Daily digest

Site of Minnesota coal-to-gas project goes up for auction

MINNESOTA: The future of Excelsior Energy’s proposed coal-to-gas plant in northern Minnesota is even more in doubt as parcels of land the project was to be built on go up for auction in a sheriff’s sale today. (Duluth News Tribune)

SOLAR: Companies are developing new tools to forecast cloud cover, which will become more important to ensure reliability as more solar energy is added to the grid. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: An industry group names Napoleon, Ohio “America’s Number One Solar Small Town,” and Grand Rapids, Michigan, studies a solar project at a former landfill site. (Toledo Blade, MLive.com)

WIND: The U.S. increases import duties on wind turbine towers produced in China and Vietnam. (Bloomberg)

S.S. BADGER: A Coast Guard bill passes without a special provision for the S.S. Badger, leaving the question of whether it continues operating to the owners, or the EPA. (Detroit Free Press)

COAL: An International Energy Agency report predicts demand for coal will continue to fall in the United States, level off in most of Europe, but continue to increase worldwide. (Greenwire)

KEYSTONE XL: TransCanada’s CEO says Keystone XL will likely still be approved even if John Kerry, a strong proponent of cutting carbon emissions, is named Secretary of State. (Reuters)

NUCLEAR: The incoming chair of the Senate Energy Committee pledges more aggressive action on nuclear waste in coming years. (New York Times)

POLLUTION: One of the largest industrial polluters in Muscatine, Iowa, a town with a history of air quality problems, says it will meet new EPA particulate requirements ahead of schedule. (Muscatine Journal)

CLIMATE: Sen. Barbara Boxer plans a weekly “open forum” for lawmakers to craft and support legislation to fight climate change. (The Hill)

OHIO: American Municipal Power is granted an 18-month extension on proposed natural gas power plant site. (WOUB)

EFFICIENCY: An inventor launches a Kickstarter campaign to develop a device that will turn smart phones into thermal imaging scanners, enabling homeowners to better detect drafts.(Treehugger)

COMMENTARY: The National Coal Museum in Wales installs solar panels, a Wisconsin college student defends her parents’ backyard wind turbine, and the Chicago Tribune says delays in Illinois’ smart-grid buildout are “unacceptable.” (Grist, Racine Journal Times, Chicago Tribune)

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