Daily digest

Michigan senators raise alarm over Great Lakes oil pipelines

OIL: Michigan’s senators raise concerns about the safety of a pair of Enbridge pipelines running beneath the Straits of Mackinac (more background from Midwest Energy News here), and a pair of Chicago alderman propose a ban on shipping crude oil through the city in older rail cars. (Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune)

ETHANOL: The EPA says that the “blend wall” — where the nation’s gasoline supply has reached the limit for accommodating ethanol — has been reached. (The Hill)

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EFFICIENCY: Calculating energy use in multi-tenant buildings can be difficult and raises privacy concerns; a new program in Minneapolis and other cities aims to address those issues. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: A proposal to use 100 MW of solar power to help meet Xcel Energy’s peaking needs in Minnesota (more background here) is rebuked by the state’s Department of Commerce, which says it is “not a cost-effective option” compared to natural gas. (Rochester Post-Bulletin)

ALSO: Analysts predict a “significant scaling back” in net metering programs over the coming years. (ClimateWire)

FRACKING: A climate activist warns environmentalists who oppose fracking “are making a tragic mistake,” a drilling company hopes to awake a “sleeping giant” in an area of North Dakota that has never produced oil or gas, the Ohio Petroleum Council is staying out of drilling tax discussions for now, and a new pipeline is proposed to connect a Canton refinery to the Utica Shale. (EnergyWire, Columbus Business First)

COAL: The Sierra Club says three Ameren Missouri coal plants have violated clean air laws 10,000 times since 2008, and a Kansas City utility proposes a rate increase to help fund a $1 billion coal plant upgrade. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kansas City Star)

NUCLEAR: Exelon is asking an Illinois county to cut a tax assessment by more than half on a nuclear plant it owns there. (Shaw Media)

WIND: Officials in Traverse City vote to dismantle the town’s iconic wind turbine after 17 years of service, and a new study links taller wind turbines to higher bird fatality rates. (Traverse City Record-Eagle, EarthTechling)

OHIO: Regulators hold their final hearing on whether to further deregulate the state’s electricity markets. (Columbus Dispatch)

TECHNOLOGY: Cargill says its new soybean-based insulation fluid can lower the threat of fires and environmental damage from electrical transformers, which normally are filled with mineral oil. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

COMMENTARY: How EPA carbon rules will impact utilities, and the six most important energy trends of this year. (Utility Dive, National Geographic)

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