SOLAR: Minnesota regulators unanimously approve plans for a 460 MW solar project to help replace electricity that will be lost when Xcel Energy closes its major Sherco coal plant in 2030. (Star Tribune)

ALSO:
• A Chicago commission approves a developer’s plan to renovate a vacant warehouse on the city’s South Side into dozens of solar-powered apartments. (Chicago Tribune)
• Despite solar supply chain delays, a northern Michigan city remains on track to reach its renewable energy targets. (News-Review)

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The Southern Environmental Law Center—one of the nation’s most powerful environmental defenders, rooted in the South—is hiring an Energy and Climate Communications Manager. This role will oversee regional energy communications, including solar and methane gas issues, to advance climate progress.

UTILITIES: FirstEnergy CEO Steven Strah abruptly retires effective today as the utility completes a required management review as part of an HB 6 settlement, though it is unclear whether the departure is related. (Cleveland.com)

OIL & GAS:
• BP agrees to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit from environmental groups claiming its northwestern Indiana refinery repeatedly emitted dangerous levels of particulate pollution from 2015 to 2018. (Chicago Sun-Times)
• North Dakota oil production dropped 2.5% in July after two months of growth, which state officials attributed to workforce shortages. (Bismarck Tribune)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES:
• General Motors will invest $491 million to upgrade an Indiana manufacturing plant to support electric vehicle production. (Indiana Public Radio)
• Nebraska is set to receive an initial $11 million in federal funding to build electric vehicle charging stations along the I-80 corridor. (World-Herald)

WIND:
• Nuclear missiles housed in underground U.S. military silos have blocked efforts to build a sprawling wind project in Nebraska. (Flatwater Free Press)
• A company operating in Iowa recycles wind turbine blades from across the country to divert them from landfills. (KCRG)

PIPELINES:
• Lawmakers in 24 states have taken up legislation to toughen penalties for pipeline protesters following the Dakota Access pipeline protests in 2016. (Minnesota Reformer)
• Iowa landowners argue in court that a state law allowing pipeline companies to access private property for surveying is unconstitutional. (Iowa Capital Dispatch)

CLIMATE: Congressional Democrats during hearings this week accuse oil companies of slow-walking and overselling the industry’s initiatives to cut emissions. (Inside Climate News)

COAL: Environmental groups estimate that 2 million tons of coal ash could be left behind at a northwestern Indiana coal plant with little oversight, risking a spill into Lake Michigan. (Indianapolis Recorder)

BIOFUELS: Ethanol spot prices swiftly dropped as freight railroad companies and unions reached a tentative labor agreement to avoid a nationwide rail strike. (S&P Global)

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Fresh Energy is hiring
Fresh Energy, a Minnesota-based clean energy nonprofit, is hiring a Digital Communications Associate to help advance Fresh Energy’s policy, program, and fundraising-related work.

GRID: A North Dakota authority begins taking public comment on proposals to spend federal infrastructure funding on bolstering the state’s electric grid over the next five years. (KFYR)

COMMENTARY: A Minnesota environmental advocate writes that recycling metals and diverting them from landfills is a more practical climate solution than permitting a large copper mine in the northern part of the state. (Star Tribune) 

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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.