WISCONSIN: Democratic legislators introduce a bill to increase the state’s renewable energy standard to 30 percent by 2030. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COAL ASH: The North Carolina ash spill is prompting calls for tougher oversight; Illinois regulators want increased monitoring for groundwater pollution near coal ash sites. (McClatchy, Springfield State Journal-Register)

***SPONSORED LINK: Here comes the sun! Pre-registration ends Sunday for the Solar Powering Minnesota Conference on March 7. Register now to save $50. See the packed full-day agenda and reserve your seat at growsolar.org.***

SOLAR: An unusual solar power arrangement between Oberlin College and the city utility that serves it is generating a big return for both entities. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: The municipal utility in Lincoln, Nebraska plans to revise its net metering rate and eliminate some solar incentives. (Lincoln Journal Star)

ELECTRIC CARS: Tesla plans to build a $5 billion battery factory in pursuit of a mass-market electric car. (New York Times)

FRACKING: A new report highlights the lack of scientific research around the health impacts of increased fracking, Ohio’s Supreme Court hears arguments over local control of drilling, and Chesapeake Energy says it plans to increase production in Ohio. (InsideClimate News, Columbus Business First, Youngstown Vindicator)

OIL: A federal regulator says rail cars being used to ship Bakken oil pose an “unacceptable public risk,” meanwhile a new sample of Bakken crude shows lower levels of volatile compounds. (Associated Press, Reuters)

KEYSTONE XL: The State Department’s inspector general finds the department’s environmental review did not break conflict-of-interest rules, and pipeline backers note that a wind- and solar-powered barn placed in Keystone XL’s path by opponents is drawing electricity from the grid. (New York Times, Omaha World-Herald)

GRID: An Illinois utility takes steps to protect raptors from being electrocuted on power lines, and ComEd speeds up its timetable for smart meter installation. (Chicago Tribune)

NATURAL GAS: A Michigan city approves $160 million in bonds to finance a new natural gas plant. (MLive)

COAL: The Energy Information Administration launches a new tool to track U.S. coal production. (Columbus Business First)

COMMENTARY: Are utilities already dead? (Grist)

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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