COAL: Illinois regulators grant Midwest Generation two more years to install pollution controls at four coal plants, over the objections of environmentalists who say the company is just buying time before shutting the plants down. (Midwest Energy News)

POLICY: Do feed-in tariffs for small wind and solar installations “subsidize” a handful of ratepayers at the expense of others? It’s a common argument, and distributed energy advocates say it’s also misleading. (Midwest Energy News)

**SPONSORED LINK: Join Ensia Live in Minneapolis April 11 as global architect Peter Williams speaks on the compelling links between housing design and health – with a live performance by visual artist Gregory Euclide and musician S. Carey of Bon Iver. Midwest Energy News readers enter “midwest2013″ for discount tickets.***

OIL: A reporter is threatened with arrest while trying to gain access to federal officials at the site of the Arkansas oil spill, and Alberta’s premier will travel to Washington D.C. next week to advocate for the Keystone XL pipeline. (InsideClimate News, The Hill)

POLLUTION: The Sierra Club highlights low-income and minority neighborhoods in Michigan that are disproportionately affected by industrial pollution, which it labels an “environmental injustice” and a “human rights abuse.” (Detroit Free Press)

WIND: A judge sides with Xcel Energy in its legal dispute with a developer over cancellation of a planned wind farm that threatened migratory birds, and BP’s exit from wind power highlights the tensions between oil companies and the renewable energy industry. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Houston Chronicle)

NATURAL GAS: A new report says we have the technology to address leakage of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from our natural gas infrastructure. (Washington Post)

FRAC SAND: Some Wisconsin counties are finding their sand mine permit fees aren’t covering the public costs, and a Wisconsin farmer says his water well went dry because of a nearby sand mining operation. (Wisconsin Public Radio, Winona Daily News)

TRANSPORTATION: Despite skeptical media coverage, the electric car industry continues to develop and grow; and rail looks like an increasingly unlikely transit option for the suburbs east of St. Paul. (Greenwire, St. Paul Pioneer Press)

SOLAR: A coalition in Ypsilanti, Michigan, wants to install 1,000 solar rooftops by 2020. (

BIOENERGY: A Wisconsin biomass plant is on track to open later this year, and the Department of Energy renews funding for the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center. (Wausau Daily Herald,

POLITICS: Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz talks with high school students about being squeezed in the middle on energy politics. (Mankato Free Press)

COMMENTARY: How broadband can drive the rural smart grid. (The Energy Collective)

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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