Daily digest

Ohio’s clean-energy ballot initiative gets complicated

BALLOT INITIATIVE: Ohio voters could potentially be asked three questions on the same issue surrounding a clean-energy ballot proposal in order to comply with the state constitution, state election officials rule. (Toledo Blade)

FRACKING: Despite opposition from lawmakers, Ohio advocates are still pushing to increase the state’s severance tax on drilling. (Midwest Energy News)

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SOLAR:
• After a slow start, community solar is growing in Michigan with at least four new projects announced within the past year and more on the way. (Midwest Energy News)
Local officials in Minnesota move forward on plans for a 5-megawatt solar garden, the first in the city. (St. Cloud Times)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says while new federal rules may bring short-term economic challenges, “It’s a good thing for us, longer term, to move away from coal to cleaner sources of energy.” (MLive)
The CEO of American Public Power Association says: “This is a [national] energy policy. Like it or not, we have one now.” (Lincoln Journal Star)

SOLAR: A variety of complicated fees on rooftop solar is having a chilling effect on the industry’s growth. (Climate Central)

RAIL SAFETY:
• Minneapolis City Council members want railroad companies to better communicate with the city about hazardous materials being shipped through from North Dakota. (Pioneer Press)
Following the weekend’s accidents, Wisconsin lawmakers propose legislation to boost rail safety; meanwhile, the tracks where an ethanol train derailed have been returned to service. (LaCrosse Tribune, Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS:
• Despite low prices, large-production wells in the Utica shale are still economical to develop. (Columbus Business First)
North Dakota’s governor says the oil slump won’t hurt the state’s record population growth because its economy has diversified. (Associated Press)

ETHANOL:
• A national group opposed to the nationwide ethanol mandate extends its ad campaign to Indiana, saying the Renewable Fuel Standard hurts the environment and food prices. (The Hill)
The campaign is pitting farmers against anti-ethanol interests. (Minnesota Public Radio)

WIND: The first turbine in a 107-megawatt wind farm in North Dakota becomes operational. (Bismarck Tribune)

UTILITIES:
• Declining wholesale prices of power continue to put stress on Ohio utilities that own coal and nuclear plants. (Utility Dive)
• Stagnant electricity demand is prompting a surge in mergers and acquisitions among utilities. (USA Today)

COMMENTARY:
• A revised version of Michigan Republicans’ energy plan moves the state closer to full regulation. (Detroit News)
President Obama’s Keystone XL decision may be the “birth of a potent, continuing campaign on the order of the U.S. Civil Rights movement” or “empty symbolism,” depending on whom you ask. (MinnPost, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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