NUCLEAR: Exelon officials detail plans to close two Illinois nuclear plants in 2017 and 2018, but note that “the decision can be reversed.” (Chicago Tribune)

• Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he is “extremely upset” about the announcement: “I want to keep these plants open.” (Crain’s Chicago Business)
• Business owners in towns near the plants worry about local economic impacts: “This was like a punch in the gut.” (Quad City Times, Bloomington Pantagraph)
• Meanwhile, Exelon is close to an agreement with advocates on clean energy legislation. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

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• Organizers of an annual clean energy tour hope to persuade state lawmakers of the economic importance of wind and solar. (Midwest Energy News)
• A liberal group says Attorney General Mike DeWine’s campaign contributions from fossil fuel industries create a conflict of interest. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• A Sierra Club advocate, a state lawmaker and a prominent energy lawyer are among 19 candidates for a vacancy on the state’s Public Utilities Commission. (Columbus Business First)

• Minnesota regulators approve a utility’s community solar program amid criticism from advocates that it shuts out competition. (Duluth News Tribune)
• A court sides with Minnesota regulators in upholding size limits for community solar projects. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Indiana churches that have installed solar panels share their experiences. (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette)

WIND: Amazon pushes to ease restrictive wind turbine siting rules in Ohio. (Dayton Daily News)

TRANSMISSION: Missouri municipal utilities enter capacity agreements with the Grain Belt Express transmission line, which could help developers win approval from state regulators. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

COAL: An Illinois county says bankrupt coal companies owe more than $100,000 in taxes, but expects the money will be recovered. (Carbondale Southern Illinoisan) 

• An Ohio manufacturer of super-efficient medical deep freezes seeks to expand. (Columbus Business First)
• A Wisconsin company sees a bright future in LED lighting. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

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POLITICS: Iowa “offers a glimpse at what a thriving, apolitical renewable energy sector looks like.” (Yale E360)

• Exelon’s announced Illinois nuclear closures are “a nasty black eye” for the state. (Quad City Times)
• Why Ohio’s “bailout” proposals should alarm conservatives. (Real Clear Energy)
• Michigan should build on its clean energy progress, rather than pulling the plug. (NRDC Switchboard)

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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