Daily digest

Ohio regulators approve modified ‘bailout’ plans

OHIO:
• State regulators approve two modified, eight-year income-guarantee requests by AEP and FirstEnergy, saying the plan “benefits ratepayers and the public interest.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer, SNL Energy)
• Opponents pledge to appeal the decision and challenge it in federal court. (Associated Press)
One commissioner says environmental groups have gone from “fringe” advocates in rate cases to having an influential seat at the table. (Columbus Business First)

COAL:
• An initiative planned in Illinois looks to institute a 5 percent severance tax on coal mining that would help bolster state and local budgets. (Midwest Energy News)
A proposal for a coal waste storage site has central Illinois residents concerned about potential drinking water contamination. (WRSP-TV)

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SOLAR:
• Regulators approve a controversial 65-megawatt solar project in southwest Minnesota that would be the second-largest array in the state. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• An Iowa electric co-op will begin construction within the next month on a 5.5-megawatt solar project. (The Gazette)

WIND: Residents in Michigan’s Thumb region protest a planned 150-megawatt wind project because they feel it shouldn’t have been approved following a local moratorium on new projects. (Port Huron Times Herald)

GRID: The CEO of Chicago-based ComEd wants the utility to be a leader in developing distributed energy systems, helping to bring a “third industrial revolution.” (Utility Dive)

OIL SPILL: A new analysis says 700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline are potentially vulnerable to an oil spill in the Straits of Mackinac. (MLive)

NATURAL GAS: Wisconsin regulators give verbal approval for a new 700-megawatt natural gas plant in southern Wisconsin. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

RATES: For the 12th straight year, Xcel Energy is asking Wisconsin regulators to approve a rate increase. (LaCrosse Tribune)

OIL-BY-RAIL: Minnesota lawmakers will take testimony today on a bill that seeks to increase the safety of transporting oil by rail. (KSTP-TV)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Customers line up at Tesla stores around the country to put in orders for the new Model 3, an electric car “for the masses.” (New York Times)

EFFICIENCY: Energy efficiency moves to the center stage for reducing greenhouse gas emissions as the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan is on hold. (ClimateWire)

OIL AND GAS:
• Two new reports suggest that earthquakes related to wastewater injection wells are not a problem in North Dakota. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Attorneys will hold an information session for North Dakota landowners to address their property rights amid oil and gas development. (Forum News Service)

TRANSMISSION: Kansas regulators approve a utility’s request for $25 million to upgrade its transmission infrastructure. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

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VOLKSWAGEN SCANDAL: A senior U.S. EPA official had to recuse himself for nearly two months from taking enforcement action against the automaker because he owned one of the faulty vehicles. (Greenwire)

COMMENTARY: A carbon tax would be more effective than subsidies for renewable energy at leveling the playing field for other types of generation, particularly nuclear. (Forbes)

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