NOTE TO READERS: Midwest Energy News will not be publishing on Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will return on Tuesday, January 17.

MINNESOTA: Bills introduced in Minnesota would allow Xcel Energy to build a major natural gas plant in Sherburne County where coal units are being retired, effectively sidestepping state regulators who had earlier put the plan on hold. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: Proponents hope that harsh winter weather will spur more Chicago-area ratepayers to adopt smart “learning thermostats,” which can also help drive energy efficiency savings. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Connect with more than 650 of the region’s best and brightest at MEEA’s 2017 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference, February 22-24 in Chicago, featuring unparalleled networking, insightful panels and more. Register today!***

SOLAR:
• A new online resource allows residents and businesses in Duluth, Minnesota to explore the potential for rooftop solar on their property. (Midwest Energy News)
• Dubuque, Iowa is installing solar panels on five of the city’s six fire stations, hoping to cut electricity costs by 30 percent. (KWWL)

WIND: MidAmerican Energy releases more details about where turbines will be located as part of a planned $3.6 billion wind project in Iowa. (Radio Iowa)

PIPELINES:
• The Dakota Access pipeline protests have spurred new legislation in North Dakota’s Republican-led and largely oil-friendly legislature. (Associated Press)
• North Dakota’s new governor expects the Dakota Access pipeline to be built once Donald Trump takes office. (Reuters)

OHIO:
• Ohio state Rep. Bill Seitz, who as a former state senator led the charge against clean energy standards there, will remain active on energy issues as chair of a key House energy committee this year. (Columbus Business First)
• Major utilities in Ohio say the impact on ratepayers of submetering charges “is considerable and unfair.” (Columbus Dispatch)

EMISSIONS: Fiat Chrysler is denying allegations by the U.S. EPA that software installed in certain diesel vehicles allows them to emit more pollutants than allowed under law. (Washington Post)

BIOFUELS: A new U.S. Department of Agriculture report says ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent relative to gasoline, a percentage greater than previously thought. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

CLIMATE: Religious groups in Ohio are reframing climate change as a spiritual issue in hopes of “elevating it above the political fray.” (Columbus Dispatch)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register for CEE’s January 12 forum in St. Paul to hear from Great River Energy, MVEC, MN Rural Electric Association and others about how co-ops are responding to industry shifts in clean energy policies and pricing, customer expectations and infrastructure. ***

UTILITIES: A utility merger in Kansas will results in hundreds of job losses, though mostly through attrition, company officials say. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

GRID: American Electric Power purchases more than $6 million in property in central Ohio to build a new transmission center. (Columbus Business First)

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.

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