Daily digest

Progress made in Minnesota community solar dispute

EFFICIENCY: Critics say FirstEnergy’s efficiency plan filed in Ohio would not produce energy or cost savings beyond business-as-usual and that the company could take credit for work done by others, making millions of dollars as a result. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR:
• Some progress was made this week in long-running disputes between solar installers and Xcel Energy over Minnesota’s community solar program. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• A music school in Minnesota claims to be the first in the Midwest to run entirely on solar energy. (Woodbury Bulletin)

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MERGERS: According to new filings, legal complaints against Great Plains Energy’s planned $12.2 billion acquisition of Westar will be dropped. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

OIL AND GAS:
• A series of gas pipelines under development in the Marcellus and Utica shale region could lead to billions of dollars in additional drilling activity, industry officials say. (The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register)
• A Michigan lawmaker introduces a bill aimed at ensuring utility customers aren’t paying for unrepaired gas leaks. (MLive)

WIND:
• Local officials celebrate the completion of a 200-megawatt wind project in Minnesota. (Worthington Daily Globe)
• Consumers Energy applies for permits to continue expanding a wind project in eastern Michigan. (Tuscola County Advertiser)

RENEWABLES: A new agreement between Xcel Energy and the state of Minnesota requires 33 percent of the energy used at the government’s State Capitol Complex to come from renewable sources. (KQDS)

PIPELINES:
• As the Dakota Access pipeline dispute continues, the Obama administration looks to improve tribal relations during his final months in office. (Reuters)
• Iowa regulators will not appoint a public liaison to hear complaints about the Dakota Access pipeline, following a request from environmental groups. (Fort Dodge Messenger)
• Dakota Access protesters interrupt North Dakota’s top oil regulator during a conference speech. (Associated Press)
• North Dakota will borrow $6 million to help cover law enforcement costs related to pipeline protests. (Associated Press)

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Federal court proceedings over the Clean Power Plan are expected to draw hundreds of people. (ClimateWire)

COAL:
• Retired coal miners in southern Illinois are praising a U.S. Senate committee’s approval of a bill to protect healthcare and pension benefits for retired miners and their families. (Southern Illinoisan)
• A coal executive says right-sizing an industry that is used to being large is the key challenge for coal coal companies. (Platts)

FRACKING: Documents show that the White House was involved with the messaging of last year’s rollout of the U.S. EPA’s controversial fracking study. (EnergyWire)

CLIMATE:
• In his last address to the U.N. General Assembly, President Obama warns that the “bill could come due” unless leaders take action on climate change. (ClimateWire)
• President Obama says climate change must be factored into the development of all national security-related policies. (Washington Post)

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UTILITIES: AEP has reached an agreement with insurance company Nationwide following a dispute about which company should pay for damage to an Ohio couple’s home following a power surge. (Columbus Dispatch)

COMMENTARY:
• While wind energy development has been pursued in Kansas, state officials have “paid scant attention” to solar. (Transmission & Distribution World)
• A General Motors official says plug-in electric vehicles will one day be used to manage the intermittency of wind and solar on the grid. (GM Authority)

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