OHIO: FirstEnergy proposes a new rate plan that would require subsidiaries to buy electricity from its unregulated power plants, regardless of the cost. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

GRID: Why some utilities are warming up to microgrids. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Support Solar in Illinois – Purchase a raffle ticket to win a Tesla Model S and Bosch Home Charger from the Illinois Solar Energy Association! Only 2,000 tickets will be sold.***

EFFICIENCY: A Chicago nonprofit pushes for greater energy efficiency in apartment buildings, which are often overlooked in higher-profile efforts. (Chicago Tribune)

OIL: Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad says he’s undecided on a proposed new oil pipeline, and state officials urge landowners to seek legal advice before signing pipeline deals. (Radio Iowa, Newton Daily News)

ALSO: Canadian oil shipments increase across northern Minnesota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

COAL: Disrupted coal shipments due to rail congestion may be a region-wide problem, and an Indiana agency is recognized for its mine reclamation work. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Associated Press)

FRAC SAND: Demand for frac sand continues to soar, and a sand mine recently visited by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quietly settles environmental violations with the state. (Wall Street Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

FRACKING: A Wisconsin researcher says a lack of data prevents us from fully understanding the environmental impact of fracking. (Madison Capital Times)

NUCLEAR: A Missouri nuclear plant has stopped discharging water into a nearby area where elevated levels of radioactive chemicals were found. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: Minnesota lawmakers take part in a solar tour. (Brainerd Dispatch)

***SPONSORED LINK: Sign up now for the Solar Powering Michigan conference, Sept. 12 in Traverse City. Register by Friday for the $99 early-bird rate. Pre- & post-conference trainings available. Presented by MREA, GLREA and Northwestern Michigan College.***

UTILITIES: Thousands of Ohioans are using the state’s new online price-comparison tool. (Columbus Business First)

COMMENTARY: Minnesota regulators will make a key decision on solar this week, and why transmission lines are good for Iowa’s economy. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Des Moines Register)

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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