Daily digest

U.S. EPA head praises Toledo’s renewable energy commitment

NOTE TO READERS: Midwest Energy News will be taking a break on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The digest will return on Tuesday, January 19.

SOLAR: Minnesota residents are quickly buying up shares in the first community solar projects being developed there, showing early signs of high demand for the statewide program. (Midwest Energy News) 

ALSO:
U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy tours Toledo, Ohio to promote the city’s commitment to renewable energy development and, particularly, solar innovation. (Toledo Blade)
• A new industry report seeks to explain state and regional solar price variations among different customer classes, which could be valuable to utilities. (Utility Dive)
A company begins installing thousands of solar panels on commercial properties along a main corridor in St. Paul as part of a nearly 1-megawatt project. (Monitor Saint Paul)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join more than 600 innovators and decision-makers February 24-26 in Chicago for the Midwest Energy Solutions Conference. With live demonstrations, insightful panels and unparalleled networking, MES 2016 is a can’t-miss conference. Register today!*** 

OHIO: AEP’s CEO says he was initially skeptical about reaching an agreement with the Sierra Club over the utility’s income guarantee request. (Columbus Business First)

EFFICIENCY: An ordinance in Chicago that requires some building owners to report efficiency data saw a five-fold increase in participants in its second year. (Sustainable Chicago)

COAL:
• President Obama is expected to announce today a moratorium on new coal-mining leases on public land as the administration seeks to overhaul the program. (New York Times)
A citizens advisory group in Lansing, Michigan is helping the city’s utility transition away from a large coal-burning plant. (WKAR)
A utility spends more than $350 million to install pollution upgrades at a South Dakota coal plant, though officials are worried it may not be able to run at full capacity under new federal rules. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

WIND: Local officials in Illinois go through an hours-long process to approve more than 100 conditional use permits for a wind project spread across 14,000 acres. (Bureau County Republican)

OIL AND GAS:
• The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts the oil and gas industry is unlikely to recover until well into 2017. (EnergyWire)
Metro Detroit residents plan to protest a local church’s plans to allow a company to drill for oil on its property. (CBS Detroit)
A program to train laid-off oil patch workers in the Bakken area issues its first scholarship. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

POLICY: Environmental and industry groups alike are speculating what President Obama’s next directives on fossil fuels will be following his State of the Union speech. (ClimateWire)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join dynamic CEO Mary Powell of Green Mountain Power, renewables thought leader James Tong, Wisconsin utilities, and renewable industry experts for “Shaping the Utility of the Future,” Thursday, January 21st in Madison, Wisconsin. ***

BIOFUELS: The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers will intervene in the biofuel industry’s lawsuit against the U.S. EPA’s decision to lower renewable fuel standards. (Biofuels Digest)

COMMENTARY:
• Independent power producers, following a tough year for business due to low wholesale power prices, may find new ways to shift costs onto ratepayers. (Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis)
• Smart investments in years past mean oil patch towns in North Dakota are well positioned to weather bad times for the oil and gas industry. (Bismarck Tribune)
Michigan lawmakers should rely on data-driven reports about the benefits of clean-energy programs as it looks to update statewide energy policy. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

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