UTILITIES: Ohio utility FirstEnergy agrees to pay a $3.9 million fine for failing to disclose $94 million in House Bill 6 lobbying spending to federal regulators. (Cleveland.com)

• A Cleveland suburb joins a new county electric utility program that local officials say could spur microgrid development and expand access to renewable energy. (Cleveland.com)
• Natural gas bills spike for Kansas City utility customers amid utility rate increases and cold weather driving up costs. (FOX 4)

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BUILDINGS: A project that combines energy efficiency, solar power and electrification is part of a Chicago developer’s mission to invest in under-resourced neighborhoods. (Energy News Network)

Environmental groups want more information about the cause of the recent Keystone pipeline spill in Kansas and extent of its cleanup. (Nebraska Examiner)
An Iowa city council approves a new gas distribution line project connecting the city to three farms producing renewable natural gas. (Sioux Center News)

• Widespread winter storms and associated outages last month created new urgency around preparing the grid for extreme weather. (E&E News)
Ohio regulators say AEP’s controlled outages during extreme weather this summer prevented outages from spreading, though the utility could have better communicated its plan with customers. (Columbus Dispatch)

CLEAN ENERGY: Illinois regulators begin a formal proceeding to create a renewable energy action plan required under the state’s sweeping climate change law. (Alton Telegraph)

• Michigan utility Consumers Energy agrees to expand the cap on the number of customers who can participate in its distributed generation program. (PV Magazine)
An Iowa city partners with Alliant Energy to build a solar project on a 32-acre brownfield site. (Solar Industry Magazine)
• Minnesota’s solar energy capacity steadily climbed over the past decade, and more growth is anticipated under local initiatives and state policy, according to a recent state report. (Inforum)

CARBON CAPTURE: Early carbon capture and storage development was among leading energy issues in North Dakota last year. (Bismarck Tribune)

Fresh Energy is hiring!
Fresh Energy’s work is speeding the transition to a clean energy economy in Minnesota and beyond. To advance this work, we are seeking a director of inclusive finance to join the Energy Access and Equity team and a policy associate to join the Clean Electricity team. Find both job postings here.

• A U.S. EPA proposal to increase renewable fuel standard requirements reignites a debate over the environmental costs of biofuels. (Grist)
• A local advocacy group calls on Indiana regulators to revoke a key permit for a $600 million facility in Gary that would convert household trash into jet fuel. (The Crusader)

CLIMATE: New state science standards that require more climate education will go into effect in Indiana by the next school year. (Indiana Public Media)

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Andy compiles the Midwest Energy News digest and was a journalism fellow for Midwest Energy News from 2014-2020. He is managing editor of MiBiz in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was formerly a reporter and editor at City Pulse, Lansing’s alternative newsweekly.