GE says wind can compete in Midwest without tax credits

OHIO: Members of Ohio’s energy study committee have a history of supporting fossil fuel interests, causing critics to raise questions about the group’s impartiality. (Midwest Energy News)

WISCONSIN: Clean-energy advocates are calling for the Wisconsin Public Service Commission to investigate a list of 2,500 names submitted in support of utilities in two controversial rate cases. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL AND GAS: About 400 familes were evacuated Tuesday night after a natural gas well blowout in Ohio, concerns about a nearby aquifer prompt local officials to reject a drilling permit in Illinois, and an oil industry representative touts conservation work in Michigan. (Columbus Dispatch, Bloomington Pantagraph, MLive)

WIND: GE says wind energy can compete with natural gas in the Midwest without tax credits, but calls for a gradual phase-out. (Greentech Media)

NUCLEAR: Exelon lobbies citizens to write legislators in support of its nuclear plants, and states and environmental groups sue to block plant relicensing. (Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

COAL: Pollution rules mean a construction boom for Michigan power plants. (Lansing State Journal)

POLITICS: A poll finds a majority of South Dakotans support Keystone XL, while a Senate candidate in the state runs on a pro-environment platform. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader, Grist)

ALSO: Why “this can be called the election when the environmental movement lost its virginity.” (Greenwire)

TRANSPORTATION: Preliminary planning for a Detroit-Chicago high speed rail line calls for 10 trips a day at 110 mph, Chicago’s electric buses hit the street, and Indianapolis will add 425 plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to its municipal fleet by 2016. (Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Green Car Congress)

SOLAR: Milwaukee’s Public Museum unveils its new solar wall. (Milwaukee Business Journal)

ANALYSIS: How we can cut carbon emissions and improve grid reliability at the same time. (Forbes)

EPA quietly ends ‘watch list’ for major pollution violators

MICHIGAN: Advocates and officials at a summit yesterday called for a Michigan-focused solution to the Upper Peninsula’s energy crisis. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: A Michigan university seeks ways to avoid a $400,000 annual rate increase from proposed cost-shifting for the Presque Isle power plant. (Sault Ste. Marie Evening News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join top executives from the area’s RTOs, utilities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies at EUCI’s Transmission Expansion in the Midwest, Nov. 4-5 in Indianapolis.***

POLLUTION: The EPA quietly ends its “watch list” for major pollution violators. (SNL)

COAL:
• A study finds a Kentucky utility overpaid $40 million for power from the Prairie State coal plant over a 20-month period. (SNL)
• Murray Energy buys more coal reserves in Illinois. (Pittsburgh Business Times)
• A Michigan utility completes pollution upgrades at a power plant it says is now one of the nation’s cleanest. (FierceEnergy)
• NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. promotes coal in a new video. (Columbus Business First)

WIND: A judge rules that a Minneapolis suburb can’t ban wind turbines. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

SOLAR: Officials say Indianapolis will soon be hope to the largest airport-based solar farm in the world. (Indiana Public Media)

OIL AND GAS:
• Ohio Gov. John Kasich says the current drilling tax is “a total and complete rip-off to the people of this state.” (Columbus Dispatch)
• A pipeline carrying natural gas byproducts catches fire in Ohio. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Frac sand mining begins to take off in Illinois. (LaSalle News Tribune)
• Low oil prices mean Keystone XL could fail the president’s climate test. (InsideClimate News)

EFFICIENCY: Ohio State University proposes outsourcing its energy management to improve efficiency. (Columbus Dispatch)

ELECTRIC CARS: GM moves production of the Chevy Volt drive unit to Michigan, more electric car owners are fueling up with solar power, and Tesla announces a lower-cost lease program. (Associated Press, Wall Street Journal)

GRID: Why Canada wants to keep an open energy border with the U.S., and energy storage is “beyond the tipping point.” (Reuters, Yale E360)

COMMENTARY: “Does the lack of even modest government support mean that renewables, energy efficiency and advanced energy technologies cannot succeed in Ohio? Not necessarily.” (Dayton Business Journal)

New Bakken crude safety standards coming next month

MICHIGAN: As stakeholders gather today in Marquette to discuss the Upper Peninsula’s energy future, the extent to which renewable energy — particularly biomass — plays a role will be a central topic. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Midwest Energy News will be in Marquette today to cover the Upper Peninsula Energy Summit, check for updates tomorrow.

