Daily digest

North Dakota’s oil tax fund grows to $4 billion

NOTE TO READERS: Recipients of the 2016 Midwest Energy News 40 Under 40 were announced last week. Representing energy professionals from business, government, academic, and advocacy sectors, congratulations to the honorees.

STORAGE: Shedd Aquarium in Chicago later this month will be operating a 1-megawatt storage system on site and “essentially straddle the divide between power consumer and power producer.” (Midwest Energy News)

EFFICIENCY:
• A real estate development company is finishing up $12 million in efficiency upgrades to three major buildings in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota. (Finance & Commerce)
• A provision in the Illinois School Code that allows districts to make energy efficiency improvements in buildings is being used to fund unrelated and unbudgeted projects. (Illinois News Network)

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OIL AND GAS:
• A legacy fund set up in North Dakota for oil and gas tax collections has grown to $4 billion in value in less than six years. (Forum News Service)
• A Marathon refinery in Ohio is using light oils from the Utica shale region to make gasoline for motorists around the state. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
• The U.S. Justice Department has opened an investigation into possible antitrust violations by oil and gas driller Chesapeake Energy. (Associated Press)
• A faulty pump causes a roughly 40-gallon oil spill in rural mid-Michigan. (WLNS-TV)

SOLAR: Illinois homeowners discuss the cost benefits of installing solar projects. (Southern Illinoisan)

CLIMATE: A new survey finds that even among those who say climate change is an important issue, most “rarely or never discuss it with their friends and family.” (ClimateWire)

WIND: An analysis shows Xcel Energy “could have plenty of bids coming” as it seeks to develop 1,500 megawatts of wind in the Upper Midwest. (SNL / Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

BIOFUELS:
• A railroad company settles with an Ohio county for $170,000 related to cleanup costs stemming from an ethanol accident four years ago. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A Nebraska company has found a way to make dry cattle feed pellets from an ethanol byproduct. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: A move to run buses on compressed natural gas two years ago is paying off for St. Cloud, Minnesota. (St. Cloud Times)

UTILITIES: Xcel Energy is recognized for the design of a power substation in downtown Minneapolis that is integrated with its surroundings. (Finance & Commerce)

PIPELINES:
• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tries to balance the free speech rights of pipeline protesters with rules related to camping on corps-owned land and grazing rights. (Forum News Service)
• Federal officials say they will not evict protesters who have set up a sprawling camp on federally owned land. (Associated Press)
• Tribal members from Minnesota go to North Dakota to join in Dakota Access pipeline protests. (MinnPost)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: A report by four Democratic U.S. senators shows more than $100 million has been funneled from the fossil fuel industry to key players in the litigation over the Clean Power Plan. (DeSmog)

VOLKSWAGEN SCANDAL: The German automaker agrees to pay U.S. dealers $1.2 billion to compensate them for losses as a result of the company’s emissions-cheating scandal. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• Tesla’s threat to withhold building a manufacturing plant in Michigan because it cannot directly sell cars to customers is blackmail and “outrageous.” (Crain’s Detroit Business)
• Why have Ohio and Michigan been able to decrease coal consumption while Indiana hasn’t? (Indianapolis Star)
• Self-generating solar customers are an asset to, not a drain on, society. (Duluth News Tribune)

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