Daily digest

Illinois regulators approve multi-billion-dollar utility merger

MERGER: Illinois regulators give the final statewide approval needed for the $5.7 billion Wisconsin Energy/Integrys merger, with a long list of conditions. (Chicago Tribune)

ALSO: Wisconsin Energy names its new team of executives to take over operations in Illinois, including at the troubled Peoples Gas. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

***SPONSORED LINK: Energy and the Earth, a free online offering by University of Wisconsin, gives you a big picture perspective on energy issues. Participate for free and at your own pace: www.moocs.wisc.edu ***

SOLAR: A new report shows Minnesota is poised to be the country’s second-largest market for community solar and, depending on upcoming regulatory decisions, could far surpass California as the largest in the U.S. (Midwest Energy News)

MEANWHILE: Officials in Athens County, Ohio are working with local school districts to develop the state’s first community solar project. (Columbus Dispatch)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:

  • Unless EPA’s proposed rules are “demonstrably and significantly improved,” Indiana Gov. Mike Pence says his state will not comply. (Indiana Public Media)
  • In the run-up to a House vote on scuttling the proposed rules, opponents and supporters draw their own conclusions from an Energy Information Report about the potential impacts on ratepayers. (Greenwire)

COAL:

  • Congressional Republicans are mum about what they plan to do with a $3 billion aid package proposed by the White House to help coal country transition to a new economy. (Inside Climate News)
  • A MISO analysis shows that the amount of coal generation within its system could be cut in half if proposed federal carbon rules are finalized. (Utility Dive)

NUCLEAR: Researchers at MIT are developing a concept for floating nuclear plants that would be easier to deploy than land-based systems and protect against natural disasters. (Phys.org)

BIOFUELS:

  • The Energy Information Administration reports that U.S. ethanol production climbed to a record high last week. (Reuters)
  • Hundreds are in line to give testimony at an EPA hearing on newly proposed renewable fuel standards. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS:

  • Energy attorneys warn oil and gas companies that money-saving cutbacks during times of low commodity prices should be done carefully in order to avoid litigation. (EnergyWire)
  • A FERC commissioner says it will take “creative ideas” to integrate a much larger portion of natural gas into the transmission system. (TD World)
  • Oklahoma regulators are moving urgently to address the spike in earthquakes around the state, calling the issue a “game changer.” (Reuters)
  • Tribal leaders in North Dakota want to regulate oil development themselves. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC CHOICE: A bill awaiting Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s signature seeks to control the fees charged to ratepayers if they opt for an alternative power supplier. (ABC-7 TV)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association presents its annual Michigan Renewable Energy Fair June 26-27. Features include an electric vehicle showcase, workshops, renewable energy demonstrations, kids’ activities, and much more! ***

DIVESTMENT: A bill in California requiring its two state pension funds to divest in coal-mining companies moves forward. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY: Regulators correctly ruled that a Minnesota utility could not bill North Dakota ratepayers to help pay for solar projects in Minnesota. (Bismarck Tribune)

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