OHIO: FirstEnergy agrees to pay a $230 million fine to defer prosecution of federal criminal charges over its role in using dark money nonprofits to advance a favorable power plant bailout law. (Columbus Dispatch)

ALSO:
In return, the federal government will drop charges against the utility if it complies with the deal over the next three years. (NPR)
Court documents show former Public Utilities Commission chair Sam Randazzo received $22 million from FirstEnergy in the decade before his appointment. (Ohio Capital Journal)
Court documents show former House Speaker Larry Householder lobbied the former Trump administration to support uneconomic FirstEnergy plants. (Ohio Capital Journal)

EFFICIENCY: Investing in energy efficiency over natural gas projects would return more economic benefits to Appalachian communities, according to a new report. (Energy News Network)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• Dozens of property owners in South Minneapolis receive grant funding to help them rebuild with energy efficiency or solar projects in the wake of last year’s civil unrest following the police killing of George Floyd. (Energy News Network)
• Ohio’s new law giving more local control over the future of wind and solar development is the latest in a string of disappointments for clean energy advocates. (Inside Climate News)

COAL: Electric cooperatives across North Dakota accuse the owner of the state’s largest power plant of rushing the facility’s sale to avoid scrutiny from members. (Inside Climate News)

PIPELINES:
• Federal officials notify the Dakota Access pipeline owner of possible safety violations and a proposed civil penalty against it. (Reuters)
• Indigenous author and pipeline activist Winona LaDuke is released from jail after three days following a Line 3 pipeline protest. (Minnesota Reformer)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric vehicle startup Rivian plans to build a second U.S. assembly plant that will also focus on battery production. (Reuters)

WIND: County officials in Nebraska continue debating potentially stricter regulations on wind development as a moratorium is in place. (News Channel Nebraska)

SOLAR: Local officials in Indiana are in the public comment-gathering phase of a proposed ordinance to regulate utility-scale wind projects. (Herald Bulletin)

TRANSPORTATION: An eastern Michigan public transit agency is the first in the state to add 100% electric battery-operated buses to its fleet. (Second Wave Media)

Andy Balaskovitz

Andy compiles the Midwest Energy News digest and was a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News from 2014-2020. He is managing editor of MiBiz in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was formerly a reporter and editor at City Pulse, Lansing’s alternative newsweekly.