COAL: Obama and Romney court the coal industry, and a Virginia mining company announces it’s laying off 1,200 employees. (McClatchy, Reuters)

BIOFUELS: A Michigan-led team of researchers from four nations are studying the best ways to increase the production of cleaner fuels like ethanol and biodiesel – and do so in a way that is economically and environmentally sustainable. (Midwest Energy News)

*** SPONSORED LINK: Join over 500 private- and public-sector thought leaders from around the nation at the 2013 Midwest Energy Solutions Conference taking place January 16-18 in Chicago. Register today! ***

OIL: Tribal concerns complicate construction of Keystone XL; and the Williston, North Dakota airport adds a double-wide trailer to expand its seating capacity as major airlines begin offering daily service. (Washington Post, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

SOLAR: A first-of-its-kind community solar project in Minnesota allows participants to buy a stake for less than $1,000. (St. Cloud Times)

NUCLEAR: A nuclear industry group says its “optimistic” Congress will act on waste management issues in 2013. (The Hill)

MINNEAPOLIS: Boulder’s former mayor is in Minneapolis to share her city’s experience with forming its own utility. (Finance & Commerce)

TRANSMISSION: North Dakota regulators sign off on a segment of the CapX2020 project connecting Fargo to St. Cloud, Minnesota. (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

ETHANOL: Ethanol futures fall as corn prices begin to decline. (Bloomberg)

COMMENTARY: The two things that need to happen for energy innovation to move forward. (The Energy Collective)

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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