ALEC: After a failed effort last year to overturn state renewable energy standards, the American Legislative Exchange Council has new tactics to weaken the laws. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: MidAmerican announces five Iowa counties that will be part of its wind energy expansion, and a new report shows rapid growth in the small-wind sector last year. (Des Moines Register, EarthTechling)

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TRANSMISSION: Ten years ago in Ohio, a tree branch set off the largest power outage in U.S. history. What have we learned since then? (EnergyWire)

SOLAR: A new federal report says solar power is twice as expensive to install in the U.S. as it is in Germany, primarily because of permitting and other “soft costs.” (Quartz)

INDIANA: Despite what a judge deems a “betrayal of trust,” charges are dismissed against a former state regulator for his role in a controversial Duke Energy coal plant. (Indianapolis Star)

COAL: Wisconsin regulators award $33,000 to a nonprofit to study the viability of converting a We Energies coal plant to natural gas, and the nation’s largest miners union reaches a settlement with Patriot Coal on wage and benefit cuts for workers. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Associated Press)

POLITICS: Rural co-ops denounce President Obama’s climate plan; and an ad campaign will target the “anti-science, anti-climate wing of Congress,” including a Wisconsin senator and representatives from Michigan and Illinois. (The Hill)

CLIMATE: Extreme weather is contributing to a shift in perception among rural Iowans on climate change. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

FRACKING: Backers of a ballot measure to ban fracking in Youngstown, Ohio submit signatures for certification, and say they will keep trying if the measure fails again. (Youngstown Vindicator)

TRANSPORTATION: A Cincinnati company rolls out its first all-electric paratransit buses, which are expected to go 100 miles on a charge. (Cincinnati Business Courier)

COMMENTARY: Why electric cars will always be cleaner than gasoline, and a Tea Party leader explains why she’s teaming up with the Sierra Club to support solar power. (NRDC Switchboard, Grist)

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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