Daily digest

Midwest oil-by-rail shipments down as North Dakota oil production drops

LAST CHANCE: Today is the last day to take the Midwest Energy News reader survey. Thanks to everyone who’s provided feedback so far!

SOLAR:
• A new report challenges the assumption that large-scale solar installations are the most economical. (Midwest Energy News)
• Tesla says it will work with electronics company Panasonic Corp. on building solar cells and modules. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY:
• Chicago utility ComEd has launched a new outreach effort to boost participation in its energy efficiency programs, particularly among low-income ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News)
• The University of Kansas reduced energy use enough over the past year to exceed its overall energy efficiency goal. (Lawrence Journal-World)

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OIL AND GAS:
• Oil-by-rail shipments from the Midwest have plummeted as North Dakota’s oil production falls to a two-year low. (LaCrosse Tribune)
• A North Dakota facility that treats oilfield waste is shutting down due to ongoing permit violations. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Plans for a new natural gas plant in southern Michigan are revived. (South Bend Tribune)

PIPELINES:
• Federal officials say shortfalls still exist in Enbridge’s emergency response plan should an oil spill occur in the Straits of Mackinac. (MLive)
• Another 14 protesters are arrested in North Dakota over the weekend at Dakota Access pipeline protests. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Law enforcement authorities are closely watching Dakota Access pipeline protesters. (EnergyWire)

COAL:
• A lawsuit filed against American Electric Power says the company did not protect the public from coal waste at an Ohio plant. (West Virginia Record)
• The chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights says utilities need to step up their “corporate social responsibility when it comes to protecting affected communities” from coal ash. (Utility Dive)

FRAC SAND: About 200 people attended a public hearing on whether a Minnesota county should ban frac sand mining. (Winona Daily News)

HYDRO: Advocates want to build a new public park in Minneapolis at the same site where developers are looking to build a hydroelectric facility. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

UTILITIES: Great Plains Energy reaches a deal with Missouri regulators over the company’s $8.6 billion takeover of rival Westar Energy Inc. (Wichita Eagle)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown from Ohio proposes a bill that would offer as much as $3,000 a year in pre-tax benefits to people who use electric vehicles to commute to work. (Autoblog)

POLITICS: Many Ohio voters believe the future of the state’s coal industry is at stake in this year’s presidential election; experts say the decline will continue regardless of the outcome. (Toledo Blade)

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COMMENTARY:
• Modeling shows Michigan could profit from using energy efficiency and selling carbon credits in its Clean Power Plan compliance strategy. (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)
• FirstEnergy’s “bailout” from Ohio regulators is part and parcel of the utility’s survival strategy. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

CORRECTION: An item in Thursday’s digest was mistakenly labeled “demand response”; the article it referred to was about demand charges.

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