SOLAR: A solar energy group’s report card gives low marks to Minnesota and Wisconsin for difficulty in connecting small projects to the grid. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: An analysis by the American Council on Renewable Energy finds that the federal solar investment tax credit more than pays for itself, with a rate of return of about 10 percent. (Bloomberg)

OIL: Geological differences mean, unlike its neighbor to the north, South Dakota won’t be seeing an oil boom anytime soon – but some experts still think the state has considerable untapped reserves. And oil and gas companies saw profits decline in the second quarter of the year, primarily because of lower prices. (Associated Press, Washington Post)

MEANWHILE: Those low prices are also made it challenging for a representative from the American Petroleum Institute, in Minnesota this week, to draw attention to energy issues. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

NUCLEAR: Nebraska’s troubled Fort Calhoun nuclear plant may not restart in September as planned, utility officials say. (Associated Press)

EPA: EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says “we aren’t done” strengthening environmental protections in an appearance on “The Colbert Report.” (Midwest Energy News)

NATURAL GAS: Minnesota regulators formally kill a pilot program that allowed CenterPoint Energy to charge tiered rates for natural gas. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

BULK BUYS: The biggest contract so far as Illinois towns negotiate bulk rates for electricity goes to an Ohio utility that will provide power to a group of 16 Chicago suburbs. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

BIOFUELS: In an exercise in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Navy ran a group of three ships and 71 aircraft on a 50/50 mix of biofuels, amid political controversy over the program. (Greenwire)

CLIMATE: Bill McKibben says “we’re losing the fight, badly and quickly” on climate change, “because, most of all, we remain in denial about the peril that human civilization is in.” (Rolling Stone)

COMMENTARY: The Cleveland Plain Dealer says taxes should be increased on drilling in Ohio, with the money going toward tougher oversight; the Omaha World-Herald says the delay in the Keystone XL pipeline “hasn’t been all bad”; and Grist’s David Roberts explores why predictions often lowball the rate of renewable energy adoption.

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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