SOLAR: How a small-town Kansas bank is helping to lead a solar revolution in a state with few clean-energy incentives. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: One solar company is out as another moves in in Minnesota, and DTE Energy plans to partner with Ann Arbor officials to build a 1 MW solar array at the city’s airport. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, MLive)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

BUDGET: A federal spending deal preserves some keep energy initiatives while trimming others. (Greenwire)

TRANSMISSION: A proposed Wisconsin transmission line faces strong opposition in Amish country. (La Crosse Tribune)

GRID: FERC will hold regional conferences on how EPA carbon rules might impact grid reliability, and Illinois officials approve rate increases for ComEd and Ameren to fund smart grid upgrades. (Greenwire, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

• Ohio coal magnate Bob Murray says “you’re smoking dope” if you think the industry is coming back. (Bloomberg)
• A Michigan utility says it needs to raise rates $163 million a year to keep coal plants operating. (Platts)
• Minnesota officials say low coal stockpiles leave utilities “at the whim of mother nature.” (Forum News Service)
• A coal fire is contained at a Minnesota plant. (Duluth News Tribune)
• A North Dakota plant is expected to be down for repairs until at least Christmas. (Bismarck Tribune)

FRACKING: A congressman widens his investigation of wastewater practices to include Ohio. (InsideClimate News)

ETHANOL: Kansas’ attorney general seeks a court review of the EPA’s ethanol requirement. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

UTILITIES: A North Dakota co-op is giving money back to its members after seeing a strong sales year. (Bismarck Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

TECHNOLOGY: Johnson Controls will endow a professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to lead research into energy storage. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: How journalists helped drive the “War on Coal” narrative. (Media Matter)

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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