Midwest Energy News

Solar job growth declined sharply in Indiana last year, report says

FRACKING: Ohio researchers conclude oil and gas drillers in shale plays could affect deeper faults in the basement rock. The findings could draw more regulatory scrutiny but don’t offer easy answers on where drilling should take place. (Midwest Energy News)

CLEAN ENERGY: After years of playing political defense, clean energy advocates in Kansas look to be proactive this year with bills aimed at increasing net metering and energy efficiency. (Midwest Energy News)

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SOLAR:
• The U.S. solar industry lost 9,800 jobs between 2016 and 2017, according to a new report that attributes the 3.8 percent decline to policy uncertainty and a slowdown in established markets. (Greentech Media)
• The report says Indiana added 75 solar jobs in 2017 compared to 1,100 in 2016. (Indianapolis Star)
• Illinois communities more accustomed to wind energy development see growing interest from companies pursuing utility-scale solar projects. (WGLT, Bloomington Pantagraph)
• Replacing tobacco farms with solar panels would be a major payoff for landowners and for human health, according to researchers from Michigan. (Big Think)

REGULATION: Consumer advocates in Indiana call for an open process as state officials fill a vacancy on the little-known Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. (Indianapolis Star)

PIPELINES:
• South Dakota lawmakers reject a bill that would have banned the construction of new oil pipelines in the state. (Watertown Public Opinion)
• A woman who suffered a serious arm injury from an explosion during the Dakota Access pipeline protests sues the federal government to obtain evidence, hoping it will bolster her case against law enforcement. (Associated Press)
• A Seattle activist is sentenced to one year in prison for targeting an oil pipeline in North Dakota as part of a multi-state protest in 2016. (Associated Press)

RENEWABLES: A Missouri city exceeds its 15 percent renewable energy goal ahead of schedule as it plans to add more solar generation. (Columbia Missourian)

OIL AND GAS:
• The developers of a proposed oil refinery in western North Dakota say there is no other “like this one on the planet” due to its state-of-the-art technology. (Bismarck Tribune)
• A North Dakota ballot measure seeks to restore the state’s oil extraction tax rate to 6.5 percent after it was lowered in 2015. (Forum News Service)
• A plan to survey for oil beneath a public park in southwestern Michigan has been abandoned, “but residents are appalled it was considered in the first place.” (MLive)
• North Dakota regulators schedule a public hearing for a proposed $136 million natural gas processing plant. (Associated Press)
• Siemens AG is closing an Ohio plant where it manufacturers natural gas turbines due to pressure from the renewable energy sector, resulting in the loss of 400 jobs. (Columbus Dispatch)

CLIMATE: Ohio State University joins 12 other schools as part of a collaboration to achieve climate change goals locally. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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UTILITIES: Michigan regulators ask DTE Energy to provide more information about why it cut off power to several thousand customers last year under a new billing system. (Detroit News)

COMMENTARY:
• The “shale revolution offers a mix of risks and benefits,” though there are opportunities if stakeholders take well-informed actions, says a Michigan researcher and author. (The Hill)
• Rochester, Minnesota, is stepping up with clean energy programs to achieve its climate change goals, says a local editorial. (Rochester Post Bulletin)

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