UTILITIES: Major Ohio utilities signal a positive financial outlook despite a drop in power demand during the pandemic, which critics say highlights policies that protect utilities from risk at the expense of ratepayers. (Energy News Network)

ALSO: A settlement with the U.S. EPA will require DTE Energy to reduce air pollution from five southeastern Michigan coal plants, pay a $1.8 million civil penalty and replace old school and municipal transit buses with cleaner models. (Detroit News)

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• North Dakota wants to use $33.1 million in federal coronavirus aid to plug abandoned oil wells, many of which were created by the latest industry downturn. (Associated Press)
• Oil extraction and mining businesses had the best success in getting loans through the Paycheck Protection Program, according to a Census Bureau survey. (Associated Press)

SMART GRID: The Illinois Commerce Commission is close to finalizing rules that will allow utilities to earn a return on investment for cloud-based computing solutions, which will help facilitate the transition to a smart grid. (Utility Dive)

COAL: The planned closure of a major North Dakota coal plant may signal a shift for electric cooperatives, which have been slow to embrace clean energy. (InsideClimate News)

PIPELINES: Michigan’s attorney general urges the state Public Service Commission to reject Enbridge’s request to move forward with construction of a pipeline tunnel for Line 5. (WILX)

SOLAR: An Illinois university expects to save up to $80,000 a year on electricity costs with a new solar project that includes no upfront costs. (Premier Broadcasting)

STORAGE:  A western Michigan company receives a $250,000 grant to advance its utility-scale energy storage technology. (MiBiz)

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EFFICIENCY: Ameren officials discuss ways residential customers can save energy as their demand grows during the pandemic. (Herald & Review)

• A FirstEnergy subsidiary’s stock buyback “is a brazen slap in the face to every Ohio customer who will have to pony up to subsidize a pair of nuclear power plants that are financially troubled,” an editorial board writes. (Toledo Blade)
• A North Dakota state senator says the state should invest in retraining workers at a major coal plant scheduled to close in 2022. (Inforum)

Andy compiles the Midwest Energy News digest and was a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News from 2014-2020. He is managing editor of MiBiz in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was formerly a reporter and editor at City Pulse, Lansing’s alternative newsweekly.