Daily digest

Ohio offshore wind project gets $3.7 million federal grant

WIND: A planned offshore wind project in Lake Erie near Cleveland receives another $3.7 million in federal funding for additional engineering work. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

SOLAR: Proposed legislation to freeze clean-energy standards in Ohio would also shut down competition in the state’s solar industry, advocates say, by undermining net metering and allowing utilities to get in the rooftop solar business. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• Minnesota lawmakers advance a potentially first-in-the-nation bill that would permit owners of large, ground-mounted solar sites to publicly declare them beneficial habitat for birds and pollinating insects. (Midwest Energy News)
• Two North Dakota electric cooperatives complete their first year testing potential for solar power. (Bismarck Tribune)
Farmers in central Illinois turn to solar power to help run their operations. (Southern Illinoisan)
The solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 aircraft landed in Dayton, Ohio over the weekend in the latest leg of its bid to fly around the world. (Reuters)

NUCLEAR:
• Exelon was on a “full court press” last week lobbying lawmakers in Washington D.C. and Illinois in an effort to save struggling nuclear plants. (EnergyWire)
Company officials are optimistic its bill will pass in Illinois. (Quad-City Times)
Advocates say Ameren Illinois customers farther downstate would have to help cover some of Exelon’s costs without seeing any benefits. (Southern Illinoisan)

PIPELINES: Two Iowa couples are suing over state regulators’ decision to allow a company to use eminent domain for the Dakota Access pipeline. (The Gazette)

OHIO: Former Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Andre Porter will start a new job next month as general counsel for grid operator MISO. (RTO Insider)

UTILITIES:
• FirstEnergy’s revised plan for struggling nuclear and coal plants in Ohio essentially amounts to ratepayers contributing to a rainy day fund. (Toledo Blade)
Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy proposes a rate increase that would more than double fixed charges on customers’ bills by 2018 and lower rates for commercial and industrial users. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OIL AND GAS:
• A North Dakota oil and gas expo this week comes at a troubled time for the industry. (Associated Press)
• One analyst says “the worst of the collapse is over” for oil prices. (Associated Press)
North Dakota tax revenues fell $33.4 million short of projections for the month of April. (Forum News Service)
Some workers have banded together to weather the industry downturn in North Dakota. (Forum News Service)
Population growth in the Bakken region from temporary oilfield workers has caused the area’s water use to increase significantly. (Phys.org)

GRID: A raccoon is said to have caused a power outage for thousands in Wisconsin. (Racine Journal Times)

COMMENTARY:
• A plan to eliminate Michigan’s energy efficiency standard is based on a “no-mandates” slogan instead of data. (MLive)
• Frac sand mining with little oversight “is ruining the rural communities of the Midwest.” (New York Times)
• Solar net metering “frequently benefits all ratepayers when all costs and benefits are accounted for.” (Brookings Institute)
• Evidence continues to suggest that oil train accidents are due to lax regulation and favoring profits over public safety. (DeSmog Blog)

CORRECTION: An item in Friday’s digest incorrectly said owners of ground-mounted solar installations in Minnesota would be required to grow native vegetation on site. If owners choose to do so, they would be allowed to say their solar sites are beneficial to pollinators, song birds or game birds. 

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