Daily digest

Sierra Club supports AEP ‘bailout’ after clean energy commitments

OHIO:
• American Electric Power reaches a settlement agreement with regulatory staff and a key environmental group over its own “bailout” plan. (RTO Insider)
• In getting support from the Sierra Club, AEP agrees to close or convert 1,500 megawatts of coal by 2030 and install 900 megawatts of wind and solar by 2020. (Columbus Business Journal)
On working with the Sierra Club and committing to renewables, AEP’s CEO says it’s about perception among customers. (Columbus Business First)
Despite revisions to a proposed settlement agreement, environmental groups and consumer advocates are still opposed to FirstEnergy’s “bailout” request. (Midwest Energy News)

EFFICIENCY: Amid uncertainty over the future of a state efficiency mandate, Michigan’s two largest utilities say they will continue their energy efficiency programs for at least the next two years. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

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SUSTAINABILITY:
• Grand Rapids, Michigan becomes a “2030 District” city, with downtown property owners pledging to cut energy use in half over the next 15 years. (Midwest Energy News)
University of Iowa students are calling on school leaders to adopt stronger campus sustainability goals. (The Gazette)

SOLAR:
• A Minnesota project is helping electric co-ops gain experience in distributed and community solar. (Midwest Energy News)
• Ohio officials reach a $6.5 million settlement with a former startup solar company that was unable to repay loans. (Columbus Business First)

CLIMATE:
• Environmental activists say their plans will shift now to ensuring that the goals laid out in the Paris negotiations will be achieved. (New York Times)
Analysts say significant reductions will need to come from the industrial sector to achieve emissions goals outlined in Paris, but it’s unclear how that would happen. (ClimateWire)

FRAC SAND: Industry officials are optimistic that next year will be a better year for the market in Wisconsin and Minnesota than 2015. (LaCrosse Tribune)

CLEAN POWER PLAN:
• Stakeholder groups are divided over how or whether the grid operator MISO should provide guidance or advocacy while states comply with the Clean Power Plan. (RTO Insider)
An ongoing question surrounding Clean Power Plan compliance will be how states are given emissions allowances under a mass-based approach. (EnergyWire)

OIL AND GAS: In a world of climate change concern and plummeting oil prices, the future of the Canadian tar sands is uncertain. (Minnesota Public Radio)

RATES: A business advocacy group in Michigan plans to appeal a recent decision by regulators giving Consumers Energy what critics believe to be the highest return on equity in the country. (MLive)

PIPELINES: North Dakota regulators are considering easing a $2.4 million fine against a Texas company for a pipeline spill that went unnoticed for three months. (Associated Press)

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DIVESTMENT: The University of Michigan’s president does not believe “a persuasive argument has been made” that divestment in fossil fuels will speed up the “necessary transition” to renewable energy. (Detroit Free Press)

COMMENTARY: AEP’s proposed settlement agreement in Ohio “will effectively re-regulate a major part of Ohio’s ‘competitive’ power market.” (Forbes)

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