COAL ASH: Duke Energy has no timeline for when a coal ash spill in North Carolina will be contained, the utility says it will change the way ash is stored at eight retired power plant sites. (Associated Press, Triad Business Journal)

SOLAR: Three bills introduced in the Iowa legislature would dramatically increase the state’s solar capacity, and a Minnesota program makes it easier for business owners to finance solar panels. (Midwest Energy News, Finance & Commerce)

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NUCLEAR: The Department of Energy says nuclear plant retirements threaten U.S. climate goals. (Greenwire)

COAL: Xcel Energy sues General Electric, alleging a known equipment flaw caused a 2011 accident that shut down a coal unit for nearly two years. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

ALSO: Cold weather poses major challenges for coal plant operations, a report says Indiana’s abandoned coal mines could be a source of groundwater, and an Illinois coal plant converts to natural gas. (Zanesville Times Recorder, Indianapolis Star, Peoria Journal Star)

WIND: Ohio wind opponents claim the state’s renewable energy law is unconstitutional, a turbine manufacturer could end up owning an Illinois wind farm, and a New Jersey company plans a new 20 MW wind farm in Iowa. (Columbus Business First, Crain’s Chicago Business, Des Moines Register)

OIL: Officials in North Dakota try to catch truck drivers in the act of illegally dumping toxic materials to save time. (Forum News Service)

PROPANE: A woman is found dead in a North Dakota trailer home after running out of propane. (Forum News Service)

FRAC SAND: A Wisconsin study will explore ways to reclaim land used for frac sand mining. (Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism)

TRANSMISSION: Wisconsin regulators have until Saturday to act on a petition to reopen the CapX2020 docket. (LaCrosse Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Why you should be concerned that someone shot up a California substation last year. (BoingBoing)

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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