OHIO: An economist with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio says the state’s renewable standard is lowering wholesale costs for electricity and cutting carbon emissions. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL: Regulators in Minnesota unanimously vote for a more in-depth review of a proposed oil sands pipeline expansion in the state. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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COAL: Xcel Energy has completed repairs at a unit of its Sherco coal plant that has been out of service since a 2011 accident, and the Indiana Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments today over a state contract to buy gas from a coal gasification plant. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Associated Press)

ALSO: A federal judge rejects a North Dakota group’s case against state regulators that they say took improper contributions from the coal industry, against policy changes by state regulators, saying the plaintiffs failed to show any specific harm had been done. (Dickinson Press)

RENEWABLES: A new report says wind and solar accounted for nearly half of new generating capacity installed in the U.S. last year. (Transmission & Distribution World)

S.S. BADGER: Operators of the S.S. Badger say they’re still awaiting federal approval for plans to modify the ship to store coal ash on board, after the EPA required them to stop dumping the ash into Lake Michigan. (Ludington Daily News)

TRANSMISSION: Amid public opposition, a North Dakota co-op says it won’t build a new substation near a historic battlefield site, but still plans to proceed with a transmission line serving the Bakken oil patch. (Bismarck Tribune)

FRAC SAND: A Minnesota-based farm cooperative plans to use its rail terminals in North Dakota to help distribute frac sand to drilling operations. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

EFFICIENCY: An Ohio county considers converting 4,000 light fixtures to LEDs after a consultant projects energy savings of $80,000 a year. (Mansfield News Journal)

SOLAR: Kevin Clemens, an occasional Midwest Energy News correspondent, uses solar chargers to power another electric motorcycle speed record; and a winery in Michigan says it’s the first in the state to be 100 percent solar-powered. (St. Paul Pioneer Press, Michigan Radio)

COMMENTARY: A cautionary tale from Australia on electricity capacity markets. (Greentech Media)

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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