COAL: A U.S. EPA ruling will force an Illinois municipal utility to stop sending material to its coal ash ponds, including lime from its drinking water treatment plant, as soon as this summer. (Energy News Network) 

• The sale of a large, uneconomical North Dakota coal plant shows that culture and politics still play major roles in the transition from coal. (Washington Post)
• The site of a former Illinois coal plant will undergo a $63 million transformation to include a 44-MW solar installation with 6 MW of battery storage. (Journal-News)

OHIO: An outside audit ordered by state regulators is unable to determine how $460 million collected from FirstEnergy customers for grid modernization was spent. (Associated Press)

TRANSMISSION: The fate of a transmission line under construction between Iowa and Wisconsin is in question after a federal judge rules it can’t cross the Mississippi River because of an inadequate environmental review. (Wisconsin State Journal)

• LG Chem is planning a $1.5 billion expansion at a western Michigan battery production plant that will require upgraded electric infrastructure based on the new power load. (Holland Sentinel)
• A Michigan electric vehicle battery startup plans a major expansion near Detroit after securing $25 million in capital last fall. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

EFFICIENCY: A Kansas City affordable housing organization invests up to $10,000 in repair and upgrade projects that make homes more efficient and reduce costs for tenants. (Kansas City Star)

• A Missouri Republican pushes for statewide legislation that would undercut local ordinances requiring buildings to prepare for electric vehicle charging. (Missouri Independent)
• Volkswagen settlement funds are leading to a growing number of electric vehicle charging stations in southwestern Ohio. (Dayton Daily News)

UTILITIES: The leadership change this month at Ameren Corp. comes as the utility prepares to close multiple coal plants while transitioning to more clean energy. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

CARBON CAPTURE: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says the state should support carbon capture research at universities, but she opposes direct state investment in carbon pipelines. (Radio Iowa)

• A 150 MW solar project is still planned in western Illinois after the project developer was purchased by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. (Journal Courier)
• City officials in Muncie, Indiana, advance plans for a 53-acre, $17 million solar project at a former GM auto manufacturing site. (Star Press)
• The Twin Cities’ public transit agency tests solar-powered information signs at bus stops to see how the devices hold up to the region’s cold weather. (Star Tribune)

• A federal judge denies North Dakota’s attempt to force the U.S. government to hold oil lease sales on federal land. (Inforum)
• North Dakota increased oil production by 4% in November, the largest increase in more than a year, though recent production has slowed during cold weather. (Bismarck Tribune)

COMMENTARY: An editorial board questions whether $90 million in ratepayer funds for pollution controls at a Wisconsin coal plant set to close in the coming years is a good investment. (Journal 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.