WIND: Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman signs wind energy tax breaks into law, a measure that he had earlier threatened to veto. (Omaha World-Herald)

GRID: As the Midwest faces more coal plant retirements, the region’s primary grid operator considers a longer-term planning outlook. (Midwest Energy News)

MICHIGAN: DTE Energy has been able to cut operating costs while meeting Michigan’s renewable energy benchmarks, and announces it will lower its renewable energy rate surcharge from $3 to 43 cents. (

COAL: Like Illinois, Indiana coal producers consider ramping up exports in response to declining domestic demand; and a bill in the U.S. House would override EPA coal ash regulations. (Platts, The Hill)

FRACKING: Major oil and gas drilling in Illinois is unlikely to begin until next year, as new regulations will take several months to implement; and another Ohio company is accused of illegally dumping wastewater. (Associated Press, Columbus Dispatch)

FRAC SAND: After lifting its moratorium, a Minnesota county approves its first new frac sand mining operation, with at least 40 conditions. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

TECHNOLOGY: In a Minnesota pilot project, an Ohio company is testing a new type of taconite pellet that would enable steel to be made using electricity instead of traditional blast furnaces. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ALSO: A Wisconsin company is awarded $2.4 million to develop a process to cut manufacturing costs of LED bulbs, and a solar-powered airplane makes a stop in St. Louis. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

EFFICIENCY: A bipartisan energy efficiency bill in the U.S. Senate could be sunk by controversial amendments, and the New York Times profiles Walgreens’ net-zero store under construction outside Chicago. (Politico, New York Times)

BIOFUELS: The oil and gas industry wants the Supreme Court to strike down an EPA decision allowing the sale of E15 ethanol blends. (The Hill)

POLLUTION: A Wisconsin biomass power plant will pay $150,000 to settle pollution violations. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

TRANSPORTATION: Faced with a road-funding shortfall, Michigan considers a $75 fee for hybrid and electric vehicles. (

COMMENTARY: How utilities can adapt to the 21st century. (Grist)

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.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.