COAL: Minnesota regulators approve the shutdown of another of the state’s coal plants, and Illinois regulators schedule another round of hearings on the FutureGen project. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Springfield State Journal-Register)

OIL: Enbridge gets final approval to expand its Line 6B pipeline in Michigan, a worker dies from injuries sustained in an oil field accident in North Dakota, and North Dakota’s oil boom is the subject of a feature and photo essay in the New York Times Magazine. (Detroit Free Press, Bismarck Tribune, New York Times)

*** SPONSORED LINK: Minnesota’s biggest community-based energy event only happens every two years–don’t miss it! Register now for CERTs 2013 Conference: Community-Driven Clean Energy on Feb. 20-21 in St. Cloud. ***

EFFICIENCY: A Minneapolis plan to require commercial buildings to disclose energy use would be the first of its kind in the region, and a Michigan county is eager to get started on efficiency recommendations expected to save more than $100,000 per year. (Midwest Energy News, Alpena News)

WATER: A study finds the amount of water used worldwide for energy production is expected to double in the next 25 years. (National Geographic)

MISSOURI: Environmental groups and solar installers sue Ameren, saying the utility has failed to comply with the state’s voter-approved renewable energy mandate. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

NATURAL GAS: Ohio Gov. John Kasich says it is “unbelievable” that some oppose higher taxes on fracking, and a bill in the Senate would allow natural gas exports to U.S. allies. (Columbus Business First, The Hill)

BIOFUELS: Despite a court decision challenging its mandates, the EPA increases the target for cellulosic biofuels to 14 million gallons. (The Hill)

TRANSPORTATION: The Energy Department backs off of President Obama’s goal of having 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015. (Reuters)

CLIMATE: More than 300 state lawmakers sign a letter urging Obama to make climate change a priority. (Minnesota Daily)

SMART GRID: Entrepreneurs start vying for $22.5 million in seed money intended to encourage energy innovation in Illinois. (Chicago Tribune)

NUCLEAR: A gathering in Chicago discusses the obstacles to nuclear power. (Medill Reports)

WIND: Advocates promote wind energy as a job-creator for rural Nebraska. (Scottsbluff Star-Herald)

COMMENTARY: A brief history of oil shipping on the Great Lakes, and can Obama do for the grid what Eisenhower did for highways? (Duluth News Tribune, New York Times)

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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