***SPONSORED LINK: Join us at the Wisconsin Energy Institute: “Global Energy Outlook” on Oct. 29 as we bring together experts from around the world to discuss the energy, water and food challenges presented by growing urban environments.***

OIL AND GAS:
• North Dakota plans to release new crude oil safety standards next month. (Reuters)
• Falling oil prices slow oil sands development. (Bloomberg)
• South Dakota’s decision on Keystone XL will be more contentious this time around. (Associated Press)
• Enbridge files to replace a problematic Minnesota pipeline. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• A North Dakota ballot measure would put 5 percent of oil tax revenues into a conservation fund. (Los Angeles Times)
• North Dakota’s natural gas industry begins taking shape. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Tribal officials will investigate reports of a burial ground in the path of a Michigan natural gas pipeline. (MLive)

UTILITIES: A Minnesota co-op is ordered to pay more than $6 million in damages in a stray voltage case, and why American Electric Power’s CEO is expecting “a fascinating 2015.” (Brainerd Dispatch, Columbus Business First)

NUCLEAR: A Minnesota tribe appeals a federal rule allowing on-site nuclear waste storage, and an Ohio nuclear plant is back online after an emergency shutdown a week ago. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

SOLAR: Two developers compete to fill Xcel’s share of Minnesota’s solar standard. (Recharge News)

POLITICS: Climate activist Tom Steyer’s political group targets Senate races in Michigan and Iowa, and why wind energy could upend the Kansas governor’s race. (The Hill, ThinkProgress)

COMMENTARY: Black lawmakers push back against utility solar arguments. (Grist)

Citing U.P. crisis, Michigan officials protest utility merger

MICHIGAN: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder protests the proposed Wisconsin Energy/Intergrys merger, citing a rate crisis facing the Upper Peninsula. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

WIND: In a case of “all-new territory” for distributed generation, an Iowa college drops its plan to build a 5 MW wind project after the local utility says there isn’t enough capacity on a nearby substation. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join top executives from the area’s RTOs, utilities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies at EUCI’s Transmission Expansion in the Midwest, Nov. 4-5 in Indianapolis.***

NUCLEAR: An analysis finds Exelon’s nuclear fleet overall may remain profitable even as the utility seeks support from Illinois lawmakers. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

SOLAR:
• Xcel signs deals for three large solar projects totaling 187 MW in Minnesota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
• Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to sell solar credits to Ohio. (Columbus Business First)
• A study finds peer influence is the most important factor driving solar adoption. (Washington Post)
• Residential solar is “going mainstream” in Michigan. (Detroit Free Press)
• Ohio solar manufacturers sign a letter backing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan. (Public News Service)

POLLUTION: A court decision last week cleared the way for the EPA’s cross-state pollution rule. (Greenwire)

GRID: The PJM Interconnection proposes changes that it says will allow it to continue allowing demand response in capacity auctions. (Energywire)

FRACKING: Southern Illinois residents protest delays in fracking regulations: “our lifestyle is being threatened by environmental activists”; and a Michigan landfill withdraws a request to increase its capacity for radioactive drilling waste. (Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press)

OIL: BNSF considers a surcharge for older tank cars carrying North Dakota crude, and the EPA targets a Missouri tank farm for an inadequate spill plan. (Bloomberg, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

EFFICIENCY: Indiana lawmakers consider a replacement for the state’s efficiency program. (Indiana Public Media)

UTILITIES: How Boulder, Colorado’s fight with Xcel “hung over” clean-energy negotiations in Minneapolis; and utilities confront “a once-in-a-century change to the industry.” (Boulder Daily Camera, Politico)

TRANSPORTATION: Tesla owners in Iowa bypass state dealership rules by offering private test drives to prospective buyers, and Ford announces it will sell an electric bicycle. (WHO-TV, Los Angeles Times)

MEDIA: NPR cuts its environmental coverage to a single reporter. (InsideClimate News)

