Daily digest

Michigan solar installers share optimistic outlook after year of uncertainty

GEOTHERMAL: A planned $70 million infrastructure upgrade at Michigan’s capitol building could include a geothermal system for heating and cooling. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Installers in Iowa are encouraging residents to move forward with solar projects ahead of Alliant Energy’s anticipated changes to net metering compensation. (Midwest Energy News)
• After a year of uncertainty over potential net metering changes in Michigan, solar installers share an optimistic outlook over the state’s work in determining a fair cost of service. (MiBiz)
• A Minnesota solar installation shows pairing native plants with solar arrays “is a win-win.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• A longtime Duke Energy employee installs solar panels on his Indiana home. (Terre Haute Tribune Star)

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COAL:
• Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray keeps in close contact with high-level government and utility officials in order to protect his coal interests. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• Consumers Energy is looking to pay a developer $1 million to take ownership of a 115-acre property in Michigan that includes a retired coal plant. (MLive)
• U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio says the agreement over a new spending bill that extends healthcare and pension benefits for retired coal miners is a “huge victory for the mine workers.” (The Hill)

RENEWABLES: Later this month, more renewable energy will be used to power the Minnesota Capitol Complex. (Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder)

OIL AND GAS:
• Ohio environmental groups are campaigning to maintain federal methane emissions standards for the oil and gas industry. (Youngstown Vindicator)
• Developers of a planned oil refinery near Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota propose a new facility design they believe will lower emission rates and construction cost. (Bismarck Tribune)

CLIMATE: A federal appeals court grants Trump administration requests to put on hold legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan as well as other regulations on new power plants. (Reuters)

UTILITIES:
• Opposition grows to Xcel Energy’s plan to sell off land used as an agricultural research farm by the University of Minnesota as part of the utility’s plan to retire major coal units in the area. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• South Dakota regulators approve economic development plans for two major utilities in the state. (Rapid City Journal)

TRANSPORTATION: Researchers and automakers in Ohio view President Trump’s rhetoric on scaling back fuel efficiency standards with caution. (Columbus Dispatch)

GRID: A FirstEnergy subsidiary seeks state approval for a $14.6 million project to upgrade transmission lines in three Ohio counties. (Toledo Blade)

BIOENERGY: The University of Iowa is burning an increasing amount of the grass Miscanthus in order to reduce its dependence on coal. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: A North Dakota man pleads guilty to charges involving threats he made to Dakota Access pipeline protesters in order to avoid jail time. (WDAY)

COMMENTARY:
• Analysts with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis say bailouts for coal plants won’t work because “nothing can reverse the market forces that are pushing coal into further decline.”
• The Bismarck Tribune says court cases involving Dakota Access pipeline protests are moving forward in a fair way for both activists and law enforcement.

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