Daily digest

Minnesota utility retiring coal units earlier than planned

COAL: A Minnesota utility says it is retiring two more coal-burning units by the end of 2018 — four years earlier than required — as part of a broader shift to more natural gas and renewables. (Duluth News Tribune)

• A Texas-based company is granted an extension to continue studying clean and efficient uses for North Dakota coal supplies. (Associated Press)
• A western Wisconsin coal plant that was retired in 2014 will be demolished, while a future use for the site is unknown. (Winona Daily News)

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WASTE-TO-ENERGY: A Michigan environmental law group announces its intention to sue a waste-to-energy incinerator in Detroit over alleged air pollution violations. (Detroit News)

• The largest single solar project in the Midwest is unveiled in Minnesota. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• Voluntary renewable energy goals and the low cost of energy in North Dakota is discouraging investments in solar. (Forum News Service)
• Ames, Iowa is pursuing a city-owned community solar project for residents who are unable to install their own panels. (WHO-TV)

WISCONSIN: Critics are skeptical of a plan by Wisconsin regulators to impose fees on electric and natural gas bills that would go toward improving broadband Internet in rural areas. (Wisconsin Journal Sentinel)

• North Dakota authorities are investigating a confrontation between Dakota Access pipeline protesters and filmmakers who previously made a pro-fracking film. (Associated Press)
• The Standing Rock Sioux’s tribal council votes to provide Dakota Access protesters a place to stay on tribal land through the winter. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: Analysts say utilities should view the transition to autonomous, electric vehicles in cities as an opportunity. (Utility Dive)

BIOFUELS: Advocates say the ethanol industry is keeping up with advancements in automobile technology but better infrastructure is needed to provide more options for drivers. (Radio Iowa)

UTILITIES: Illinois regulators have proposed new rules to cut down on alleged fraud and misleading practices among alternative energy suppliers. (Decatur Herald and Review)

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OIL AND GAS: North Dakota regulators are tightening up permits for oil waste-handling companies by requiring monitoring for potential radioactive loads. (Bismarck Tribune)

COMMENTARY: A conservative group in Michigan calls for expanding the state’s renewable portfolio standard from 10 percent to 15 percent, as well as expanding energy efficiency spending. (MLive)

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