COAL: NRG Energy announces plans to close, convert or upgrade its coal units in Illinois which would put the state halfway toward meeting its EPA carbon reduction target. Environmental advocates say the plan doesn’t go far enough. (Chicago Tribune)

SOLAR: Minnesota regulators side with Xcel Energy in a value-of-solar case, installers disagree on how the decision will impact development. (Midwest Energy News)

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• A Kansas utility will fund 15 solar projects around the state. (Lawrence Journal-World)
• Minnesota cooperatives expect to see growing demand for community solar installations. (Rochester Post-Bulletin)
• A new report says Wisconsin’s solar growth has been held back by utilities and state policy. (Wisconsin Public Radio)
• A Minnesota cheese producer will host one of the state’s largest community solar gardens. (WCCO)

PIPELINES: Minnesota regulators vote to study an alternate route for a proposed oil pipeline. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

OIL: A proposed Michigan lease would allow drilling beneath a 400-year-old stand of old-growth pine trees, a North Dakota tribe plans to impose a fee for flaring natural gas, and the secretaries of Energy and Transportation will be in Bismarck for an energy summit today. (MLive, Associated Press, Bismarck Tribune)

NATURAL GAS: Xcel Energy plans to spend millions in the coming years to upgrade natural gas infrastructure in Minnesota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

COAL ASH: Waste Management expects to see “big growth” in sales if the EPA tightens restrictions on coal ash disposal. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

UTILITIES: FirstEnergy wants Ohio regulators to drop a complaint from schools over a charge imposed by the utility for last winter’s cold weather. (Columbus Business First)

TRANSMISSION: Developers of the Rock Island Clean Line will file their route plans with Iowa regulators by the end of the year. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

POLITICS: The League of Conservation Voters targets a Michigan Senate race. (The Hill)

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CLIMATE: An Iowa man’s cross-country trek to raise climate awareness reaches his home state. (Des Moines Register)

COMMENTARY: A study claiming high costs for wind and solar power got it completely wrong. (Greentech Media)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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