Daily digest

Ohio regulators oppose Energy Department plan for supporting coal, nuclear plants

POLICY: The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio opposes a U.S. Department of Energy proposal to support coal and nuclear plants, saying it could bring radical changes to competitive markets. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

CLIMATE: In an unusual move, a Minnesota judge grants intervenor status to a group of youth climate change activists who will now have formal standing in a case involving a pipeline expansion project. (Midwest Energy News)

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BIOFUELS: The EPA on Friday scrapped proposed changes to the nation’s biofuels policy after backlash from corn-state lawmakers. (Reuters)

COAL ASH: Public hearings begin this week to determine whether coal ash storage sites are the cause of groundwater contamination near coal plants in Waukegan and other Illinois communities. (Lake County News-Sun)

RENEWABLES: Michigan regulators may decide on a case this week that could reduce payments from utilities to independent renewable energy producers, some of which may go out of business under the new arrangement. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

UTILITIES:
• An official with Detroit-based DTE Energy says prices for natural gas and renewable energy means there is no economic basis for utilities to invest in coal and nuclear generation. (Toledo Blade)
• Wisconsin regulators will hold a public hearing this week on a rate increase request by Xcel Energy that includes another 21 percent increase in fixed charges. (LaCrosse Tribune)

SOLAR:
• Plans move forward for a major solar project in southern Indiana that would be built across 800 acres of farmland. (Perry County News)
• Installers are urging homeowners to buy their solar systems as soon as possible to avoid price hikes caused by potential tariffs next year. (Reuters)

PIPELINES: The developer of a natural gas pipeline through Ohio and Michigan says it is willing to work with state officials after contaminated groundwater near the project may have moved into wetlands in southeast Michigan. (MLive)

COAL: A utility in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula says it could save more than $100 million over 20 years by taking a coal-fired steam plant offline. (Marquette Mining Journal)

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EFFICIENCY: A survey done by an industry group shows less than one-third of utility customers participate in energy management programs, but there is strong growth in some service territories. (Utility Dive)

COMMENTARY:
• The Cleveland Plain Dealer says Ohio lawmakers should again reject FirstEnergy’s request to prop up uneconomic nuclear plants.
• Advocates say Illinois is poised to continue its clean energy transition despite the Trump administration’s effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan. (Natural Resources Defense Council)|
• Renewable portfolio standards are responsible for 62 percent of the growth of non-hydro renewables in the U.S. since 2000, with the benefits substantially outweighing the costs, says a writer at Vox.

CORRECTION: An item in Friday’s digest about a Minnesota school district was incorrectly reported in the original story. It is about the district’s involvement in a community solar program.

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