Daily digest

Despite challenges, advocates say Ohio wind sector poised for growth

CLEAN ENERGY: A decision by Wisconsin regulators to allocate efficiency money to rural communities “underserved” by broadband internet access raises questions about how it will be spent. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: Despite policy challenges, advocates say Ohio’s wind industry is poised for growth based on projects underway. (Columbus Dispatch)

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EMISSIONS: Wisconsin conservation groups want the U.S. EPA to force the state to get tougher on air pollution, including rejecting changes on a permit for a frac sand mining company. (Wisconsin State Journal)

SOLAR:
• A utility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula agrees to grandfather in customers with net metering agreements as it looks to redesign the way customers are compensated for the solar energy they produce. (Marquette Mining Journal)
• Tesla announces plans to sell customizable solar roof tiles, meant to power a home when integrated with the company’s Powerwall. (Associated Press)
• Advocates in mid-Michigan work with their local utility to develop a community solar project. (MLive)
• A solar project at an Ohio university can move forward after local residents drop their formal opposition. (Columbus Dispatch)

FRAC SAND: State officials are studying whether heavy metals from ponds at Wisconsin frac sand mines are leaching into and contaminating groundwater. (Wisconsin Public Radio)

PIPELINES:
• At least $3 million has flowed in as contributions to cover legal costs, food and other supplies for Dakota Access pipeline protesters. (Associated Press)
• Tribal leaders vow to protest the Dakota Access pipeline through the winter. (Reuters)
• Authorities are investigating whether a fire over 400 acres in North Dakota is linked to Dakota Access pipeline protests. (Reuters)
• Protesters are staying near their encampment after two days of tense confrontations with law enforcement. (Associated Press)
• Enbridge’s plan to replace a crude oil pipeline running through northern Minnesota moves forward. (Associated Press)

BIOFUELS: Michigan researchers who work in wetlands are taking a new approach to invasive plants by harvesting them for energy. (Great Lakes Echo)

SUSTAINABILITY: A community college in Nebraska is taking several steps to reduce emissions, including investing in renewable energy projects, hybrid cars and electric maintenance vehicles. (Columbus Telegram)

COAL:
• An eastern Ohio community braces for the closing of a Murray Energy-owned coal mine. (Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)
• Iowa utilities are increasingly transitioning away from coal towards natural gas and wind. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• Utility CEOs are growing concerned about potential coal ash spills and are looking to get ahead on the issue by supporting policies that would give states more oversight. (Utility Dive)

UTILITIES: A FirstEnergy subsidiary is canceling a contract that provided discounted electric rates to customers in northeast Ohio. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COMMENTARY: The Ohio legislature is “continuing down a path of policy uncertainty that puts the future of Ohio’s renewable energy sector at risk.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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