Midwest Energy News

Illinois solar grows but state still lags on renewables target

SOLAR: While Illinois solar companies report strong growth following the Future Energy Jobs Act, the state is far from being on track to meet a 25% renewable portfolio standard by 2025. (Climate Central)

• Some DTE Energy customers continue to install solar projects in Detroit under a new program that replaces net metering, though advocates say more support should be given for low-income residents and community solar. (Curbed Detroit)
• Three large-scale solar projects totaling nearly 600 MW are proposed in central Ohio. (Columbus Dispatch)

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A western Missouri coal plant that closed last year is part of a larger debate about whether utility customers should pay for operating costs as if the plant was still running. (E&E News, subscription)
• The potential bankruptcy of Ohio-based Murray Energy adds new urgency to calls from retirees who want federal support to protect their pensions. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

UTILITIES: A federal bankruptcy judge approves FirstEnergy Solutions’ bankruptcy plan after the company reached a deal with unions not to cut pensions or benefits. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

• “No more Iowa Nice,” a farmer says as biofuel and agriculture advocates urge the U.S. EPA to follow a deal on blending requirements. (Radio Iowa)
• The U.S. EPA announcement on the updated policy proposal was changed to remove positive quotes from Iowa’s two senators that had been used in a prior release. (The Hill)

CLEAN ENERGY: Michigan launches a public information campaign to educate residents and businesses on the clean energy transition. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

OIL & GAS: Despite making climate change pledges, major fossil fuel companies continue to flare natural gas in the largest shale-oil fields. (New York Times)

EFFICIENCY: St. Louis releases its first energy benchmarking report for municipal and privately owned buildings over 50,000 square feet, showing more efficiency could help drive down greenhouse gas emissions. (Utility Dive)

• Tax valuations for a natural gas pipeline through northwestern Ohio have quadrupled from last year, which could provide a windfall for nearby counties. (Toledo Blade)
• U.S. Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan introduces legislation to continue funding for the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration as a partisan dispute has stalled the agency’s reauthorization. (E&E News, subscription, Bloomberg)

• A taxi cab company in Madison, Wisconsin, is poised to become the nation’s first with an all-electric fleet. (Wisconsin State Journal)
• Ford plans to launch a “Mustang-inspired” electric SUV that will have access to 12,000 charging stations where owners will get free charging for two years. (CNET)
• Electric vehicle startup Rivian gives residents a first look at its trucks that will be manufactured at a refurbished auto plant in downstate Illinois. (Chicago Tribune)

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POLITICS: Coal mining executive Robert Murray and his company’s employees contributed more than $360,000 to help reelect President Trump and other Republicans during the last reporting period. (E&E News, subscription)

COMMENTARY: An environmental advocate says We Energies poses a “false dilemma” by saying burning coal will help ensure reliability during severe cold weather. (Racine Journal Times)

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