UTILITIES: A Michigan mine operator drops its Wisconsin-based utility over high rates. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR: A fledgling Michigan solar firm joins a $10 million Department of Energy competition aimed at finding ways to cut installation costs, and a new report says unclear property tax policies can also be an obstacle to solar development. (Michigan Land Use Institute, Greentech Media)

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NUCLEAR: A French utility that partners with Exelon on nuclear power is exiting the business, citing competition from natural gas, and will focus on renewable energy instead. Meanwhile, Exelon says it is cutting costs but has no plans to abandon any of its reactors. (Reuters)

ALSO: Two Missouri universities will research small modular reactors as part of a consortium with Westinghouse and Ameren Missouri. (Associated Press)

OHIO: Republican opponents of Gov. John Kasich’s proposed drilling tax received thousands in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. (Columbus Dispatch)

AVIATION: A Wisconsin air show will feature a first-of-its-kind aircraft that can run on both aviation fuel and compressed natural gas. A biofuel-powered jet will fly from Purdue University to the same event. (Wired, Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: A suburban Kansas City school district is switching over more than 100 buses to run on compressed natural gas, believed to be the largest school fleet conversion in the country. (Kansas City Star)

TRANSMISSION: A pair of Illinois lawmakers say ratepayers are being charged too much for a transmission line project. (Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette)

BIOFUELS: A Senate panel plans a hearing this fall on the Renewable Fuel Standard. (The Hill)

POLITICS: Conservatives target FERC nominee Ron Binz for their next confirmation fight. (Politico)

COMMENTARY: “What does being a good ancestor mean to you?” (Grist)

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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