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)

• 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)

• 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)

• 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)

• 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 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.

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