Midwest Energy News

Wisconsin utility: “doesn’t make sense” to keep coal plants open

COAL: Advocates seek to limit customer charges for operating an Indiana coal gasification plant, which one analyst calls an “economic catastrophe for ratepayers.” (Energy News Network)

• A WEC Energy official says “it doesn’t make sense” to keep aging coal plants open as production shifts to gas and renewables. (WisBusiness.com)
• Environmental groups say Indiana would see more groundwater contamination, fewer cleanups and greater risk of spills if the state follows the U.S. EPA in revising coal ash storage rules. (Times of Northwest Indiana)
• Ohio approves $1 million in grants for pilot programs that explore “novel uses” for coal and its byproducts. (Steubenville Herald-Star)

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ELECTRIC VEHICLES: There are more questions than answers about the  benefits to customers who offer their electric vehicles as batteries to distribute power on the grid. (Energy News Network)

• MidAmerican Energy unsuccessfully tries to block an Iowa city from purchasing solar energy to power municipal buildings. (Knoxville Journal-Express)
• Federal energy researchers in Illinois study the potential for establishing pollinator habitats at utility-scale solar installations. (Phys.org, news release)

• The U.S. may be poised for an oil-by-rail rebound “nearly a decade after the idea to carry an oil boom by train took root in the Midwest.” (E&E News)
• A North Dakota commission endorses a state policy allowing water withdrawals from the Little Missouri River for hydraulic fracturing. (Bismarck Tribune)

UTILITIES: A court ruling that keeps open two coal plants in Ohio and Indiana could lead to higher bills for ratepayers. (Springfield News-Sun)

BIOFUELS: Industry groups hope new leadership at the U.S. EPA will join the Department of Energy in supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard. (KCUR)

• Federal regulators approve a 65-mile, $225 million natural gas pipeline through Illinois and Missouri despite questions over whether the project is needed. (E&E News, subscription)
• The U.S. Coast Guard proposes an indefinite ban on anchoring in the Straits of Mackinac to prevent damage to lake-bottom utility lines, including pipelines. (MLive)
• The Dakota Access pipeline developer amends its $1 billion racketeering lawsuit against environmental groups after a judge criticized the original filing as vague. (Associated Press)

POLITICS: Two U.S. House candidates from Michigan and Illinois share a background in the clean energy sector. (E&E News, subscription)

GRID: Illinois receives a $15.3 million federal grant for a rural electrification project. (Associated Press)

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