SOLAR: Renewable energy proponents in the Midwest often point to Germany as a place where solar power can thrive under less-than-ideal conditions. But not all is sunny for the solar industry in Europe. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: An insurance company plans a 1.7 MW solar array at its Springfield, Ohio building. (Dayton Business Journal)

WIND: A Grand Forks, North Dakota wind turbine blade manufacturer announces 300 layoffs; Google signs a deal for 48 MW of wind power for its new Oklahoma data center; and an Illinois county considering 2,000-foot turbine setback is prevented from voting on the issue, for now, by lengthy public testimony. (Fargo Forum, GigaOM, Rockford Register Star)

GRID: GE introduces new gas-fired generators that are designed to work with renewable energy on the grid, and a $72 million smart grid fund debuts in Illinois. (New York Times, Chicago Tribune)

FRACKING: An analysis finds two-thirds of chemical disclosures on a fracking disclosure database leave some ingredients out, and a new round of testing confirms the presence of compounds linked to drilling in a Wyoming town’s drinking water. (EnergyWire, Bloomberg)

CLIMATE: The Congressional Research Service finds a $20/ton carbon tax would cut the deficit in half within 10 years. (Greenwire)

COAL: The Prairie State Energy Campus is featured in a “green” segment on a home redecorating TV show. (American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity)

OIL: A state study says South Dakota is unlikely to have an oil boom on the scale of North Dakota’s. (Associated Press)

OHIO: Some FirstEnergy customers want to sue the utility for fraud after it ended discounts for people who heat their homes with electricity. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

EFFICIENCY: In a two-year experiment, Xcel Energy will replace nearly all the streetlights in a St. Paul suburb with LEDs. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

COMMENTARY: The myth of green energy’s decline, and how certain can we be about climate change? (Harvard Business Review, 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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