Dynegy to buy more power plants; deals total $6 billion

UTILITIES: Dynegy announces plans to buy more than $6 billion in generating capacity, including Duke Energy’s non-regulated Midwest power plants. (Chicago Tribune)

ELECTRIC CARS: Ohio groups promote workplace charging stations to further boost interest in electric cars. (Midwest Energy News)

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FRACKING: A Michigan lawmaker introduces a bill to block radioactive drilling waste from out-of-state. (Detroit Free Press)

PIPELINES:
• Enbridge boosts capacity while avoiding State Department scrutiny by switching oil from one pipeline to another before crossing the border. (Bloomberg)
• Iowa farmers raise concerns about a proposed pipeline across the state. (Des Moines Register)
• A broken pipeline spills a small amount of oil in North Dakota. (UPI)
• Jurors reject a Michigan business owner’s lawsuit over the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill. (Battle Creek Enquirer)
• Wisconsin officials say they are prepared for a pipeline spill. (Channel 3000)

OIL: North Dakota regulators set a date for a hearing on the safety of shipping Bakken oil. (Forum News Service)

SOLAR: Why concentrated solar plants are a minor threat for birds, and lawmakers in several states fight homeowners association restrictions on solar panels. (Bloomberg, Think Progress)

POLLUTION: The EPA says toxic air pollution has dropped dramatically in the U.S. since 1990. (The Hill)

OHIO: A poll finds Ohioans are mostly opposed to utility “bailout” plans for older power plants. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: Sign up now for the Solar Powering Michigan conference, Sept. 12 in Traverse City. Space is limited, so register today! Pre- & post-conference trainings available. Presented by MREA, GLREA and Northwestern Michigan College.***

WIND: Two companies making small wind turbines hope to replicate the success of the solar industry. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY: Why our brains are wired to ignore climate change. (Washington Post)

Milwaukee to announce expansion of solar program

FRACKING: Operators of an Ohio wastewater injection well sue over billboards criticizing the project, in what advocates say is part of a broader pattern of industry quieting opponents in the state. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Interest is growing in an oil-and-gas industry sponsored program for Ohio teachers. (Columbus Business First)

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SOLAR: Michigan researchers develop a transparent solar panel, and Milwaukee’s mayor is expected to announce an expansion of the city’s solar bulk-buy program today. (International Business Times, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OIL: Owners of a Michigan business sue over losses from the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill, Chicago-area mayors say oil trains are causing traffic congestion and raising safety concerns, and United Airlines begins nonstop service from Williston, North Dakota to Houston. (Battle Creek Enquirer, CBS Chicago, Forum News Service)

NATURAL GAS: A California company says it can turn natural gas into gasoline for around $1 a gallon. (San Francisco Chronicle)

KEYSTONE XL: South Dakota groups opposed to the Keystone XL pipeline join forces. (Associated Press)

FRAC SAND: A Wisconsin county’s frac sand mining moratorium expires at the end of the month. (La Crosse Tribune)

POLITICS: A small SuperPAC takes aim at climate apathy in Congress, Tom Steyer backs ethanol, and an industry group’s poll finds broad support for biofuels in Iowa. (InsideClimate News, The Hill, Des Moines Register)

NUCLEAR: Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz announces $67 million in funding for nuclear research and development. (Associated Press)

WIND: North Dakota regulators approve a 150 MW wind farm. (Bismarck Tribune)

UTILITIES: Missouri regulators reject an aluminum smelter’s request for a rate reduction. (St. Louis Business Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Illinois Renewable Energy Association will host the 13th annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair on August 23 and 24 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds, Oregon, Illinois.***

TRANSPORTATION: Do bike-share systems help the climate? (Climate Central)

COMMENTARY: Why Americans and Australians see ownership of solar panels differently. (CleanTechnica)

Illinois residents seek class-action suit over Prairie State

SOLAR: Advocates say a closely watched battle over utility policy in Wisconsin could determine the fate of solar development throughout the region. (Midwest Energy News)

COAL: Residents of an Illinois town are pursuing a class-action lawsuit over rate increases from the Prairie State Energy Campus. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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WIND: Wind energy prices are at all-time lows, according to the Department of Energy; and developers of an Illinois wind farm seek another permit extension. (InsideClimate News, Paxton Record)

TRANSMISSION: An environmental assessment pegs the cost of a proposed Wisconsin at up to $580 million. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

CLIMATE: Latino groups support EPA carbon rules, and Missouri utilities see Kansas wind power as key to meeting carbon targets. (The Hill, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

