UTILITIES: A recent appointee to a Michigan consumer advocacy board is the pastor of a church that received a $12,000 grant last year from DTE Energy’s foundation, raising concerns among utility watchdogs and ethics experts. (Energy News Network)

ALSO:
• Environmental advocates say Ameren Missouri’s net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 isn’t fast enough. (St. Louis Public Radio)
• An updated report from the NAACP says fossil fuel companies and utilities often seek to co-opt local organizations and leaders into supporting the industry and opposing local renewable energy projects. (Grist)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join us for the 16th annual Advancing Renewables Conference on the afternoons of May 18 – 19. Hear about compelling topics from industry leaders during an easy-to-use virtual event. Join us at the forefront of renewable energy! http://advancingrenewables.com/ *** 

PIPELINES:
• The Dakota Access operator argues in federal court that shutting down the pipeline would cause “immediate economic shock” and cause the company to lose roughly $4 million per day in revenue. (Reuters)
• North Dakota officials seek to formally intervene in a federal lawsuit that could decide the fate of the Dakota Access pipeline. (Bismarck Tribune)

CLEAN ENERGY: Columbus, Ohio’s clean energy aggregation program is set to launch in June but is causing confusion among some residents over cost and opting out. (Columbus Dispatch)

COAL: A new Kansas law allows for ratepayer-backed bonds to soften the costs as utilities retire coal plants earlier than planned. (Kansas Reflector)

NUCLEAR: A Minnesota lawmaker suggests a small nuclear plant could support heavy industry on the state’s Iron Range, which drew swift opposition from another legislator. (Pioneer Press)

POLITICS: A Nebraska commission dismisses campaign finance complaints against a cooperative of public power districts that steered funds toward a political committee. (Lincoln Journal Star)

GRID: Grain Belt Express opponents push Missouri state senators to block the use of eminent domain as the company secures land for the clean energy transmission project. (Herald-Whig, Missouri Independent)

SOLAR:
• Amazon is backing multiple new solar projects in Ohio as it seeks renewable power for its data and distribution centers. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Construction is set to start on a 79 MW solar project in Michigan after developers secure the necessary financing. (Solar Power World)
• Illinois solar installers look to keep momentum going behind the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which they say would help clear a backlog of planned projects. (WICS)
• An eastern Wisconsin school district is saving about $600 to $800 a month on electricity bills after installing a solar project. (Green Bay Press-Gazette)
• A developer pitches plans for a 68 MW solar project to local officials in northwestern Ohio. (Crescent-News)

EMISSIONS: An Ohio city becomes the 12th community in the state to join a clean energy campaign that aims to reduce carbon emissions 30% by 2030. (Tribune Chronicle)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Renew Missouri for its webinar “The Deep Freeze: SPP, Texas, and What to Do (and Not Do) in the Future” with Kevin Gunn of Paladin Energy on April 26th at 1:30pm. Only $75 with an hour of Missouri CLE credit. (KS pending. Others by request.) Sign up today! ***

BIOFUELS: Illinois lawmakers advance a bill that would create a statewide renewable fuel standard and require biodiesel in transportation fuel by 2024. (WCSJ)

COMMENTARY: Minnesota’s clean energy transition is happening quickly as power sector emissions have dropped 40% over the past decade, clean energy advocates say. (MinnPost)

Andy Balaskovitz

Andy Balaskovitz

Andy has been a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News since 2014, following four years at City Pulse, Lansing’s alt-weekly newspaper. He covers the state of Michigan and also compiles the Midwest Energy News daily email digest. Andy is a graduate of Michigan State University’s Journalism School, where he focused on topics covered by the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism and wrote for the Great Lakes Echo. He was the 2008 and 2009 recipient of the Edward Meeman Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Environmental Journalism at Michigan State.