Daily digest

Despite rollback threats, state renewable standards unharmed

RENEWABLES: Despite a conservative group’s effort to coordinate a renewable energy rollback in state legislatures, no state repealed, lowered, or extended deadlines for renewable electricity standards this year. Two states, including Minnesota, increased requirements. (CleanTechLaw)

EFFICIENCY: The success of utility-run energy-efficiency programs is hurting the prospects for coal-fired power plants, according to a recent report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. About 40 gigawatts of coal-fired generation are “at risk of retirement,” mostly in regions where conservation programs are growing. (Midwest Energy News)

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WIND: Illinois wind farms now supply 5 percent of the electricity used by a Chicago municipal aggregation program, which lets the city bundle residential and small business customers to buy cheaper electricity. Meanwhile, Illinois authorities are monitoring a rise in scams related to municipal aggregation. (The Associated Press, Chicago Tribune)

COAL: Ohio’s FirstEnergy plans to close two additional coal-fired power plants instead of cleaning them up to meet federal mercury emission standards. Both power plants are located in southwestern Pennsylvania. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

DERAILMENT: As the death toll from Saturday’s train derailment in Quebec rose to 15, Canadian police opened a criminal investigation into the accident, which involved a Chicago-based rail company that was carrying 72 tank cars full of North Dakota shale oil to refiners on the East Coast. (USA Today)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: Wisconsin’s largest dairy farm has kicked off a $7 million waste-to-energy manure digester project. And in Iowa, a Maryland company wants to convert cellulose from municipal waste into ethanol. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

BIOFUELS: Wisconsin researchers have received a $225,000 grant to develop bacteria that can turn waste from pulp and paper mills into isoprene, a high-energy molecule that can be used to make jet fuel. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COAL ASH: Wisconsin’s We Energies will pay $100,000 in state fines for an October 2011 bluff collapse that sent a mixture of coal ash and sediment into Lake Michigan. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

FRACKING: In Ohio, Amish communities are debating a new temptation: royalties from oil and gas drilling. “I’m not excited about it, with all the traffic, with all the horses,” one farmer said. Also: The EPA’s abandoned fracking study in Wyoming is one of many retreats. (The Associated Press, ProPublica)

FRAC SAND: Wisconsin authorities say four frac sand mines violated storm water permits when they allowed sand to run into nearby streams and wetlands. Sediment spills can damage plant and fish habitat. (LaCrosse Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Eric Posner writes that Obama’s new climate plan is based on “a dubious calculation” that may leave it vulnerable to court challenges. (Slate)

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