Daily digest

Under Illinois plan to help struggling coal plants, pollution could increase

COAL: Pollution from eight Dynegy coal plants in Illinois could increase under a plan by the Rauner administration to help the financially struggling plants by giving them more flexibility on pollution limits. (Chicago Tribune)

WIND:
• After nine years of commercial wind energy development, Michigan researchers say they now have a better sense of what drives support — and opposition — for projects across the state. (Midwest Energy News)
• South Dakota regulators are moving forward on a swift timeline for a proposed 400 megawatt wind project. (Watertown Public Opinion)
• Construction begins on a 210 megawatt wind project in northern Illinois. (Sterling Daily Gazette)
• A Nebraska city taps a developer to build a 1.7 megawatt wind turbine for the municipal utility. (Omaha World-Herald)
• Wind energy opponents protest at the Nebraska Capitol as state lawmakers disagree over future development there. (Omaha World-Herald)

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UTILITIES: A proposed merger between Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy could be delayed further after a Westar shareholder files a federal lawsuit to block the plan. (Kansas City Business Journal)

SOLAR:
• A solar installer discusses the clean energy sector’s growth in southeast Minnesota. (Rochester Post Bulletin)
• A student group at the University of Wisconsin looks to install solar panels across campus. (Badger Herald)

GRID: A 375-mile transmission line announced by Ameren in 2010 that will improve reliability and move wind generation across Illinois is nearing completion. (Terre Haute Tribune Star)

PIPELINES: The leader of the Standing Rock Sioux says the Dakota Access pipeline developer got off lightly under an agreement with North Dakota regulators over alleged violations during construction. (Associated Press)

OIL AND GAS: In exchange for a 15-year property tax abatement, a project calling for two natural gas plants in Ohio would pay roughly $3.2 million per year to a local school district. (Youngstown Vindicator)

BIOFUELS: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says it’s “outrageous” that the U.S. EPA may reduce the amount of renewable fuels required to be blended into the nation’s fuel supply, calling it a “bait-and-switch” from earlier proposals. (Quad-City Times)

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EMISSIONS: Researchers at Michigan State University are testing algae-based technologies for capturing power plant emissions. (press release)

COMMENTARY:
• The head of the Conservative Energy Network says clean energy has created a “jobs boom that is boosting economic growth, creating middle class jobs, and attracting billions of dollars in new investment.” (Midwest Energy News)
• The Cleveland Plain Dealer says Ohio’s setback rules for wind turbines are overly restrictive, which “wrongly straitjackets wind energy development” in the state.
• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch welcomes Ameren Missouri’s increased commitment to renewable energy, calling it a “significant change in attitude from the nation’s second most coal-dependent power company.”
• Advocates reflect on the difficulties of including strong solar policies in the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act. (Union of Concerned Scientists)

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