WIND: Ikea plans to build a wind farm in Illinois large enough to produce 65 percent more electricity than the retailer’s U.S. operations consume, while a new industry report says policy uncertainty caused wind industry growth to slow in 2013. (Chicago Tribune, USA Today)

EFFICIENCY: At an Ohio panel discussion, business leaders say combined heat and power has strong potential in the state, but regulatory hurdles and legislative efforts to gut efficiency laws are creating barriers. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the conversation, expand your network and meet face-to-face with key Midwest solar industry players at the Midwest Solar Expo on May 16th at the Hilton Minneapolis. Sponsor this event and become a strategic player in the expanding Midwest solar market.***

PIPELINES: A ruptured Michigan pipeline responsible for a major 2010 spill has been rebuilt and is weeks away from restarting at double the capacity. Meanwhile, President Obama quickly rejected a call by 11 Democrats to issue a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline by May 31. (InsideClimateChristian Science Monitor)

RELIABILITY: A climate group’s report says severe weather has doubled the frequency of major power outages over the last decade, and Ohio and Michigan are among the hardest hit states, while a U.S. Senate committee heard testimony on electric grid security vulnerabilities. (The Columbus Dispatch, USA Today)

ELECTRICITY: Columbus, Ohio, is exploring whether the city should pursue municipal energy aggregation, and a Michigan lawmaker will take part in a live chat Monday about his customer-choice bill that would open the state’s electricity market to more competition. (Columbus Business First,

UTILITIES: FirstEnergy CEO Anthony Alexander called for a renewed focus on fossil fuels this week in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. (GreenTechGrid)

***SPONSORED LINK: Register today ($15/individual) for the 15th Anniversary Conference of Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light Climate Stewardship: Sustainability, Eco-Justice and Well-Beingon May 18 in Milwaukee. Keynote, workshops, exhibits and more. Be a sponsor, $100-$1,000.***

OIL/GAS: A new reports finds a wide variety of compensation for Ohio landowners’ oil and gas rights, with signing bonuses ranging from $5,800 per acre to as little as $10 per acre. And a North Dakota commissioned study sees the state’s oil production peaking between 1.2 million and 1.5 million barrels per day. (Columbus Business First, The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead)

FRAC SAND: A Minnesota appeals court has 90 days to rule on a challenge to the first permitted frac sand mine in Winona County. Opponents say the county should have required further study before allowing work to begin. (Minnesota Public Radio)

COMMENTARY: Not all biomass is created equal, and our energy policies must distinguish among the good, the bad and the ugly. (NRDC Switchboard)

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