SOLAR: The U.S. and European Union prepare to negotiate with China in an ongoing trade dispute over solar panels, a move that could raise prices but lower tariffs. (New York Times)

OHIO: A new study finds Ohio’s 2008 efficiency mandate has saved consumers $170 million, more than offsetting a slight increase in costs related to the state’s renewable energy standard. (Columbus Dispatch)

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BIOMASS: If the Midwest relies more on wood biomass for heating, are there adequate safeguards in place to ensure the wood is harvested sustainably? (Midwest Energy News)

COAL: A report predicts an uptick in U.S. coal use this year, but doesn’t project the trend will continue; and look inside the “complicated maze of a decisionmaking process” utilities go through as they decide whether to close or upgrade coal plants. (Platts, ClimateWire)

NATURAL GAS: A bill in the Illinois legislature seeks a rate surcharge to pay for $2.5 billion in natural gas pipeline upgrades. (Chicago Tribune)

FRACKING: As the sequel to the anti-fracking documentary “Gasland” premieres in Illinois, critics of the practice use the occasion to call for stronger safeguards. (Bloomington Pantagraph)

OIL: As U.S. production increases, the “energy security” argument for the Keystone XL pipeline weakens. (InsideClimate News)

WIND: A new study finds promising potential for using compressed air to store excess wind energy, and Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman urges legislators to hold off on tax breaks for wind farms. (GigaOM, Lincoln Journal Star)

TRANSPORTATION: Despite controversy surrounding the company installing a network of charging stations, the outlook for electric cars in Chicago remains strong. (Chicago Tribune)

NUCLEAR: A plan is in place to repair a leaking water tank at the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan, which remains shut down. (

EFFICIENCY: An energy audit finds the city of Decatur, Illinois, could save $24 million on energy costs over the next 17 years with a $16.8 million investment. (Decatur Herald-Review)

MEDIA: InsideClimate News publisher David Sassoon appears on the Colbert Report to talk about the Kalamazoo River oil spill and “filling the gaps that mainstream journalism is leaving uncovered.” (Comedy Central)

COMMENTARY: The two faces of the coal industry, and why wind energy’s impact on grid reliability is overstated. (EnergyBiz, Greentech Media)

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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