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)

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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