Midwest Energy News

Lawmakers cite national security in latest plea for Ohio coal, nuclear plants

UTILITIES: The latest plea by Ohio’s congressional delegation to save FirstEnergy’s coal and nuclear plants attempts to link their operation to  national security. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COAL:
• As residents plead for help, tests confirm that dust covering a Wisconsin neighborhood is coal dust from a nearby We Energies plant. (WISN)
• The Trump administration wants to develop small-scale coal plants — a technology “largely unheard of” — to counter the intermittency of solar and wind on the grid. (Axios)

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RENEWABLES: General Motors and Switch will match 100 percent of their electricity use with wind energy as the first participants in a Consumers Energy program to support corporations’ use of renewable energy. (North American Windpower)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• General Motors CEO Mary Barra says during a major oil conference in Texas that the company is continuing on its path to a zero-emissions future. (CNBC)
• The public transportation agency serving the St. Louis area will use a federal grant to buy two electric buses in 2020. (St. Louis Business Journal)

WIND: A Missouri utility will acquire wind energy from a project set to come online later this year, boosting its renewable portfolio to 40 percent. (Springfield News-Leader)

SOLAR:
• Utilities may be missing an opportunity to repurpose former coal plant sites with solar. (Utility Dive)
• An Illinois county approves two solar projects totaling 4.6 megawatts of capacity along non-irrigated farmland. (Peoria Journal Star)
• A northern Illinois county considers installing solar panels at a former landfill: “The goal is revenue,” one official says. (WTVO)
• A county outside of Chicago approves plans for a 2-megawatt solar project. (Kendall County Now)

CLIMATE: Researchers say the U.S. can meet its commitment to the Paris climate agreement without the Clean Power Plan largely due to low natural gas prices. (Michigan Radio)

TRANSPORTATION: A Republican congressman from Missouri pushes a plan that would tax drivers by miles traveled as an alternative to increasing the gasoline tax to pay for infrastructure improvements. (McClatchy)

FRAC SAND: A “novel” lawsuit in Wisconsin seeks to block the construction of a proposed frac sand operation because it’s anticipated to be a nuisance by some landowners. (La Crosse Tribune)

BIOFUELS: A bill backed by two Democrats looks to overhaul the federal ethanol mandate by reducing incentives for corn-based fuels and boost “second-generation” biofuels like waste products and woody crops. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY:
• Emails obtained by a utility watchdog group show Murray Energy directly lobbied Ohio lawmakers to roll back renewable energy standards while also seeking support for coal plants. (Energy and Policy Institute)
• “There’s not much future in coal, even in Ohio,” the Columbus Dispatch editorial board writes.

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