SOLAR: Citing a production glut, General Electric drops plans for a Colorado facility that would have been the largest solar plant in the U.S. and will partner with First Solar instead. (Denver Post)

WIND: A Department of Energy report finds wind was the fastest growing energy sector in 2012, and provides Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota with more than 20 percent of their electricity; and an Xcel Energy grant will help Minnesota farmers install small wind turbines. (Des Moines Register, St. Cloud Times)

ALSO: An interactive map from the Department of Energy shows the growth of wind farms over the years

***SPONSORED LINK: The Inspiring Efficiency Awards recognize Midwest leaders who deliver groundbreaking advancements in energy efficiency. Apply or provide a nomination today.***

BIOFUELS: The EPA lowers the production target for cellulosic ethanol; producers praise the “realistic” new standard but the oil industry says it’s still too high. (Greenwire)

OIL: Some residents affected by the Mayflower oil spill in Arkansas say they’ve been ignored by Exxon and government officials, and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell says North Dakota is “very sophisticated” in its approach to oil development and can provide a model for other states. (InsideClimate News, Bismarck Tribune)

COAL: A Michigan mining company’s decision to drop its utility could impact coal shipping from a Duluth port, and a county official in Missouri pursues tougher pollution controls at an Ameren coal plant. (Duluth News Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

OHIO: An energy supply company CEO says Ohio’s regulations are “an impediment to a fully functioning market.” (Columbus Business First)

FRAC SAND: A Minnesota county extends its frac sand moratorium for another six months, and officials in a Wisconsin town give preliminary approval to an 800 acre sand mine. (Minnesota Public Radio, Winona Daily News)

TRANSMISSION: While touring Kansas, a FERC official says states must take the lead to improve regional transmission capacity to support more renewable energy. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: A proposed makeover of Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive includes lower speed limits, more transit facilities and high-speed lanes for bike commuters. (Huffington Post)

COMMENTARY: Why water and energy policies should mix, and why there’s trouble in fracking paradise. (GreenBiz, SmartPlanet)

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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