Daily digest

Exelon bill would stifle solar growth in Illinois, advocates say

SOLAR: Illinois advocates say a proposed Exelon-backed energy bill before state lawmakers would stifle the state’s fledgling solar industry. (Southern Illinoisan)

ALSO:
A Department of Energy study says solar power could deliver $400 billion in health and environmental benefits across the U.S. by 2050. (Phys.org)
A coal-dependent Nebraska utility looks to use a National Renewable Energy Laboratory grant to build a five-acre community solar project. (Fremont Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: A state program in Iowa helps communities save money by making energy efficiency upgrades. (Midwest Energy News)

BIOFUELS:
• Iowa officials say the EPA’s proposed new biofuel blend standards do not go far enough and could stifle economic development. (Associated Press)
The new standards draw a mix of reaction from industry, environmental and oil groups. (Biofuels Digest)

WIND:
• Amazon pushes for eliminating recent setback requirements for wind turbines in Ohio that the company says has acted as a moratorium on new projects. (Columbus Business First)
Two Indiana electric co-ops will soon have access to 100 MW of wind energy. (Electric Co-op Today)

COAL:
• Peabody Energy is granted $800 million in financing to continue operations during bankruptcy proceedings. A Missouri court also approved Peabody’s selling its interest in the Prairie State Energy Campus. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Xcel Energy’s CEO says coal will shrink to 20 percent or less of the utility’s generation mix by 2030. (Eau Claire Leader-Telegram)
• Nationwide, self-bonding in the coal industry tops $3.3 billion, as federal regulators look to curtail the practice(Associated Press, Reuters)

PIPELINES:
• Iowa regulators deny a developer’s request to start construction on the Dakota Access pipeline through the state pending federal approval. (Radio Iowa)
Michigan’s two U.S. senators express concern to the Obama administration that pipelines beneath the Straits of Mackinac are being treated as onshore facilities, and therefore subject to less scrutiny. (Detroit Free Press)

UTILITIES:
• Officials from a variety of sectors and interest groups agree that Ohio’s energy sector is at a crossroads. (WOSU)
The Ohio Supreme Court upholds the method used by state regulators to set rates in FirstEnergy’s service territory. (Toledo Blade)

OIL AND GAS:
• Researchers respond to criticism over their findings of persistent soil and water contamination at oil and gas well sites in North Dakota. (Bismarck Tribune)
• A legal battle is shaping up between a North Dakota oil patch town and the owner of temporary housing units for oil workers that is being forced to close. (Williston Herald)
Indiana officials say a methane leak that has forced residents to evacuate an apartment complex may be from an abandoned coal mine. (WFYI)

POLITICS:
• Major oil and gas interest groups play a significant role in fundraising for the Republican candidate in a U.S. Senate race in Ohio. (Akron Beacon Journal)
The two candidates — Sen. Rob Portman and former Gov. Ted Strickland — continue to challenge each other’s records on clean energy. (Civitas Media)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• An EIA outlook projects 40,000 megawatts of coal power would stay online if the federal rules are rejected in court. (Columbus Business First)
The EIA also says electricity prices would be modestly impacted by the rules, growing by roughly 3 percent in the later years than without it. (ClimateWire)

RELIABILITY: Xcel Energy officials outline millions of dollars worth of options to fix a recent spike in the number of power outages in North Dakota. (Forum News Service)

COMMENTARY:
• A eulogy for Illinois coal? (Belleville News-Democrat)
A bill to keep struggling nuclear plants open in Illinois is crucial for jobs. (Bloomington Pantagraph)
Illinois lawmakers should not miss this opportunity to develop clean energy in the state. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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