COAL: A settlement proposed by Consumers Energy, Michigan’s attorney general and environmental groups would retire the utility’s remaining coal fleet by 2025 — 15 years sooner than previously planned. (Michigan Advance)

UTILITIES:
• An Ohio administrative law judge orders FirstEnergy to hand over to the state’s consumer advocate thousands of documents related to a recent federal audit of the utility’s operational and political spending. (Ohio Capital Journal)
• A federal judge dismisses a South Dakota electric cooperative’s lawsuit that sought to exit a long-term supply contract with its wholesale power provider. (Utility Dive)

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GRID: The planned Grain Belt Express transmission project continues to pit landowner rights against the growing need to move renewable electricity from rural areas to population centers. (Flatland)

POLLUTION: Milwaukee officials and Wisconsin health groups call on the Biden administration to strengthen pollution standards from fossil fuel power plants, including two in the state. (Wisconsin State Journal)

ACTIVISM: The Defend Black Voters Coalition launches a Michigan campaign to hold major utilities DTE Energy and Consumers Energy accountable to ratepayers who seek a more active role in utility rate cases. (Michigan Advance)

SOLAR: Ohio regulators schedule hearings for this summer on two major solar projects, including one with a large battery storage component. (PV Magazine)

EFFICIENCY:
• Kansas City utility Evergy launches a new program that lets customers check out energy monitoring devices at libraries to help determine home appliances’ energy usage and reduce consumption. (KMBC)
• Central Michigan county officials consider a $5 million investment in energy efficiency and solar panels to reduce energy costs. (WILX)

BIOFUELS:
• Residents near a former Nebraska ethanol plant that applied fermented byproduct seeds to nearby soil are still grappling with the toxic consequences. (Grist)
• A new Illinois law extends a tax exemption on certain biodiesel sales that will also gradually increase blend levels that qualify for incentives. (S&P Global)

PIPELINES: An economic impact report shows South Dakota could see $440 million in labor income during construction and $74 million in tax revenue from a proposed carbon capture pipeline. (Argus Leader)

OIL & GAS:
• Kansas regulators will decide today whether a natural gas utility is required to publicly disclose contracts and other documents related to fuel purchases during a February 2021 cold weather snap. (WIBW)
• A blizzard last week caused North Dakota’s oil production to drop by 25% and at least one significant spill and fire in oil fields. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Officials mark the completion of a carbon dioxide pipeline in North Dakota that will help recover more crude oil from older fields. (Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: A Wisconsin editorial board commends state regulators for recently approving a 300 MW solar project with battery storage to boost the state’s clean energy output. (Wisconsin State Journal)

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Andy Balaskovitz

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.