UTILITIES: After a three-year pilot program that won praise from state officials and environmental groups, Minnesota’s largest natural gas utility is proposing to walk away from a concept known as revenue decoupling. (Midwest Energy News)

FRACKING: The Ohio agency that oversees oil and gas drilling was also developing a public relations campaign to promote fracking in state parks and forests, and Michigan landowners start getting visits from drilling companies. (Columbus Dispatch, MLive)

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MICHIGAN: An annual state report finds Michigan is still making progress toward its renewable energy mandate, with nearly 7 percent of electricity coming from renewable sources in 2013. (Detroit Free Press)

OIL: A survey finds Williston, North Dakota has the highest rents in the country, surpassing New York and the Bay Area by a significant amount. (Williston Herald)

ALSO: A proposed new pipeline across North Dakota and Minnesota is already generating strong interest among producers, cold weather lowers North Dakota’s oil output, and Enbridge says the U.S. is taking longer than normal to review its plans to expand its Alberta Clipper pipeline. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Calgary Herald)

COAL: Economists say carbon rules will push electricity rates higher in coal-dependent Indiana. (Indianapolis Star)

RATES: The closure of an Ohio aluminum mill, in part because of high power rates, is expected to become a political issue this year; meanwhile, another aluminum mill in Missouri asks state regulators to cut its rates by 25 percent. (Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Workers find a gap in a concrete shield wall at an Ohio nuclear power plant, regulators are not yet certain whether it poses a safety problem. (Columbus Dispatch)

TRANSMISSION: A Missouri-Arkansas transmission case highlights the tensions between state regulators and regional grid operators. (EnergyWire)

ELECTRIC CARS: Naperville, Illinois will expand its number of electric car chargers amid increasing demand. (Naperville Sun)

MEDIA: For better or for worse, “Meet the Press” took up the topic of climate change over the weekend with a debate between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Rep. Marsha Blackburn. The Wire has a point-by-point fact check. (National Journal, The Wire)

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NATURAL GAS: Wisconsin’s first natural gas-powered snowplow makes its debut in Madison. (Madison Capital Times)

COMMENTARY: Conservatives care about conservation too, and is natural gas really worse for the climate than diesel? (Detroit Free Press, Council on Foreign Relations)

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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