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CHICAGO: Chicago’s municipal aggregation plan could be a boon for renewables; meanwhile, city aldermen object to a plan by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to take a portion of ratepayer savings to pay for efficiency upgrades and renewable energy. (Midwest Energy News, Chicago Tribune)

CLIMATE: President Obama vows more aggressive action on climate change, but says a carbon tax is likely a non-starter; California holds its first sale of carbon emission permits, the “trade” in its cap-and-trade program; and global CO2 emissions rose by 2.5 percent in 2011. (The Hill, Reuters)

COAL: Weeks before announcing the company was going into “survival mode” and laying off workers, Ohio-based Murray Coal donated $100,000 to a conservative political group; and low river levels could force an Illinois mining company to stop shipping coal, potentially idling hundreds of workers. (Politico, KFVS)

EFFICIENCY: A survey finds consumers are more likely to blame their inefficient home or utility for high bills than their individual usage, and Naperville, Illinois considers a new billing structure that lowers rates during off-peak hours. (Renew Grid, Chicago Tribune)

FRACKING: Chesapeake Energy predicts drilling “for decades to come” in the Utica shale, but is not optimistic about the play’s oil potential. (Akron Beacon Journal)

ELECTRIC CARS: ABB and General Motors announce a project to use expired electric car batteries, which are still capable of holding a charge, for grid storage. (New York Times)

ETHANOL: A week after idling Indiana’s oldest ethanol plant, the facility’s owner files for bankruptcy. (South Bend Tribune)

COMMENTARY: The real meaning of the Kewaunee nuclear plant’s demise, and why there isn’t going to be a carbon tax anytime soon. (Midwest Energy News, Grist)

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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