Daily digest

Minnesota PUC delays decision on retiring coal plants

COAL: Minnesota’s PUC delayed until next March a decision on whether Minnesota Power should close three coal-fired units. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

ALSO: As utilities rely less on coal, U.S. railroads are losing a significant source of revenue, and a new Natural Resources Defense Council report lists the top 20 states for toxic pollutants from coal plants. (ClimateWire, NRDC Switchboard)

ILLINOIS: If Chicago residents vote to allow the city to negotiate electricity rates with other suppliers, it could harm the development of in-state renewable energy. That is, unless a small fix is made to the state’s renewable energy standard. (Midwest Energy News)

NUCLEAR: While the NRC has halted renewing licenses, it’s unclear what this means for existing nuclear plants, because they don’t necessarily need a license to continue operating. Meanwhile, at a public hearing in Ohio, critics call FirstEnergy’s explanation for cracks in the Davis-Besse plant’s shield building a “snow job,” and questioned federal regulators’ acceptance of the finding. And a nuclear plant in drought-stricken Iowa is forced to dredge a nearby river in order to ensure it has enough water for cooling. (New York Times, Toledo Blade, Des Moines Register)

WIND: The production tax credit remains a key issue in the presidential campaign, as President Obama tells Coloradans that letting the credit expire will cost their state thousands of jobs. (Bloomberg)

FRACKING: Chesapeake Energy is now the subject of a federal antitrust investigation over allegations it colluded with another company over land leasing in Michigan, and a fourth-generation Illinois oil producer says “we’re all on the same side” when it comes to drilling safely. (Reuters, Carbondale Southern)

ELECTRIC CARS: GM says one of its battery suppliers is working on a breakthrough that could lead to 100-mile-range electric cars at half the cost of existing technology. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: Ohio officials say troubled solar firm Willard & Kelsey has until Sept. 5 to pay back the nearly $5 million it owes the state. (Toledo Blade)

OHIO: The Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council is offering ratepayers a seven-year contract to lock in electricity rates at 6.75 cents per kWh. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

TRANSPORTATION: Business groups in Fort Wayne, Indiana, raise $80,000 to study the feasibility of a high-speed rail link to Chicago. (Fort Wane News-Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: Clifton Yin says the success of the Curiosity rover makes the case for government investment in advanced energy technology. (The Energy Collective)

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