Daily digest

Wisconsin groups challenge frac sand permits that would fill wetlands

• As Ohio lawmakers consider subsidies for two uneconomic coal plants, a new report shows market forces — especially lower prices from shale gas development — are behind the general decline of coal plants’ competitiveness. (Midwest Energy News)
• New U.S. Energy Information figures show coal is still the dominant generation fuel in the Midwest. (Utility Dive)

FRAC SAND: Environmental groups are challenging a decision last month by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to grant permits for a frac sand mining operation that would fill 16.25 acres of wetlands. (LaCrosse Tribune)

• A Minnesota utility announces plans to plant pollinator habitat at an upcoming solar installation and at local substations. (Northfield News)
• A Minnesota couple’s efforts to promote pollinator-friendly solar gardens are receiving national attention. (Park Rapids Enterprise)
• A Wisconsin county is considering plans to move forward with privately funded solar installations at two government buildings. (Baraboo News Republic)
• An Ohio high school hopes to meet 80 percent of its electricity needs through a new solar installation. (Associated Press)
• Residential solar installations are on the rise in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula. (Northern Express)
• Construction is underway on a 12,000-square-foot industrial building near Chicago that will have a 1.2-megawatt solar installation on the roof. (Elgin Courier-News)

CLIMATE: Exxon Mobil joins other oil companies and major corporations in backing a plan by a group of Republicans to tax carbon emissions. (New York Times)

GRID: Grid operator PJM publishes three documents on ways to move its policies forward as more distributed generation comes online and as states consider carbon-pricing rules. (RTO Insider)

• Officials are trying to contain and find the origin of an oil slick spotted in a river in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. (WISN)
• An Ohio shale-drilling powerhouse is being acquired for $6.7 billion, “creating a monster in the domestic natural-gas industry.” (Columbus Business First)

EFFICIENCY: Officials in Ann Arbor, Michigan hire a firm to do an energy audit on city-owned buildings in hopes of identifying energy efficiency opportunities. (MLive)

UTILITIES: Members of a cooperatively owned power company in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula say the board is blocking input from members and is not being transparent with its management. (Houghton Mining Gazette)

COMMENTARY: Inserting changes to wind turbine setback requirements in an Ohio budget bill “is not the way to go,” says the Columbus Dispatch.

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