Daily digest

Michigan utility breaks ground on its first community solar project

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COAL: Xcel Energy says it will retire two units at a large coal plant in Minnesota as part of a broader plan to cut carbon emissions 60 percent by 2030. Environmental groups praised the decision(Midwest Energy News, Minnesota Public Radio)

OHIO:
• Despite being required by law to consider the costs and benefits of the state’s clean-energy standards, a legislative committee’s report made no mention of the latter. (Midwest Energy News)
Local officials join Gov. John Kasich in support of resuming the state’s clean-energy standards. (WLIO-TV)
The Republican chairman of the committee says he would have been open to working with Kasich on the issue. (Columbus Business First)

***SPONSORED LINK: Hear top executives from the area’s RTOs, utilities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies discuss and debate critical issues at EUCI’s Transmission Expansion in the Midwest conference November 9-10 in Indianapolis.***

WISCONSIN: Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign a new law meant to ease the transition for communities where power plants close. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR:
• Consumers Energy breaks ground on its first community solar project in Michigan. (MLive)
• SolarCity will start to manufacture higher-efficiency panels that would get more electricity out of the same square footage. (New York Times)

PIPELINE: Minnesota regulators hold off on issuing a key permit for the 600-mile Sandpiper project amid ongoing court challenges. (Pioneer Press)

POLLUTION: The U.S. EPA defends its new ozone pollution standard as environmental and public-health advocates say they will likely challenge the rule in court. (Greenwire)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Kansas will work on a compliance strategy as lawmakers and state officials try to overturn the rule. (Wichita Eagle)

WIND:
• Opponents organize against a planned 103-megawatt project in South Dakota. (Rapid City Journal)
Officials say a 502-megawatt project in Iowa will be completed by the end of the year. (KCCI-TV)

FRAC SAND: The industry’s downturn is leaving Wisconsin and Minnesota towns with an uncertain future. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

OIL AND GAS:
• Conservation groups are discussing internally their position on lifting the crude oil export ban if it would lead to better protections for public lands. (E&E Daily)
A malfunction with a gas line causes strong odors and buildings to be evacuated in Iowa. (WHO-TV)
A South Dakota company looks to become its own natural gas supplier, saying it would stabilize prices and save customers money in the long run. (Lincoln Journal Star)
The industry pushes back on a study that pegs the value of flared natural gas in the tens of millions of dollars. (InsideClimate News)

GRID: A U.S. House committee approves a bill with bipartisan support to update the country’s grid infrastructure. (Utility Dive)

NUCLEAR: A suspicious-looking package outside of a Nebraska nuclear plant was a testing device and did not include explosives. (Lincoln Journal Star)

CHARITY: Missouri-based Ameren pledges $2.5 million to support mostly low-income African-American communities around St. Louis. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

COMMENTARY:
• Because of strong clean-energy policies already in place, Minnesota is well positioned to comply with the Clean Power Plan. (Midwest Energy News)
An Ohio utility’s decision to offload retirees’ pension obligations will put nearly 2,000 former employees at risk. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
North Dakota is adjusting to changes in the oil industry as prices have dropped. (Bismarck Tribune)
A state commission “did the right thing” in extending a deadline to meet stronger flaring rules in North Dakota. (Bismarck Tribune)

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