ELECTRIC CARS: A Michigan utility plans a $15 million buildout of electric vehicle chargers; critics are concerned the plan could drive out private sector competitors. (Midwest Energy News)

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approves 60 river crossings for the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa, clearing the way for construction. (Associated Press)
• Ohio residents plan to protest a proposed new natural gas pipeline. (WCPO)

• FirstEnergy’s stock is downgraded as the utility pursues “bailouts” for power plants and faces tougher competition. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• Critics of Ohio utilities “bailout” plans are not letting up as the plans are modified to avoid federal review. (Utility Dive)
• A Michigan cooperative says a refund for overpayments for an Upper Peninsula power plant “is great news,” but “does not fix the problem.” (ABC 10)

• The largest wind project in Iowa’s history is back on track after MidAmerican Energy reaches an agreement with major industrial customers. (Midwest Energy News)
• A Nebraska company gains a permit for the first of three new wind farms it’s planning for the state. (Lincoln Journal Star)

• A new program is helping two Midwest hospital systems offer solar incentives to employees. (Midwest Energy News)
• A $500,000 grant will help a southern Illinois college install solar panels. (Belleville News-Democrat)
• A Wisconsin town considers using solar power to cut costs at its swimming pool. (WEAU)

FRACKING: Nebraska officials won’t appeal a judge’s decision rejecting a proposed wastewater disposal well in the state. (Lincoln Journal Star)

• “Severe, unintended consequences” of expanded corn production are causing environmental groups to change their position on ethanol mandates. (Bloomberg)
• A new cellulosic ethanol plant is under development in North Dakota. (Grand Forks Herald)

CLIMATE: Minnesota creates a new Office of Enterprise Sustainability to help state agencies cut greenhouse gas emissions, among other efforts. (Patch)

EFFICIENCY: An Ohio county pushes efficiency and clean energy to compete for a national prize. (Route Fifty)

HYDRO: A new report says the U.S. could increase its hydropower capacity 50 percent by 2050. (Washington Post)

COMMENTARY: A new conservative energy group in Minnesota “is well-grounded in the reality that cleaner energy pays off in the long run.” (Mankato Free Press)

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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