Daily digest

Madison, Wisconsin aims for 100 percent renewables, net-zero carbon emissions

CLEAN TECH: A Chicago-based startup’s thermal-energy-storage battery is meant to address major engineering challenges with the electric grid as energy use spikes during periods of high demand. (Midwest Energy News)

SUSTAINABILITY: The city council in Madison, Wisconsin votes to set a goal of 100 percent renewables and net-zero carbon emissions for city operations, and directing $250,000 towards a plan to make it possible. (Wisconsin State Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: Stay current on the newest developments in the energy economy by attending the Advancing Renewables in the Midwest Conference this coming April 24th & 25th in Columbia, MO. For registration and details: www.AdvancingRenewables.org.***

CLIMATE: New data shows 84 percent of Minnesota residents support funding for renewable energy research, while 71 percent of state residents “trust climate scientists about global warming.” (Minnesota Public Radio)

NUCLEAR: After being a main critic of bailouts for nuclear plants, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan agrees to defend the new state law against a court challenge brought by power generators. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

PIPELINES: Authorities in Iowa and South Dakota confirm incidents of vandalism against the Dakota Access pipeline; environmentalists involved in protests in four states last year say they were not involved. (Associated Press)

SOLAR:
• A proposed net metering bill in Indiana “could be a pivot point for the state’s community of small-scale power generators — be they from solar, wind or other forms.” (Indianapolis Star)
• State utility regulators allow an Iowa utility’s controversial net metering pilot program to move forward while also requesting more information from the company about the plan. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• An Illinois school district begins offsetting its energy use as nearly 2,200 solar panels come online. (Lake County News-Sun)
• Residents in St. Peter, Minnesota discuss the possibility of community solar subscriptions. (Mankato Free Press)

EFFICIENCY: Cincinnati, Ohio is among the top 30 U.S. cities for buildings with LEED certification, while Chicago leads the Midwest. (Cincinnati Business Courier)

TRANSPORTATION: In addition to a fee for electric vehicles, Minnesota House Republicans unveil a 10-year, $2 billion transportation bill that calls for eliminating nearly $1 billion in federal funding for a light rail system in Minneapolis. (WCCO)

COAL:
• The Sierra Club says the closing of two Ohio coal plants next year will help save lives due to the health benefits of avoided emissions. (Dayton Daily News)
• Cheap renewable energy is forcing coal plants into early retirement, not Obama-era climate regulations, according to a new report. (Greentech Media)

BIOFUELS: A group of more than 120 military veterans sends a letter to President Trump, urging him to include a prominent role for ethanol and the Renewable Fuel Standard in the “America First Energy Plan.” (Biofuels Digest)

FINANCE: Ohio State University identifies bidders from Paris, Australia, and Canada that are interested in privatizing the university’s energy assets. (Columbus Business First)

POLICY: Democrat and Republican energy policy experts give differing opinions of what the Trump administration’s budget cuts could mean for clean energy. (Greentech Media)

***SPONSORED LINK: The 2nd Grid Modernization Forum, April 3-5 in Chicago, examines key lessons from top utilities including Eversource, Alliant Energy, Con Edison, National Grid, Ameren and many others. Enter MWEN when registering for 20% off.***

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Fuel economy standards and other automobile regulations may help speed advances in electric vehicles, not impede them, as President Trump argues. (New York Times)

COMMENTARY: The Natural Resources Defense Council says it will be closely watching how Michigan’s new comprehensive energy laws will be implemented. (Natural Resources Defense Council)

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