Daily digest

Radioactive waste continues to leak from Illinois nuclear plants

NUCLEAR: An investigation finds radioactive waste continues to leak from Illinois nuclear plants, with at least 35 self-reported releases since the 2007 discovery of chronic radioactive leaks at Exelon plants. (Better Government Association)

SOLAR:
• Advocates say that while some net metering rule changes in Ohio are beneficial, they will ultimately reduce the amount customers are compensated. (Midwest Energy News)
• While potential tariffs on imported solar panels may compel Chinese manufacturers to open plants in the U.S., it’s unlikely to create a solar jobs boom here. (Bloomberg)
• Construction is expected to begin in April on a 40-megawatt solar project in South Dakota. (Rapid City Journal)

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FRAC SAND: A Minnesota judge dismisses a legal challenge to a county ordinance banning industrial frac sand mining. (LaCrosse Tribune)

TRANSMISSION: The developer of the proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line has asked the Missouri Supreme Court to rule on the project in hopes of reviving it. (Midwest Energy News)

WIND: A “wind energy informational meeting” held last week in Michigan was led by a longstanding anti-wind advocate and others who highlighted negative impacts of the industry. (Midland Daily News)

BIOMASS: A logging industry group in Minnesota is suing to block the closure of a biomass plant, saying it would hurt the environment and jobs amid a broader push by Xcel Energy to opt out of biomass contracts there. (Associated Press, Midwest Energy News archives)

RENEWABLES: The CEO of Xcel Energy says cheap natural gas will help the utility get 35 percent of its electricity from renewables and less than a quarter from coal by 2020. (Minnesota Public Radio)

PIPELINES:
• Cleanup of the 210,000-gallon Keystone pipeline spill is expected to last several weeks, and additional crews and equipment continue to be dispatched to the site. (Watertown Public Opinion, Associated Press)
• Protesters gather at the Nebraska capitol over the weekend before state regulators are expected to issue a ruling today on the Keystone XL pipeline. (Associated Press)
• Last week’s Keystone pipeline spill has raised concerns among advocates in Iowa over the Dakota Access pipeline. (KCCI)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Major Michigan-based retailer Meijer will be among the first companies to test drive Tesla’s electric semi-truck. (MLive)

EFFICIENCY: A “more robust and strategic” approach to replacing streetlights with more energy-efficient and responsive features is among changes approved for Columbus, Ohio’s Smart City grant. (Columbus Business First)

COMMENTARY:
• The Environmental Defense Fund says Ohio utilities’ attempt to re-regulate the state’s electricity market is a step backwards and ignores the clean energy benefits that come with competition. (Midwest Energy News)
• Energy analysts say the quick collapse of a deal for Ohio-based Murray Energy to buy out a troubled coal mining company “comes as no surprise.” (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)

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