Daily digest

Wal-Mart calls Ohio utility’s request ‘unfair’

RATES: Ratepayer advocates in Indiana reach a settlement with Duke Energy over costs to run a new coal gasification plant, though more challenges could come in the future over the plant’s operations. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO:
• Wal-Mart remains a vocal opponent of AEP’s income-guarantee request in Ohio, saying the costs would be “extensive and unfair” for ratepayers. (Columbus Business First)
• In December, energy prices in grid operator MISO’s market were the lowest they had been since 2009. (RTO Insider)

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EMISSIONS: Air pollution caused by the energy sector alone costs more than $100 billion a year in damages as a result from health impacts. (Washington Post)

PIPELINES: Michigan’s attorney general reinforces his position that the oil pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac has a limited lifespan and wouldn’t have been built under today’s regulatory standards. (MLive)

NUCLEAR: The Davis-Besse nuclear plant in Ohio will return to full service this week after idling for several days due to a power failure. (Toledo Blade)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Tesla applies for a dealership license to sell its cars in Michigan, testing a bill signed in 2014 that company says effectively bans them from the state. (Detroit News)

OIL AND GAS:
• Credit rating agencies issue new warnings about the financial stress on oil patch companies. (EnergyWire)
• North Dakota state agencies need to cut their budgets by nearly $250 million in the wake of low oil and agriculture revenues. (Minnesota Public Radio)
The CEO of AEP laughs when asked on national television whether he’d buy an oil and gas company in light of the industry’s struggles: “No,” he said. (Columbus Business First)

SOLAR: An Illinois utility looks to set aside $1 million for a solar project. (State Journal-Register)

COAL:
• New federal rules meant to improve air quality in underground coal mines take effect this week. (Associated Press)
Coal mining layoffs continue in southern Illinois. (Southern Illinoisan)

EFFICIENCY:
• Ohio-based fast-food chain Wendy’s pledges to reduce energy use at its company-owned restaurants 20 percent over the next 10 years. (Columbus Dispatch)
The effort is part of the federal government’s larger Better Buildings Program. (Utility Dive)
A Nebraska farmer uses an energy efficient greenhouse to grow tropical fruit in the Midwest. (Grist)
• General Electric announces that it will no longer manufacture compact fluorescent light bulbs as it shifts production to LEDs. (New York Times)

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UTILITIES:
• The incoming CEO of Michigan-based Consumers Energy says the utility is focused on a “balanced portfolio” that reflects declining renewable energy prices. (MLive)
A Kansas utility receives permission to use drones for a variety of tasks, including finding storm damage and inspecting wind turbine blades. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY:
• Michigan environmental officials may repeat their mistakes associated with the Flint water crisis by approving oil well drilling in a Detroit suburb. (Michigan Radio)
The Iowa caucuses do little more than provide a handout to the state’s ethanol industry. (Chicago Tribune)

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