Daily digest

Ohio House passes bill to make clean energy standards voluntary

OHIO: The state House passes a bill that would make renewable energy standards voluntary for the next three years. If passed by the Senate, advocates are hoping Gov. John Kasich will veto the measure. (Columbus Dispatch)

MICROGRIDS: A new five-story office building in suburban Minneapolis will be equipped with a microgrid powered by a mix of renewables, combined heat and power and storage. (Midwest Energy News)

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SOLAR: South Dakota regulators are taking more time to study whether ratepayers in the state would be negatively impacted by solar projects in Minnesota. (Watertown Public Opinion)

COAL:
• Democrats and some Republicans say Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s proposal to only temporarily extend health benefits for retired coal miners — and not pension benefits — is inadequate. (Huffington Post)
• FirstEnergy will receive $14 million from an economic development agency to demolish a retired coal plant in Ohio to make room for a potential ethane cracker facility. (Columbus Business First)

NUCLEAR:
• As the Trump administration takes shape, environmental groups are expressing more openness toward nuclear power as a way to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (ClimateWire)
• With the dust settled over whether to support Illinois nuclear plants, advocates of recent legislation passed there say it’s time to maximize benefits for the public. (Medill News Service)

EFFICIENCY: Nearly 100,000 rural Wisconsin residents will receive vouchers for buying high-speed internet through funding that was supposed to be used to promote energy efficiency. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

RENEWABLES: Google announces that all of its data centers around the world will be powered by wind and solar sometime next year. (New York Times)

PIPELINES:
• Tribes’ victory on the Dakota Access pipeline has also brought attention to preserving sacred sites. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• While further delaying the Dakota Access project may be costly for the developer, experts say it’s unlikely to kill the project completely. (Associated Press)
• Dakota Access protesters’ victory, though perhaps temporary, is a “wake-up call” to advocates elsewhere looking to block projects. (EnergyWire)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: John Deere unveils a prototype for an electric-powered tractor, equipped with battery packs and two electric motors. (Electrek)

OIL AND GAS: With the Dakota Access pipeline project in limbo, more oil from the Bakken region will likely be transported by rail. (Reuters)

COMMENTARY:
• The Standing Rock protests have resonated in Michigan, where an oil pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac threatens the health of the Great Lakes. (Traverse City Record Eagle)
• Ohio should lead, not lag, on solar deployment. (Canton Repository)
• Fossil fuel and utility interests have been using money to influence the renewable energy debate in Ohio. (Energy and Policy Institute)

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