequate safety steps prior to a natural gas explosion at a Kansas City restaurant last year. (Forum News Service, Associated Press)

FRAC SAND: Twenty frac sand protesters are found guilty of trespassing in Minnesota, and an Illinois town’s decision means a proposed sand mine expansion will move forward. (Winona Daily News, Ottawa Times)

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FRACKING: Ohio teachers attend industry-funded workshops to learn about oil and gas drilling. (Columbus Dispatch)

COMMENTARY: Wisconsin risks falling further behind on solar. (Madison Capital-Times)

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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