SOLAR: Minnesota becomes the first state in the U.S. with a “value of solar” tariff, aiming to end the long-running dispute over what utilities should pay solar customers for energy they provide to the grid. (Midwest Energy News)

GRID: A federal report warns sabotage of nine key substations could cause a nationwide power outage, and a drill conducted by a reliability group finds few utilities have adequately planned for major disruptions. (Wall Street Journal, New York Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: Greentech Media’s seventh annual Solar Summit returns to Phoenix this April 14-16! Early Bird pricing available until March 17th! Get 15% off with Promo Code: MID15. Register today!***

COAL: We Energies has been quietly buying up homes in an area near its Oak Creek coal plant, where coal ash is a suspected source of nearby groundwater contamination. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

ALSO: A review finds 18 coal plants in Ohio are operating with expired state permits, Murray Energy’s CEO is skeptical about the potential of the Illinois Basin, and another utility resorts to hauling coal by truck because of heavy rail traffic. (Associated Press, Platts, LaCrosse Tribune)

CLIMATE: House Republicans say EPA efforts to limit carbon emissions may conflict with a 2005 energy law. (National Journal)

• A Wyoming court reverses an earlier ruling exempting fracking fluid ingredients from public disclosure. (Casper Star-Tribune)
• Stakes are high as Ohio officials continue to investigate a string of earthquakes near a drilling site. (Columbus Dispatch)
Time Magazine takes a closer look at the links between fracking and earthquakes.
• Ohio’s House speaker still has reservations about a proposed drilling tax increase. (Columbus Dispatch)

OIL: Senators from North Dakota and Wyoming introduce a bill aimed at reducing flaring, and more than 40 changes to North Dakota’s oil regulations take effect in April. (Fargo Forum)

EFFICIENCY: Why Indiana lawmakers want to kill the state’s efficiency law, and LED bulb prices continue to drop. (EnergyWire, Greentech Media)

AGGREGATION: Cincinnati residents will be able to opt out of the city’s 100 percent renewable energy contract. (Cincinnati Business Courier)

HYDRO: A massive new dam proposed by Manitoba Hydro may not be a sure thing, despite claims that new deals with a Wisconsin utility would trigger its construction. (Winnipeg Free Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Solar Expo on May 16. Learn what Jigar Shah, John Farrell, and other solar leaders have to say about the Midwest solar market. Exhibit, sponsor or partner with us to promote your organization. Sponsor today!***

GREEN ECONOMY: A new report ranks Iowa the top state in the Midwest for renewable energy job growth. (Des Moines Register)

COMMENTARY: How Michigan can triple its share of renewable energy without increasing costs. (The Equation)

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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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