Daily digest

Minnesota Republicans take aim at renewables, state regulators

SOLAR: Legislation in Minnesota would block state utility regulators from overseeing fixed fees for distributed generation customers of cooperatives and municipally owned utilities. (Midwest Energy News)

OHIO: A variety of groups, including from the oil and gas industry, push back against attempts backed by utilities to re-regulate the state’s electric generation market. (Midwest Energy News)

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REGULATION:
• Minnesota Republicans “have introduced a half-dozen bills that would change the power and makeup of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission.” Says one clean energy advocate: “They’re trying to do everything they can to send us back to the Dark Ages.” (MinnPost, Mankato Free Press)
• Democratic U.S. senators boycott a committee vote on the nomination of Scott Pruitt to be EPA administrator. (Greenwire)

CLEAN ENERGY: A new report shows Minnesota as a clean energy leader as state lawmakers debate legislation that advocates say could hinder the industry. (Midwest Energy News)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Indiana lawmakers say they are reworking a bill that would prohibit Tesla from selling vehicles directly to customers and bypassing car dealerships. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS:
• Clean energy and consumer advocates are skeptical of a plan by Xcel Energy to build a major natural gas plant in Minnesota to replace coal-burning units. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• Wisconsin-based WEC Energy Group acquires a natural gas storage site in Michigan for $230 million. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

WIND: A North Dakota lawmaker proposes a tax on wind generation to “help level the playing field for coal.” (Minot Daily News)

GRID:
• Ohio-based AEP wins approval to install nearly one million smart meters across its service territory. (Columbus Dispatch)
• The utility also launches an interactive map for customers to track outages. (Columbus Business First)

PIPELINES: The Army Corps of Engineers’ review of the Dakota Access pipeline “could be the beginning of the end” for opponents. (Associated Press)

POLICY: Ohio’s Senate president says he wants an energy policy that brings certainty for businesses and a consistent philosophy on renewable energy mandates. (Columbus Business First)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: The owners of a waste-to-energy facility in Nebraska will stop paying the hotel bills next week of residents displaced by the plant’s odor as it works to return them home. (Sioux City Journal)

COMMENTARY:
• Forbes calls a Minnesota bill to allow Xcel Energy to sidestep regulators and build a major natural gas plant “the deal of the century.”
• An Ohio congressman says coal jobs in the state must be protected. (Marietta Times)

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