Daily digest

FirstEnergy withdraws ‘bailout’ plan, customers would still have to support struggling plants

OHIO: FirstEnergy withdraws its income-guarantee plan before state regulators, instead pursuing a plan for customer surcharges that would avoid the need for federal intervention. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ALSO: Ohio’s former top utility regulator says going back to a regulated electric market there would be a “non-starter.” (Platts)

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EFFICIENCY:
• A state-funded program in Michigan brings retired engineers to small manufacturing companies to help them identify energy efficiency savings. (Midwest Energy News)
Local officials in Youngstown, Ohio are considering legislation to create a special energy district for a planned downtown hotel so the company can issue bonds to make efficiency improvements on an older building. (Youngstown Vindicator)

RENEWABLES:
• Advocates say defeat of a shareholder resolution pushing Missouri-based Ameren to make more investments in renewables is not all bad news. (Midwest Energy News)
Wisconsin power companies are increasingly turning to renewable energy. (Badger Herald)

PIPELINES:
Construction begins on the controversial Dakota Access pipeline. (NGI)
• Documents show a “catalog of problems” associated with the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline. (DeSmog Blog)
Enbridge expects to pay $62 million in fines and penalties related to a 2010 oil spill near Kalamazoo, Michigan. (Associated Press)
Enbridge is planning to increase the amount of oil sent through pipelines beneath an environmentally sensitive river in northwest Wisconsin. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

SOLAR:
• Plans move forward for a solar-powered eco-village development in Minnesota that aims to be a model of suburban development. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Madison, Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy’s solar demonstration will see what kind of installations work best in northern climates. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
A Minnesota city could save tens of thousands of dollars a year by buying into a large solar project. (Mankato Free Press)

COAL:
• Illinois and Missouri rank second and third, respectively, among states burning the most coal. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• At a bankruptcy hearing this week, Peabody Energy is expected to ask a judge for access to $800 million in bankruptcy financing. (Wall Street Journal)
• CEOs for Arch Coal and Peabody were each paid nearly $5 million last year as their companies approached bankruptcy. (SNL Energy)

HYDRO: Researchers look to quantify the impact that hydroelectric dams are having on the health of river insects downstream. (Phys.org)

OIL AND GAS: Equipment failure at a wellhead in North Dakota caused 11,000 gallons of oil and saltwater to spill. (Associated Press)

TRANSMISSION: A regional grid operator awards its first competitively bid transmission project in Kansas under a recent federal ruling. (RTO Insider)

EMISSIONS: Researchers are now considering ways to recycle carbon dioxide that’s released from burning fossil fuels into new fuel and useful products. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY:
• The president of the Edison Electric Institute says investor-owned utilities are preparing for the future by investing in smarter energy infrastructure, clean energy and being more responsive to customers. (Utility Dive)
Water pollution from mercury in the air is another reason to transition away from burning coal for electricity. (Stillwater Gazette)
Minnesota lawmakers deliver a “slap in the face” to Duluth officials by leaving out financing for converting a steam plant to a hot-water heat generating facility. (Duluth News Tribune)

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