Daily digest

PJM seeks ratepayer protections as part of AEP ‘bailout’ request

OHIO:
• Grid operator PJM has filed a brief with Ohio regulators asking that ratepayer protections be built into AEP’s income-guarantee request. (Utility Dive)
By no later than March 31, AEP customers in Ohio will start seeing the costs of renewable energy and efficiency programs itemized on their electric bills; other costs will remain hidden. (Columbus Business First, Midwest Energy News archive)

RENEWABLES: A variety of private companies in Michigan say they are looking to invest more in renewable energy but face policy barriers. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

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NATURAL GAS:
• Alliant Energy is increasing the size of a natural gas plant it wants to build in Wisconsin while also asking if other utilities or cooperatives want to buy a stake in the project. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Federal regulators are considering new rules for underground gas storage sites in an effort to prevent leaks. (EnergyWire)
The increased volume of natural gas being used in place of coal “may be a double-edged sword.” (Forbes)

WIND:
• MidAmerican Energy completes two wind projects in Iowa that total 1,200 megawatts of new generation. (KCCI-TV)
• Several Wisconsin counties are pushing state officials to conduct a study on alleged health impacts from wind turbines that was proposed in 2013. (Fond du Lac Reporter)

SOLAR:
• Some southwest Minnesota residents are speaking out against a planned $100 million solar project by claiming it is too big, would lower property values and “destroy the region’s rural character.” (Minnesota Public Radio)
An Ohio county considers buying into a long-term solar energy contract to reduce electric costs. (The Daily Standard)
The Kansas Department of Revenue issues an opinion that only utilities can sell electricity in the state, which could have implications for solar financing arrangements. (Renewable Energy World)

COAL:
• A clean-energy advocacy group is questioning whether Peabody Energy has the resources through “self bonding” for the future clean-up of the company’s Illinois coal mines. (Associated Press)
An air monitoring station installed by We Energies at one of its Wisconsin coal plants after pressure from residents “has so far detected nothing out of the ordinary.” (Racine Journal Times)
The city of Detroit rejects a company’s request to store a coal-based byproduct called “coke breeze” at a site along the Detroit River. (Detroit Free Press)

CONGRESS: A federal aid package for the Flint water crisis is becoming a sticking point as lawmakers seek to attach it to a sweeping energy proposal. (The Hill)

POLITICS: Ethanol critics say Ted Cruz’s victory in the Iowa caucus diminishes the industry’s political clout, but not all observers agree; also, a similar debate played out in the last presidential cycle. (E&E Daily, AP archive)

RATES: DTE Energy is pushing Michigan regulators for a rate increase to improve its regional distribution system. (Oakland Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A new study by University of Michigan researchers finds that battery-powered electric vehicles produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions overall than hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. (CNET)

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TRANSPORTATION: Due to budget constraints, Illinois’ environmental agency has stopped sending emissions test notices to vehicle owners. (WLS-TV)

COMMENTARY:
• A Minnesota regulator discusses why federal tax credits for wind and solar have been beneficial for the state’s industries. (Clean Energy Resource Teams)
• A conservative group in Michigan says regulated utilities should be held accountable to keep electric rates affordable through “performance standards” on renewable energy and efficiency. (Bridge Magazine)

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