NEWSMAKER: A Q&A with a former Minnesota legislator who now helps businesses finance clean energy projects. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Renewable energy can help solve the Upper Peninsula’s power crisis. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

Warren Buffet remains bullish on renewable energy

UTILITIES: Why Warren Buffet is investing billions in renewable energy. (Wall Street Journal)

ALSO: Utilities and clean energy advocates find some common ground on distributed generation. (Greentech Media)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Schlumberger, CN Rail & many more at the 2nd Annual Frac Sand Logistics & Market Forecast Summit USA as they find practical solutions for overcoming rail, storage and transloading bottlenecks. Midwest Energy News readers save 15% with code ‘FRSMEN15’ ***

SMART GRID: Illinois nonprofits target “hard to reach populations” to help them understand how they can fully benefit from smart meters. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL: Critics say records show railroads are favoring the oil industry. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

FRACKING: An industry conference discusses earthquakes: “we’re not saying it isn’t related to oil and gas, and we’re not saying it is.” (Columbus Business First)

MICHIGAN: A report finds Michigan’s renewable energy investments, predominantly wind, will top $3.5 billion by next year. (MLive)

OHIO: Despite a “freeze” to the state’s renewable energy standard, FirstEnergy is seeking to buy thousands of renewable energy credits. (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

COAL: North Dakota officials approve the state’s first new coal mine since the 1970s, and Prairie State hires a new CEO(Forum News Service, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

TRANSMISSION: Illinois regulators approve a new transmission line that is expected to cut carbon emissions by 473,000 tons over 15 years by improving access to clean energy. (Platts)

SOLAR: An Illinois school begins work on a $1.8 million solar array. (Peoria Journal Star)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join top executives from the area’s RTOs, utilities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies at EUCI’s Transmission Expansion in the Midwest, Nov. 4-5 in Indianapolis.***

TRANSPORTATION: A poll finds Americans prefer expanding transit over building new roads. (Streetsblog)

COMMENTARY: Utility executives call for an end to wind tax credits, and why “coal is king of corporate welfare in Illinois.” (Forbes, Huffington Post)

Ohio loophole allows toxic fracking chemicals w/o permit

EFFICIENCY: Minnesota leads the Midwest in the latest ACEEE scorecard, while Indiana and Ohio drop in the rankings after lawmakers backtrack on key policies. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Why Wisconsin returned to the top 20 in the ACEEE ranking, a North Dakota group pursues $25 million from the state’s oil revenue trust fund for energy efficiency projects, and the Energy Department considers new standards for air conditioners and dryers. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bismarck Tribune, The Hill)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join us at the Wisconsin Energy Institute: “Global Energy Outlook” on Oct. 29 as we bring together experts from around the world to discuss the energy, water and food challenges presented by growing urban environments.***

FRACKING: A loophole in Ohio law allows drillers to use toxic chemicals without a permit, and researchers find significant methane leakage in shale-producing regions. (Columbus Dispatch, ClimateWire)

NATURAL GAS: Natural gas is projected to surpass coal as the primary fuel source on the PJM Interconnection for the first time next year. (Natural Gas Intelligence)

WIND: A new report says wind could meet 20 percent of global electricity demand by 2030, and the Michigan National Guard will test a Minnesota-made air tunnel wind generator. (Climate Progress, Great Lakes Echo)

SOLAR: Utilities start to break into the solar business. (Reuters)

ELECTRIC CARS: A new Michigan law could make it the most restrictive state in the country against Tesla’s sales model. (MLive)

GRID: The Pentagon pushes for more microgrids on military bases to improve energy security. (Wall Street Journal)

POLITICS: Koch Industries is spending more on lobbying; meanwhile, the Koch Brothers are a popular target for environmental groups’ political ads. (Greenwire, Grist)

ETHANOL: A watchdog group sues the EPA for records, alleging industry influence in a decision to lower the renewable fuel mandate. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY: What would a grid designed for solar look like? (Greentech Media)

3M to offer solar discount as an employee perk

SOLAR: GM plans a 2.2 MW solar array at an Ohio assembly plant, which would be the company’s fifth-largest solar installation. (Youngstown Vindicator)

