Daily digest

FirstEnergy ordered to refund $43 million to ratepayers

OHIO: State regulators order FirstEnergy to refund $43 million to ratepayers after finding the utility overpaid for renewable energy credits. It’s the latest in a string of bad news for the utility, which recently reported a $164 million second-quarter loss and announced it’s laying off 250 employees. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal)

MEANWHILE: Michigan’s large utilities are slashing, and even eliminating, their renewable energy surcharges after finding the clean power costs less than they anticipated. (Midwest Energy News)

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COAL: Alliant Energy proposes a $130 million upgrade to a Wisconsin coal plant, and a new report finds that decommissioning coal plants could develop into a multibillion-dollar industry. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, EnergyWire)

POLITICS: At an appearance in Fort Dodge, Iowa Rep. Steve King says climate change is “more religion than science” and “we don’t know where sea level is, even.” (Fort Dodge Messenger)

CLIMATE: A study finds Ohio can reduce its carbon emissions by 27 percent using existing policies and infrastructure, and a St. Louis company says its carbon capture technology is working successfully in a pilot project. (Ecoseed, St. Louis Business Journal)

OIL: A North Dakota mineral rights auction generates $4.8 million, which is significantly less than a similar auction a few months ago; and a Michigan woman spends most of Wednesday perched in a tree to protest Enbridge’s pipeline expansion. (Forum News Service, MLive)

WIND: North Dakota regulators delay a hearing on a proposed wind farm after developers are late in providing required documents, and wildlife groups fight a White House proposal to allow 30-year “incidental take” permits for wind farms that kill eagles. (Bismarck Tribune, The Hill)

SECURITY: The Obama administration considers voluntary incentives for utilities and other companies to better protect energy infrastructure from cyberattacks. (SNL)

FRAC SAND: The future is unclear for a proposed Wisconsin frac sand mine after local officials deny a needed waiver. (Winona Daily News)

BIOGAS: A fire at a Michigan landfill damages a methane collection facility. (Port Huron Times Herald)

COMMENTARY: Is it greener to travel by rail or by car? (The Guardian)

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