SOLAR: A new report finds retailers are still leading the way on commercial solar, and Midwest companies and states are seeing a larger piece of the action. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: The utility serving Madison, Wisconsin is opposing city officials’ efforts to install more solar power, and Topeka’s VA hospital begins work on a $2.7 million solar project. (The Isthmus, Topeka Capital-Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join us at the Wisconsin Energy Institute: “Global Energy Outlook” on Oct. 29 as we bring together experts from around the world to discuss the energy, water and food challenges presented by growing urban environments.***

NATURAL GAS: A new study says natural gas development won’t slow climate change. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: Southern Illinois landowners sue state officials over delays to fracking permits. (Chicago Tribune)

FRAC SAND: Wisconsin officials reject a town’s attempted “balloon on a string” land acquisition to bring a frac sand mine within its city limits and escape county regulation. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

OIL: North Dakota oil production continues to climb, with natural gas flaring exceeding a state benchmark. (Bismarck Tribune)

COAL: Xcel Energy says it will stop burning coal at a Twin Cities-area power plant in April. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

MINNESOTA: A delegation from Germany travels to Morris, Minnesota to study its renewable energy facilities, and a Minneapolis neighborhood pursues its own renewable energy options. (Morris Sun Tribune, Minnesota Daily)

UTILITIES: A court rules that a Michigan utility is not liable for a 2009 fire and explosion at an oil facility. (MLive)

CLIMATE: The U.S. climate envoy says denying climate science is quickly becoming a political liability, and Exxon says the divestment movement is “out of step with reality.” (InsideClimate News, National Journal)

PIPELINES: A Michigan Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate will stand trial for protesting Enbridge pipeline construction, environmental groups submit petitions to Iowa’s governor calling on him to reject a proposed pipeline, and the natural gas boom is big business for a Wisconsin pipe company. (Battle Creek Enquirer, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Appleton Post-Crescent)

***SPONSORED LINK: Attend the Energy Liberty Forum Monday, Oct. 20,  at 7 p.m. in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. Speakers include Tea Party co-founder Debbie Dooley, state Rep. Bob Kulp, and former state Rep. Mark Honadel.***

OHIO: The Atlantic revisits what’s left of an Ohio town that a utility bought out in 2002 rather than address pollution concerns.

COMMENTARY: A spokesman for Wisconsin utilities says conservation and energy efficiency are partially to blame for utilities’ need to create a “new approach to recovering fixed costs,” and fighting climate change is an economic opportunity in Minnesota. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

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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