Daily digest

Lawmakers say feds poised to approve Dakota Access pipeline

WIND: Two rural Michigan counties — including the “wind capital” of the state — recently enacted one-year moratoriums on new wind development in order to sort out how localized zoning regulations should be. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES:
• U.S. lawmakers from North Dakota say the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will grant the final approval needed to complete the Dakota Access pipeline, though opponents say they are “jumping the gun.” (Reuters)
• If the needed easement is granted, the Standing Rock Sioux chairman vows to challenge it in court. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Midwest Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) at the Energy Storage Conference, February 15 in Milwaukee. This conference will explore recent advances in energy storage technologies, as well as the applications and in-field examples of the role of energy storage. ***

SOLAR:
• Minnesota lawmakers advance legislation that would block state utility regulators’ ability to review solar fees by electric cooperatives. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• A southern Minnesota county looks to install solar panels at a closed landfill as a way to decrease energy costs. (Waseca County News)

COAL:
• Illinois overtakes Kentucky to be the #3 coal-producing state in the country. (Lexington Herald-Leader)
• A Missouri-based utility will appeal a state judge’s $10 million award to a worker who said he developed a form of asthma while working as a mechanic at one of the utility’s coal plants. (Associated Press)
• The U.S. House plan to vote today to repeal the Obama administration’s stream protection rules. (The Hill)

HYDRO: Researchers at the University of Michigan are developing cylinder devices that generate high-density hydroelectric power with fewer impacts on fish species. (Michigan Radio)

BIOFUELS: 2016 saw record ethanol and biodiesel production, though renewable fuel industry leaders in Iowa expect 2017 to be much more uncertain. (Radio Iowa)

OIL AND GAS: The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts an 8 percent expansion in natural gas capacity over the next two years. (Utility Dive)

STORAGE:
• Analysts project behind-the-meter applications to make up 51 percent of the U.S. storage market by 2021 — such applications now account for 15 percent of the market. (Utility Dive)
• At a recent gathering in Chicago, grid experts say battery storage deployment has been slowed by a “web of regulations at every level.” (Forbes)

FRACKING: Despite well-documented risks associated with fracking, local governments often have limited ability to do anything about them. (Governing)

UTILITIES: A planned $12.2 billion merger between utilities in Missouri and Kansas is projected to eliminate 638 jobs. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

CLEAN ENERGY:
• Creating state and local incentives for renewables and distributed generation will lead to a “proliferation” of clean energy on the grid, experts say. (Medill Reports Chicago)
• The head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association still sees co-ops investing heavily in renewables and energy efficiency even if the Clean Power Plan is eliminated. (Agri-Pulse)

COMMENTARY:
• A local official in Wisconsin says the announcement of a major solar project at the site of a nuclear plant there is “great news.” (Herald Times Reporter)
• An Indiana columnist argues that a proposed statewide bill restricting wind development is unnecessary because local residents can already voice their opinions to allow or block projects. (Muncie Star Press)

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