SECURITY: An internal investigation finds Nuclear Regulatory Commission computers were successfully hacked three times in recent years. (Reuters)

POLLUTION: Traffic on the Ohio River was temporarily shut down Monday after thousands of gallons of diesel were spilled at a Kentucky power plant. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

POLITICS: Microsoft leaves the American Legislative Exchange Council over the group’s opposition to renewable energy. (CNET)

UTILITIES: Anticipating a wave of retirements, Xcel opens a new employee training facility in Minnesota. (KSTP)

***SPONSORED LINK: Sign up now for the Solar Powering Michigan conference, Sept. 12 in Traverse City. Space is limited, so register today! Pre- & post-conference trainings available. Presented by MREA, GLREA and Northwestern Michigan College.***

OHIO: Green Energy Ohio announces its 12th renewable energy tour. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COMMENTARY: Why upholding FERC’s Order 1000 is a win for consumers. (The Energy Collective)

After years of falling prices, solar glut becoming a shortage

SOLAR: After years of oversupply driving down prices, the solar industry now faces a shortage of panels. (Bloomberg)

CLIMATE: Owners of coal and natural gas plants tell Illinois regulators to look elsewhere for opportunities to cut carbon emissions, and Ameren Missouri says it will add 1,200 MW of natural gas capacity to meet EPA targets. (Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

***SPONSORED LINK: Support Solar in Illinois – Purchase a raffle ticket to win a Tesla Model S and Bosch Home Charger from the Illinois Solar Energy Association! Only 2,000 tickets will be sold.***

EFFICIENCY: Four years after PACE financing was approved by Missouri legislators, the first projects are getting underway, and Ohio regulators begin working on new rules to disclose utility efficiency costs to ratepayers. (Midwest Energy News, Columbus Business First)

POLITICS: While still reluctant to speak publicly about it, many Republicans in Congress privately acknowledge climate science. (Bloomberg BNA)

FRACKING: A Michigan landfill accepts radioactive fracking waste rejected by other states, a drilling company takes another shot at striking oil in Ohio, and a federal study finds earthquakes linked to drilling are weaker than natural quakes of the same magnitude. (Detroit Free Press, Youngstown Vindicator, Associated Press)

OIL: Native American activists protest a proposed Minnesota pipeline by riding the route on horseback, and rail is still the dominant means for shipping North Dakota oil despite hundreds of miles of new pipeline. (Minnesota Public Radio, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

KEYSTONE XL: Neil Young and Willie Nelson plan a concert in rural Nebraska to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. (Omaha World-Herald)

WIND: A new study finds courts are broadly rejecting health claims by wind farm opponents; and despite a boom-and-bust cycle, Siemens still sees long-term potential at its Kansas manufacturing facility. (Renew Economy, Topeka Capital-Journal)

COAL: Delays at the FutureGen project in Illinois highlight the challenges of “clean coal.” (Seattle Times)

TRANSMISSION: A new transmission line connects markets in Minnesota and North Dakota. (UPI)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Illinois Renewable Energy Association will host the 13th annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair on August 23 and 24 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds, Oregon, Illinois.***

TRANSPORTATION: Ohio transit agencies test buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells. (Government Technology)

COMMENTARY: Why utilities should ease their grip on distributed generation. (Greentech Media)

Minnesota dairy farm prevails in transmission dispute

TRANSMISSION: Owners of a Minnesota organic dairy farm prevail in their dispute with transmission developers over the state’s “buy the farm” law, and a federal court upholds FERC’s regional grid-planning process(Minneapolis Star Tribune, Reuters)

COAL: Developers of the FutureGen coal plant say a Sierra Club permit dispute could derail the project, a coal plant near Indianapolis will be converted to natural gas, and opponents of an Illinois coal mine seek a state hearing on the project. (EnergyWire, Indianapolis Star, Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette)

***SPONSORED LINK: Midwest Energy Policy Conference 2014 — Get the early-bird discount now for the Midwest Energy Policy Conference on Sep. 30-Oct. 1 in St. Louis!***

SOLAR: A surge in solar power is anticipated in Minnesota and Iowa, and center-pivot installers take an interest in an Iowa farmer’s solar-powered irrigation system. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Sioux City Journal)

CLIMATE: The Illinois Commerce Commission is holding public hearings on how to reduce the state’s carbon emissions. (Associated Press)