ALSO: Minnesota-based 3M will offer discounts on solar panels as an employee benefit. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Schlumberger, CN Rail & many more at the 2nd Annual Frac Sand Logistics & Market Forecast Summit USA as they find practical solutions for overcoming rail, storage and transloading bottlenecks. Midwest Energy News readers save 15% with code ‘FRSMEN15’ ***

EFFICIENCY: European passive house standards get a makeover for Midwest climates, and the Department of Energy will pursue new efficiency standards for water heaters and some fluorescent lights. (Midwest Energy News, The Hill)

COAL: Citizen groups in Illinois seek a federal takeover of the state’s mining regulator, and an Illinois county delays a vote on a proposed coal waste storage facility. (SNL, Springfield State Journal-Register)

CARS: Hybrid owners love their cars but still face a stigma on the road; Michigan’s governor signs a bill, supported by GM, that blocks Tesla’s sales model in the state; and Ford drops the price of its electric Focus. (Chicago Tribune, CBS Detroit, MLive, Autoblog)

OIL AND GAS: High pollution levels are found near Ohio drilling sites, a Canadian company considers a new refinery in North Dakota, and an industry gathering gives Ohio officials a look at other shale plays around the country. (Associated Press, Columbus Business First)

POLITICS: Environment and energy issues are playing a major role in midterm campaigns. (New York Times)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: The Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear a dispute over a proposed waste-to-energy plant near Green Bay. (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

NUCLEAR: Allison Macfarlane, chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, is stepping down at the end of the year. (Washington Post)

GRID: Rural co-ops say bigger farm machinery is leading to more accidents with power lines. (Minnesota Public Radio)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join top executives from the area’s RTOs, utilities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies at EUCI’s Transmission Expansion in the Midwest, Nov. 4-5 in Indianapolis.***

TRANSMISSION: A Clean Line Energy Partners executive says she’s “a supporter” of distributed generation, but that it won’t negate the need for utility-scale wind and transmission. (Recharge News)

COMMENTARY: “…one rather despairs in turning to utilities for innovation. But nothing focuses the mind like the threat of bankruptcy.” (Grist)

Ohio business group opposes coal ‘bailout’ plan

OHIO: A coalition of businesses opposes an Ohio utility’s proposal to guarantee prices for its coal plants, saying the plan amounts to “an unfair tax.” (Columbus Business First)

WISCONSIN: A fossil fuel industry group is misrepresenting the wishes of utility customers in filings supporting proposed increases in fixed charges. (Madison Capital Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join us at the Wisconsin Energy Institute: “Global Energy Outlook” on Oct. 29 as we bring together experts from around the world to discuss the energy, water and food challenges presented by growing urban environments.***

GEOTHERMAL: How abandoned copper mines in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula could play a role in the region’s energy future. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: An NREL report says solar prices continue to fall. (Denver Business Journal)

WIND: A Michigan utility settles a lawsuit with 17 landowners over wind farm complaints, terms of the settlement are being kept confidential. (MLive)

OIL AND GAS:
• Falling oil prices lower projections for shale output. (Bloomberg)
• Ohio rules allow wells to be drilled close enough to homes to put them at risk from an explosion. (EnergyWire)
• A leaking wellhead in North Dakota is contained after releasing at least 650 barrels of oil. (Associated Press)
• Michigan residents say a planned natural gas pipeline would disrupt a burial ground. (MLive)
• A Wisconsin frac sand mine is fined $80,000 for discharging stormwater into a creek. (La Crosse Tribune)

POLITICS: In several congressional races, Democratic candidates are sounding like Republicans on climate change. (InsideClimate News)

CLIMATE: Ann Arbor officials move forward on plans to cut the city’s carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050. (MLive)

EFFICIENCY: Michigan International Speedway joins the EPA’s Green Power Partnership, and the Department of Energy says it will not regulate high-intensity lamps. (CBS Detroit, The Hill)

TRANSPORTATION: Records show that few members of the board that oversees transportation and development issues in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area are regular transit users. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

COMMENTARY: How wind energy will push Iowa beyond EPA carbon reduction targets. (NRDC Switchboard)

