Daily digest

Ohio ‘bailout’ deals halted by federal regulators

UTILITIES: Income-guarantee deals for two Ohio utilities are put on hold pending approval by federal regulators, who said ratepayers would be “captive” customers at a disadvantage to shareholders. (Columbus Dispatch, RTO Insider)

RENEWABLES:
• An Iowa rural electric co-op plans to invest in enough renewable energy credits to fully offset its use of carbon-based fuels. (Midwest Energy News)
Renewable energy generation holds potential on vast, isolated tribal lands across the country. (Greenwire)

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OIL AND GAS:
• Brine spills from oil development in western North Dakota are releasing toxins like lead into nearby waterways and soil, sometimes at excessive levels. (Associated Press)
• “Major economic and technological hurdles” remain before enhanced oil recovery using carbon dioxide will take off in North Dakota. (Forum News Service)
• Workplace fatality rates for oil and gas workers are nearly five times the national average. (Grist)
• A blaze of fire erupts after lightning strikes a natural gas line in Iowa. (WHO-TV)

BIOMASS: Residents in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula say a biomass plant is spewing dust particles on the community and “acts more like a commercial and industrial solid waste incinerator instead of a biomass facility.” (Marquette Mining Journal)

PIPELINES:
• A Houston-based pipeline company has withdrawn plans to move oil through 98-year-old pipelines at the bottom of a river in eastern Michigan. (Detroit Free Press)
North Dakota regulators will hold a public meeting on a planned $55 million oil pipeline through the state. (Associated Press)
Tribal groups are protesting the Dakota Access pipeline by running a 500-mile spiritual relay from North Dakota to Nebraska. (Bismarck Tribune)

WISCONSIN:
• Clean-energy advocates are concerned about Madison, Wisconsin’s utility tightly controlling its public input sessions on improving the company. (Isthmus)
• WE Energies says it will not increase gas or electric rates in 2017, though customers still say rates are too high. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SMART METERS: Ohio regulators say AEP must prove that smart meters provide financial benefits before charging customers $24 a month for opting out of using them. (Columbus Dispatch)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: The Supreme Court’s stay of the rules in February has not deterred states from moving forward with carbon-reduction strategies. (ClimateWire)

DIVESTMENT: A St. Louis-based health system says it is divesting its interests in coal production. (St. Louis Business Journal)

EFFICIENCY: Putting the right incentives in place can turn energy efficiency into a “profit center” for utilities, a new report argues. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
• Utilities could help automakers sell electric vehicles by offering incentives to car sellers. (Utility Dive)
State investment may be necessary to keep North Dakota’s coal industry afloat. (Bismarck Tribune)

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