Daily digest

Minnesota governor signs bill bypassing regulators on gas plant

MINNESOTA: Gov. Mark Dayton signs a bill allowing Xcel Energy to build a natural gas plant to replace retiring coal units, saying it is needed for reliability and still aligns with the state’s clean energy goals. (Minnesota Public Radio)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Scientists at the Illinois Institute of Technology are designing a battery they hope will store more energy than conventional systems and can be “refueled” like a car’s gasoline tank. (Midwest Energy News)

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WIND: Clean energy advocates who have been critical of a Wisconsin utility’s commitment to clean energy are encouraged by the company’s plan for a new 66 megawatt wind project. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: A federal judge delays for up to a week a decision on whether to halt construction on the remaining portion of the Dakota Access pipeline. (Associated Press)

POLITICS: Coal company Murray Energy donated $1.5 million to political candidates, party committees and outside groups in the 2016 election cycle, a record high for the company that goes against industry lobbying trends. (OpenSecrets.org)

NUCLEAR: The Trump administration and changes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could mean more favorable treatment for nuclear plants low-carbon generation. (Greentech Media)

OIL AND GAS: After finalizing its buyout of Spectra Energy, Enbridge is now the dominant energy transportation and storage company in North America. (EnergyWire)

BIOFUELS: Billionaire investor Carl Icahn and the leading U.S. biofuel trade group will propose a deal to the Trump administration to revise the Renewable Fuel Standard. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COAL: Peabody executives stand to reap tens of millions of dollars in stock bonuses under the company’s bankruptcy exit plan. (Reuters)

UTILITIES: Great Plains Energy agrees to file an application in Missouri for approval of its merger with Westar Energy after initially saying it wasn’t required to. (Kansas City Business Journal)

GRID: The U.S. added 15 gigawatts of capacity to the grid last year, mostly from new utility-scale wind and solar projects. (Utility Dive)

VOLKSWAGEN SCANDAL: The German automaker has paid $2.9 billion to buy back nearly 138,000 U.S. diesel vehicles through Feb. 18, court documents show. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• “Nebraska conservatives don’t seem to have read the memo” about the benefits of wind energy development, the Lincoln Journal Star says.
• The Akron Beacon Journal says Ohio lawmakers should embrace FirstEnergy’s proposal for zero emission credits for its nuclear plants.
• A southwest Minnesota editorial board supports Gov. Mark Dayton’s signing a bill allowing for the construction of a new natural gas plant to replace coal units. (Marshall Independent)

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