ETHANOL: While a proposed ordinance requiring E15 to be sold at most Chicago gas stations is stalled, the boating industry isn’t backing down. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL & GAS: Two cases before the Ohio Supreme Court could have a major impact on mineral rights in the state, and new testing at Alberta’s oil sands shows higher levels of air pollution. (Columbus Business First, Edmonton Journal)

TRANSPORTATION: A Wisconsin firm is among the recipients of a new round of federal funding, netting $5 million to develop technology for more efficient vehicles. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

GREEN ECONOMY: Wind and solar installations could be in the future for Michigan International Raceway as the facility seeks to reduce its environmental impact. (MLive)

***SPONSORED LINK: Sign up now for the Solar Powering Michigan conference, Sept. 12 in Traverse City. Space is limited, so register today! Pre- & post-conference trainings available. Presented by MREA, GLREA and Northwestern Michigan College.***

WIND: An Indiana utility announces a 15-year deal to buy power from an Illinois wind farm. (McClatchy-Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Why other states shouldn’t follow Ohio’s lead on renewable energy policy. (Boston Globe)

Exelon fights to keep its nuclear plants profitable

SOLAR: A streamlined permitting process is helping speed up solar development in Chicago. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: A Wisconsin conservative is pushing back against Republican resistance to solar power. (ClimateWire)

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NUCLEAR: The Chicago Tribune takes a closer look at Exelon’s political fight to keep its nuclear plants profitable.

GRID: A new report says many retiring nuclear and coal plants may not need to be replaced, FERC says it is “on the job” to ensure reliability amid tougher pollution rules, and will new PJM capacity market rules be a handout to fossil fuels(Renew Grid, Greenwire, Greentech Media)

CLIMATE: A new study says manmade pollution is to blame for more than two-thirds of recent glacial melt. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: Top Integrys executives will net more than $34 million in compensation in a proposed buyout by Wisconsin Energy, and FirstEnergy Solutions is cutting jobs in Ohio. (Crain’s Chicago Business, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

COAL: While still a small share of overall U.S. consumption, coastal power plants are finding it cheaper to import coal from overseas than from the Illinois Basin and other U.S. regions. (Wall Street Journal)

TRANSPORTATION: The Department of Energy announces $55 million in funding to improve vehicle efficiency and electric vehicle technology. (The Hill)

***SPONSORED LINK: Sign up now for the Solar Powering Michigan conference, Sept. 12 in Traverse City. Space is limited, so register today! Pre- & post-conference trainings available. Presented by MREA, GLREA and Northwestern Michigan College.***

EFFICIENCY: Why Opower is “really excited” about EPA carbon rules. (National Journal)

COMMENTARY: Fracking’s threat to drinking water is getting little EPA scrutiny. (MinnPost)

While fighting carbon policies, co-ops embrace renewables

OHIO: FirstEnergy says a proposed deal to support its aging power plants will be a windfall for ratepayers, but won’t release information that could shed light on that claim. Critics, meanwhile, continue to criticize the proposal as a “bailout.” (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: A watchdog group says Gov. Kasich’s office is evading records requests related to S.B. 310, and an Ohio steel mill pays a $227,000 fine for falling short of renewable energy targets. (Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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UTILITIES: While rural co-ops generally aren’t embracing efforts to cut carbon emissions, many are building renewable energy projects anyway; securities filings outline details of a proposed Wisconsin Energy-Integrys merger; and a survey finds utilities see distributed generation as both a threat and an opportunity. (ClimateWire, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Greentech Media)

FRACKING: A new report says drillers have used thousands of gallons of diesel fuel in fracking operations without obtaining necessary federal permits, and anti-fracking protesters disrupt a meeting of state Democrats in Illinois. (Los Angeles Times, Quad-City Times)

SOLAR: Ford and DTE Energy plan a 1 MW solar array at the automaker’s Detroit heaquarters, and owners of a landmark Chicago building raise $600,000 for a solar project. (Associated Press, DNAinfo)

TRANSMISSION: Opponents pack a hearing on a proposed Clean Line transmission project in Missouri. (EnergyWire)

COAL: Amid concerns over rail congestion, BNSF pledges to ensure Midwest power plants have enough coal to continue operating. (La Cross Tribune)

OIL: A North Dakota commission recommends $1 billion in new spending for roads and bridges in the Oil Patch. (Forum News Service)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: A Wisconsin tribe asks a judge to throw out a lawsuit related to its proposed waste-to-energy plant in Green Bay. (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Illinois Renewable Energy Association will host the 13th annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair on August 23 and 24 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds, Oregon, Illinois.***

