Midwest Energy News

Minnesota utility plans major shift from coal to renewables and storage

ENERGY TRANSITION: Great River Energy will close a major coal plant in North Dakota several years early as it grows too costly to run while adding 1,100 MW of wind to its portfolio. (Star Tribune)

ALSO:
• The utility will also pilot an “aqueous air” battery system, a long-duration storage technology that can discharge power for up to 150 hours in an effort to achieve baseload renewables. (Greentech Media)
• As part of its coal transition, Great River Energy will repower a 99 MW coal plant in North Dakota to run on natural gas. (Jamestown Sun)
• North Dakota coal advocates raise concerns about the job impacts of Great River Energy’s coming coal retirements. (KXNET)

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EFFICIENCY: Getting people out of poverty and older inefficient homes helped Minneapolis lower its per capita greenhouse gas emissions over the past decade, according to a new report. (Energy News Network)

COAL:
• Grid operator MISO finds 12% of the coal-fired power in its territory was dispatched uneconomically from 2017-2019. (Utility Dive)
• Advocacy groups start a petition to make it easier for residents to comment on NIPSCO’s plans to remove coal ash at sites in northwestern Indiana. (Times of Northwest Indiana)

RENEWABLES: Wind and solar are playing a larger role in grid operator MISO’s territory as energy demand shifts and declines due to COVID-19. (WBOI)

SOLAR:
• Michigan solar installers returned to work this week with new safety guidelines after work stoppages due to the pandemic. (MiBiz)
• A Missouri Botanical Garden program helps residents install solar projects through information sessions and connections with installers. (Yale Climate Connections)
• First Solar manufacturing facilities, including one in Ohio, have largely maintained production, but the company withdrew its 2020 guidance as uncertainty unfolds for the global market. (Greentech Media)
• A southwestern Illinois community begins work on a model solar ordinance for both small- and large-scale projects. (Alton Telegraph)

UTILITIES: Indiana utility NIPSCO has entered into several agreements for new wind power and is seeking additional bidders as it replaces 80% of its coal fleet by 2023. (Times of Northwest Indiana)

CLIMATE: The University of Iowa plans to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, though the goal falls short of what climate activists have demanded for more than a year. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Electric pick-up trucks and larger EV models could help usher in a new era for the industry. (New York Times)

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OIL & GAS: Idled wells and cuts in production by large oil producers sends a ripple effect through oil patch contractors in North Dakota. (Bismarck Tribune)

CLEAN TECH: Two Chicago clean tech startups receive funding for projects that recycle electric vehicle batteries and help data centers run more efficiently. (ChicagoInno)

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