CLIMATE: NOAA says 2014 was the hottest year on record. (Climate Central)

ALSO: A new survey finds rising concern about climate change among voters, as possible GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney says climate change is among the country’s top issues. (Washington Post, Gannett)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

MINNESOTA: While the state’s largest co-op is taking steps to cut carbon, advocates note it’s just barely meeting requirements in state law; meanwhile another Minnesota utility becomes one of the largest wind producers in the U.S. with completion of a new project. (Midwest Energy News, Duluth News Tribune)

UTILITIES: Customer groups object to We Energies’ proposed merger with Integrys. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

WISCONSIN: Environmental groups object to Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to sue over proposed EPA carbon regulations. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS:
• A pipeline rupture spills at least 42,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River in eastern Montana. (Billings Gazette)
• Nebraska landowners file new legal challenges against developers of Keystone XL. (Bloomberg)
• A threatened bat species could complicate plans for a Minnesota pipeline. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• A North Dakota official says the state could lose millions in revenue if legislators void recent regulations. (Forum News Service)
• Full air testing results following an Ohio refinery blast have still not been released. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Two workers are injured in a fire at a North Dakota oil treater site. (Bismarck Tribune)
• A British company seeks to build a $200 million refinery in northeast Ohio. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: A company promoting a waterless fracking technique runs into financial trouble, and a Michigan author says her new novel, while fictional, highlights some real problems with the state’s fracking industry. (Columbus Business First, Midwest Energy News)

COAL: An Ohio coal operation is fined $650,000 for permit violations, Peabody Energy anticipates a turnaround in coal markets, and Illinois Basin production continues to increase. (Columbus Dispatch, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, SNL)

WIND: Nebraska lawmakers propose new incentives for wind energy. (Omaha World-Herald)

MICHIGAN: The outgoing mayor of Grand Rapids calls for further efforts on clean energy (more background here). (MLive, Midwest Energy News archive)

CHICAGO: The site of a closed coal plant could become a transit garage and a park. (Chicago Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Minnesota’s biggest community-based energy event only happens every two years–don’t miss it! Register now for CERTs 2015 Conference: Community-Driven Clean Energy on March 10-11 in St. Cloud. ***

TECHNOLOGY: The University of Michigan’s solar car wins its first international competition. (MLive)

COMMENTARY: Some straight talk about artsy wind turbines. (Treehugger)

Ken Paulman

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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