MINNESOTA: Gov. Mark Dayton supports a version of a bill that would allow Xcel Energy to build a major natural gas plant to replace coal-burning units but that doesn’t fully bypass state utility regulators. (Minnesota Public Radio)

EFFICIENCY:
• A new report says Minnesota could create 15,000 jobs and save more than $3.1 billion by reducing energy use in municipal buildings, universities, schools and hospitals. (Midwest Energy News)
• Clean energy advocates say new building efficiency codes adopted in St. Louis County, Missouri are “by far the weakest” they have seen in the Midwest. (St. Louis Public Radio)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the Energy Storage Conference, February 15 in Milwaukee. This conference will explore recent advances in energy storage technologies, as well as the applications and in-field examples of the role of energy storage. ***

PIPELINES: The Cheyenne River Sioux tribe files a legal challenge as work begins to finish construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• Indiana legislators begin debating solar legislation that critics say tilts the market in favor of big utilities. (Associated Press)
• More states are tackling increasingly complex proceedings over the proper compensation of distributed generation, particularly rooftop solar. (Utility Dive)
• Minnesota lawmakers advance a bill to eliminate the state’s $15 million solar incentive program. (WCCO)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A newly formed coalition looks to spread electric vehicle adoption across seven Upper Midwest states. (Inside EVs)

WISCONSIN: The Republican Senate Majority Leader in Wisconsin wants to consider eliminating a utility tax residents pay on their electric bills as an alternative to a proposed state income tax cut. (WKOW)

OHIO: A decision is expected within the next two months on whether Ohio State University will privatize its energy management for the next 50 years. (Columbus Business First)

FRAC SAND: The developer of a proposed $130 million frac sand project in Wisconsin say its neighbors have no legal standing for blocking the project. (LaCrosse Tribune)

WIND: A new industry report says wind now has the most installed capacity among renewables in the U.S., surpassing hydroelectric. (Grist)

UTILITIES: Kansas regulators are expected to rule in late April on a proposed $12.2 billion merger of two utilities. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

OIL AND GAS:
• Industry groups project real estate tax revenue tied to the oil and gas industry will generate $250 million over the next decade for eastern Ohio counties. (Columbus Business First)
• An Illinois consumer advocacy group has seen a 65 percent increase this winter in the number of complaints about unregulated natural gas suppliers. (CBS Chicago)

GRID: FirstEnergy announces a $30 million transmission project has been energized near Cleveland to meet demand from commercial and industrial load growth. (Transmission & Distribution World)

BIOFUELS: One company projects the U.S. ethanol industry will export record amounts of biofuel in 2017. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• A native of Southeastern Ohio says President Trump’s promise to bring back coal jobs there “feels hollow in a place where coal died a generation or more ago.” (Reuters)
• A consultant for data center companies says bringing jobs back to Ohio will not hinge on scaling back environmental regulations to make utilities cheaper. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• A longtime editor in Wisconsin points out that the number of solar jobs grew by 45 percent there in 2016, “despite foot-dragging in the governor’s office.” (Madison Capital Times)

Andy Balaskovitz

Andy has been a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News since 2014, following four years at City Pulse, Lansing’s alt-weekly newspaper. He covers the state of Michigan and also compiles the Midwest Energy News daily email digest. Andy is a graduate of Michigan State University’s Journalism School, where he focused on topics covered by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and wrote for the Great Lakes Echo. He was the 2008 and 2009 recipient of the Edward Meeman Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Environmental Journalism at Michigan State.

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