Records show Ohio parks, forests vulnerable to drilling

OHIO: Records show that thousands of acres of state parks and forests in Ohio could be opened up to mining and drilling. (Columbus Dispatch)

MICHIGAN: Michigan’s U.S. Senators call on federal regulators to delay a rate increase to keep an Upper Peninsula power plant running (more background information here). (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Schlumberger, CN Rail & many more at the 2nd Annual Frac Sand Logistics & Market Forecast Summit USA as they find practical solutions for overcoming rail, storage and transloading bottlenecks. Midwest Energy News readers save 15% with code ‘FRSMEN15’ ***

WIND: An Iowa engineer says switching from steel to concrete is the solution for taller wind turbines, and a bill in Michigan would add wind farms to the state’s Right to Farm Act. (Midwest Energy News, Michigan Capitol Confidential)

WISCONSIN: Recent changes in state law limit the public’s ability to comment on frac sand mining an other developments. (Madison Capital Times)

COAL: A Wisconsin man sues We Energies, alleging health impacts from a Milwaukee-area coal plant; and Midwest power plants continue to face low coal supplies as winter approaches. (Racine Journal Times, Energywire)

SOLAR: SolarCity’s CEO says “there is no cost” to solar power for homeowners, and a Lincoln, Nebraska utility says it will finalize its community solar plans in December. (InsideClimate News, Lincoln Journal Star)

OIL: A wellhead failure in North Dakota leaks hundreds of barrels of oil and brine; as of Friday workers were still trying to contain it. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: The nuclear industry weighs keeping reactors online for as long as 80 years. (New York Times)

BIOFUELS: Biofuel producers look for markets beyond motor fuels. (New York Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join top executives from the area’s RTOs, utilities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies at EUCI’s Transmission Expansion in the Midwest, Nov. 4-5 in Indianapolis.***

EPA: Advocacy and industry groups say renewable energy should play a stronger role in EPA carbon reduction plans. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY: Don’t overestimate the value of energy storage. (Greentech Media)

Ohio regulators confirm in-state renewable requirement dead

PETCOKE: Chicago residents are concerned petcoke is being piled on barges to avoid city regulations, a Coast Guard official says “it’s impossible to tell” how many barges are being used to store the material. (Midwest Energy News)

UTILITIES: After a contentious fight over municipalization, Minneapolis is expected to finalize a historic agreement today with two utilities to cut carbon emissions. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join Schlumberger, CN Rail & many more at the 2nd Annual Frac Sand Logistics & Market Forecast Summit USA as they find practical solutions for overcoming rail, storage and transloading bottlenecks. Midwest Energy News readers save 15% with code ‘FRSMEN15’ ***

OHIO: State regulators confirm that a requirement that power companies get half of their renewable energy from in-state sources was eliminated by SB 310. (Columbus Business First)

FRAC SAND: Preliminary data from Minnesota shows dust from frac sand trucks doesn’t pose a health threat. (InsideClimate News)

WIND: Developers put a Nebraska wind project on hold, and the Minnesota inventor of a bladeless wind turbine plans to test the technology in Hawaii. (Lincoln Journal Star, Pacific Business News)

POLITICS: A Kansas candidate poses a serious challenge to Sen. Pat Roberts, but it’s unclear where he stands on energy issues, and political groups move on from Keystone XL. (Greenwire, Politico)

ETHANOL: Operations begin at a cellulosic biofuel plant in Kansas. (Bloomberg)

ELECTRIC CARS: Michigan lawmakers approve a bill blocking Tesla’s direct-sales model. (Bloomberg)

SOLAR: An Indiana utility files a proposal to expand its voluntary feed-in tariff. (Solar Industry)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join top executives from the area’s RTOs, utilities, transmission developers, and state regulatory agencies at EUCI’s Transmission Expansion in the Midwest, Nov. 4-5 in Indianapolis.***

EFFICIENCY: The Wisconsin Green Building Alliance recognizes the state’s greenest projects. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: Why keeping existing nuclear plants online can help advance renewable energy, and FirstEnergy should embrace the future before seeking “bailouts” for power plants. (Forbes, Crain’s Cleveland Business)