POLITICS: Newly revealed text messages from 2019 appear to show top FirstEnergy executives at the time discussing payments to the state’s newly named top utility regulator in exchange for favors. (Ohio Capital Journal)

• Growing local opposition to large transmission projects that move renewable energy could create challenges for a Minnesota law requiring utilities to get 100% of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040. (MPR)
• Federal regulators deny several power companies’ request for a waiver from grid operator MISO’s new seasonal capacity rules, saying the waivers would have harmed generators across MISO’s footprint. (Utility Dive)

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• An Iowa judge rules against landowners seeking to block rezoning for two large-scale solar projects near a decommissioned nuclear plant. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• A Wisconsin company allows residents and businesses to invest in shares of solar projects for as little as $1,000 and receive a 5% annual dividend. (Journal Sentinel)
• Researchers have been collecting data for years at three Minnesota solar farms to determine what kind of pollinator plants promote biodiversity. (MPR)
• An Indiana county advances plans to extend a moratorium on commercial solar projects through the end of the year as local officials continue work on siting regulations. (Star Press)
• A small Indiana solar panel producer relies on former inmates to staff up and expand. (Inside Indiana Business)

• More than 40 Ohio townships have banned wind and solar projects since a 2021 state law permitted local governments to restrict development. (WVXU)
• North Dakota electric cooperatives prepare to apply for millions of dollars in federal funding to build renewable energy projects. (North Dakota News Cooperative)

Long stretches of Minnesota still lack adequate electric vehicle charging options, complicating the state’s effort to increase electric vehicle adoption. (MPR)
• A Minnesota agency is expanding a grant program for school districts to apply for up to $375,000 to buy electric buses. (WCCO)

FINANCE: An Illinois county approves a commercial property assessed clean energy financing program, allowing businesses to pay off clean energy projects over decades through a special assessment tied to the property. (WICS)

• The Biden administration will soon announce the first grant winners of a $1.2 billion program to support facilities that directly remove carbon from the air. (E&E News)
• U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota says a developer failed to properly conduct land surveys for a proposed carbon pipeline, irritating large numbers of landowners in the process. (Argus Leader)

CLIMATE: Minnesota lawmakers this year approved a $100 million program that provides funding for cities’ climate resilience projects. (MinnPost)

BIOFUELS: Iowa and Nebraska file suit against the U.S. EPA, claiming the agency has failed to create a plan to expand year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol. (WOWT)

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BATTERIES: A company prepares to make its first round of hires for a $2.4 billion battery manufacturing plant in Michigan that promises 2,350 jobs, signaling project advancement in the face of ongoing controversy. (Crain’s Detroit Business, subscription)

• A CenterPoint Energy executive in Indiana says customers will start to see bill credits from a securitization program that creates savings by refinancing costs associated with coal plant closures. (Courier & Press)
• A Michigan environmental justice advocate says state lawmakers should pass legislation barring investor-owned utilities from using ratepayer funding on political campaigns. (Bridge)

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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.