Daily digest

Grid modernization a top priority for Ohio utility regulator

NOTE TO READERS: Midwest Energy News is taking a break for the holidays, the daily digest will return on Tuesday, January 2. Also, donations through Dec. 31 will be doubled via the NewsMatch program, click here to contribute. Thanks for reading!

• In Kansas, a rural electric cooperative and solar installers find common ground over a demand fee by orienting panels toward the west to increase production during peak, late afternoon hours. (Midwest Energy News)
• Advocates are concerned by a draft report from Michigan Public Service Commission staff that would restructure the state’s net metering program, saying it would provide a disincentive to install solar. (E&E News, subscription)

GRID: The chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio says his main priority is modernizing the state’s electric grid. (Columbus Dispatch)

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• MidAmerican Energy will be able to pursue a second round of federal production tax credits as part of a plan to “re-power” turbines at more than 700 locations. (Rapid City Journal)
• The final pieces are coming into place for a proposed 200-megawatt wind farm in southeastern South Dakota. (Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan)
• A 105 MW wind farm in western Minnesota won’t be required by the state to prioritize the hire of local workers. (Worthington Daily Globe)

TAX REFORM: A Minnesota utility says corporate tax savings in new reforms passed by Congress will likely be passed on to its ratepayers. (Duluth News Tribune)

OVERSIGHT: The Trump administration’s pick to lead the EPA’s regional office in Chicago is a former Wisconsin official who “rolled back enforcement of anti-pollution laws, reduced funding for scientific research and scrubbed references to human-caused climate change from government websites.” (Chicago Tribune)

OIL AND GAS: The developer of a proposed oil refinery near a national park in North Dakota says it’s not trying to skirt state law in its application, which proposes plant capacity barely below a threshold that would trigger a costly site review. (Associated Press)

• After a year-long protest in North Dakota over the Dakota Access pipeline, the project continued to dominate the state’s news cycle in 2017. (Associated Press)
• Months after pledging not to finance oil and gas pipelines, U.S. Bank has entered a $4 billion loan deal with a company backing the Dakota Access pipeline. (DeSmogBlog)

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RELIABILITY: Minnesota lawmakers seek information from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport about how it’s prepared to deal with a power outage following this week’s incident in Atlanta. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

• Advocates say a recent commentary in Minnesota about the cost of wind energy policies ignored key points about its declining costs and its potential to save ratepayers money. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• The Natural Resources Defense Council’s “Twelve Months of Christmas—Michigan Energy Edition” celebrates the one-year anniversary of sweeping energy reforms passed by state lawmakers, and how they will benefit the clean energy sector.

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