Midwest Energy News

FirstEnergy company files for bankruptcy protection

UTILITIES:
• A FirstEnergy subsidiary files for bankruptcy protection in an effort to restructure at least $2.8 billion in debt. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• The company has sought protections for its coal and nuclear plants from the Trump administration. (Bloomberg)

BIOMASS:
• Researchers in northern Minnesota are developing a “biocoal” product made from woody biomass they hope can displace coal to fuel power plants. (Midwest Energy News)
• A steam plant in Duluth, Minnesota, will soon switch out coal and natural gas for fuel produced from wood waste. (Duluth News Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: UMN’s Carlson School of Management is hosting The Business of Energy Transition, a FREE half-day conference on April 5th covering R&D, startups, financing, and scaling new energy technologies. Open to students and professionals. Register here!***

GRID:
• Ameren is testing utility pole sensors that could alert it to maintenance issues and maybe someday play a bigger role in managing the electric grid. (Midwest Energy News)
• Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is helping a developer overcome legal challenges as the company seeks to build a wind energy transmission project across the Midwest. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: Critics say a plan to scale back energy efficiency programs “threatens the foundations of the Iowa Energy Plan and the state’s leadership in clean energy.” (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

BIOFUELS: Trading biofuel credits has led to hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud losses. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

SOLAR:
• Michigan school districts join others in installing solar panels to reduce electricity costs. (Cleantechnica)
• The number of solar jobs in Minnesota have increased by more than 110 percent over the past two years. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• The number of solar projects in Wisconsin continues to expand. (Milwaukee Biz Times)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Environmental groups do not have much hope that the U.S. EPA will keep the Clean Power Plan in place. (Illinois News Connection)

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PIPELINES: An environmental entity must explain why it believes it can’t be sued for opposing the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• Advocates say FirstEnergy should be responsible for protecting communities that will be affected by its coal and nuclear plant closures. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)
• A mix of wind, solar and energy efficiency is a better option than building a large-scale natural gas plant in Michigan, advocates maintain. (Detroit News)
• The chairwoman of the Ohio Gas Association Board of Trustees says natural gas remains a safe, reliable and affordable energy option. (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

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