Midwest Energy News

FERC: Closing coal, nuclear plants does not threaten U.S. power grid

POWER PLANTS:
• The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission unanimously says closing uneconomic coal and nuclear plants does not pose a threat to the U.S. power grid, putting it at odds with the Trump administration. (Reuters)
• American Electric Power’s CEO says any plan to stabilize nuclear and coal plants should be reviewed by utilities to protect ratepayers from rising costs. (E&E News)

WIND:
• A Minnesota judge’s recommendation to deny a planned $300 million wind project over turbine noise could have a chilling effect on the industry, advocates say. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Construction is underway on a wind project in southeastern Nebraska. (Lincoln Journal Star)

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TECHNOLOGY: Augmented reality devices could help train and assist utility workers, but more study is needed around safety and performance issues. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• The U.S. installed 2.5 gigawatts of solar in the first quarter of 2018, more than any other source of electricity. (Bloomberg)
• Minnesota added 105 MW in the first quarter, the fifth most among states during that time. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• A southeastern Michigan county approves its first utility-scale solar project. (Adrian Daily Telegram)
• The owner of a Michigan company selling solar-powered generators is accused of running a $2 million investment scheme. (MLive)

EFFICIENCY: Omaha, Nebraska’s first Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing project will convert a 105-year-old building into an upscale hotel. (Midwest Energy News)

NUCLEAR: Local officials are caught off guard by DTE Energy’s request to lower the taxable value of a southeastern Michigan nuclear plant, which could cut $11.6 million for local services. (Monroe News)

PIPELINES: Advocates make their case against a potential “utility corridor” tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac ahead of a report by pipeline owner Enbridge this week. (Michigan Radio)

COAL:
• Missouri is among several states that could allow utilities to issue special bonds at low rates to pay for coal plant decommissioning. (Bloomberg Businessweek)
• Illinois officials discuss options for permanently closing coal ash impoundments at a former Dynegy power plant along the Middle Fork River. (Champaign News-Gazette)

CLIMATE: A conservative lawmaker in Michigan proposes new K-12 social studies standards for teachers that include eliminating references to climate change. (Bridge Magazine)

FRAC SAND: Wisconsin officials say water quality improved in the days following the release of 10 million gallons of sludge from a sand mine site last month. (La Crosse Tribune)

MICROGRIDS: An Ohio renewable energy developer donates a wind turbine to the University of Dayton Research Institute to further microgrid research. (Dayton Business Journal)

UTILITIES: A utility watchdog group explains how Consumers Energy spends millions of dollars annually for political advocacy through different organizations. (Michigan Radio)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• Tesla will cut 9 percent of its workforce, or about 3,600 employees, without affecting production in an attempt to turn a profit this year. (Reuters)
• A General Motors executive discusses the company’s shift to electric vehicles in the U.S. and abroad. (Cleantechnica)

COMMENTARY: An editorial board says DTE Energy’s effort to lower the taxable value of its coal and nuclear plants fits the “stereotype of the big, bad utility company.” (Monroe News)

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