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Minnesota community solar program passes 100 megawatt milestone

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• At the launch session of NextGrid in Chicago, a variety of stakeholders began drawing a blueprint for the future of Illinois’ power grid, which will rely on a “platform” of services for customers. (Midwest Energy News)
• Ameren is among more than two dozen utilities that have joined a grid resiliency and reliability program to share critical equipment during emergencies. (Utility Dive)

• Xcel Energy announces that 40 community solar projects are now online in Minnesota, passing the 100 megawatt threshold. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Some Illinois residents are concerned that major solar projects could disrupt productive farm land. (WIFR)

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EFFICIENCY: Nearly one year since its inception, an on-bill financing program in a west Michigan city appears to be enabling the deep energy retrofits envisioned at the outset. (Midwest Energy News)

TRANSPORTATION: The transportation initiative Smart Columbus launches a program with major employers in the region to reduce the rate of single-person commuting and encourage electric vehicle ownership. (Columbus Business First)

BIOMASS: Researchers in Duluth, Minnesota are developing a coal substitute made from roasted wood. (Duluth News Tribune)

WIND: An Indiana county considers revising its ordinance regulating wind projects after taking two days of public input this week. (New Castle Courier-Times)

BIOFUELS: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says public input could help deter the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from making changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Documents show the U.S. EPA is taking its first steps to repeal the Clean Power Plan and will solicit input on a rule to replace it. (Reuters)

FRAC SAND: Wisconsin environmental regulators will hold a hearing this week on changes to a proposed frac sand plant that involves filling wetlands. (LaCrosse Tribune)

EMISSIONS: A federal judge orders the Interior Department to immediately reinstate an Obama-era regulation that limits methane emissions from oil and gas production on federal lands. (E&E News)

OIL AND GAS: North Dakota is launching an “energy awareness” campaign inviting K-12 teachers and students to submit videos about the state’s oil and gas resources. (Bismarck Tribune)

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COAL: At a private meeting with mining executives, Energy Secretary Rick Perry says “coal is fighting back.” (E&E News)

• A Missouri editorial board applauds Ameren’s “significant shift in strategy” to invest $1 billion in wind and solar. (Columbia Missourian)
• A Wisconsin high school student says Madison Gas & Electric Co.’s 30 percent renewable energy goal by 2030 “manifests a lack of ambition and leadership that sends the wrong message.” (Madison Capital Times)

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