CLIMATE: Michigan-based Kellogg Co. announces plans to cut carbon emissions, and Jimmy Carter says “nutcases” are preventing action on climate change. (Battle Creek Enquirer, The Hill)

COMMENTARY: Why a recent report on Keystone XL emissions is probably wrong, and do revolving doors really save energy? (Council on Foreign Relations, Vox)

Despite recent growth, wind faces uncertainty in Congress

WIND: Despite an increase in construction activity, the wind industry is again facing uncertainty in Congress. (Greenwire)

UTILITIES: A Q&A with former regulator Ron Lehr, who says his home state of Colorado “has shown that renewables can beat the hell out of fossil fuels on price and why we need to move away from using them.” (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Midwest Energy Policy Conference 2014 — Get the early-bird discount now for the Midwest Energy Policy Conference on Sep. 30-Oct. 1 in St. Louis!***

FRACKING: A new study finds fracking is taking place at shallower depths — and closer to groundwater — than previously thought. (Los Angeles Times)

NATURAL GAS: Utica Shale production has increased tenfold since 2012, and a $1.75 billion pipeline is planned to connect Ohio natural gas operations to the Gulf Coast. (Columbus Business First, Columbus Dispatch)

COAL: Peabody Energy’s CEO says he’s not worried about pollution rules because coal “always wins out.” (Financial Review)

OIL: Crews contain a 270-barrel oil spill in North Dakota. (Associated Press)

MEDIA: Journalists and watchdog groups say the EPA is preventing its scientists from speaking freely to the press. (Greenwire)

BIOFUEL: The EPA approves a Wisconsin-produced “drop-in” biofuel as a gasoline substitute. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR: Construction begins on a new solar manufacturing facility in Michigan. (MLive)

HYDRO: A groundbreaking ceremony will be held today for a new 50 MW hydroelectric project in Iowa. (Radio Iowa)

***SPONSORED LINK: Sign up now for the Solar Powering Michigan conference, Sept. 12 in Traverse City. Space is limited, so register today! Pre- & post-conference trainings available. Presented by MREA, GLREA and Northwestern Michigan College.***

TRANSPORTATION: A Wisconsin woman is attracting attention with a solar-electric hybrid bike that gets the equivalent of 1,800 miles per gallon. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: Ohio takes a big risk with its energy freeze, and does clean energy make economic sense for Minnesota? (Cleveland Plain Dealer, MinnPost)

IRS relaxes tax credit rules for renewable energy projects

SOLAR: While Michigan’s big utilities take it slow on solar, the municipal utility in Lansing is planning the largest solar project in the state. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: The IRS makes it easier for renewable energy projects to qualify for tax credits. (Wall Street Journal)

***SPONSORED LINK: Support Solar in Illinois – Purchase a raffle ticket to win a Tesla Model S and Bosch Home Charger from the Illinois Solar Energy Association! Only 2,000 tickets will be sold.***

POLITICS: North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp says “my job is a sales job for coal,” but “with many of my [Democratic] colleagues, that is a big lift.” (Greenwire)

OIL & GAS:
• After two years, a $1.5 million fine for pollution in North Dakota is still unpaid. (Associated Press)
• Minnesota officials meet to discuss oil train safety. (Forum News Service)
• A GAO report says the feds aren’t doing enough to protect groundwater near fracking sites. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A Nebraska Supreme Court decision on Keystone XL likely won’t be released until 2015. (Reuters)
• An Ohio State University Extension program helps shale boom communities avoid going bust. (Farm and Dairy)

WIND: More than 14,000 MW of new wind projects were under construction at midyear. (Transmission & Distribution World)

UTILITIES: Wisconsin Energy and Integrys begin filing applications for their proposed merger. (SNL)

FRAC SAND: Rail traffic is causing Amtrak delays in Wisconsin. (Madison Capital Times)

COAL ASH: Environmental groups call for increased water testing around an Indiana coal ash site. (Indiana Public Media)

CLIMATE: Scientists say algae blooms like the one that contaminated Toledo’s water supply will become more common as the climate warms. (Columbus Dispatch)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Illinois Renewable Energy Association will host the 13th annual Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair on August 23 and 24 at the Ogle County Fairgrounds, Oregon, Illinois.***

MEDIA: A study finds climate contrarians are overrepresented in media coverage. (InsideClimate News)

COMMENTARY: Why the time is right for a cleantech revolution in the Midwest. (Energy Foundry)

Study finds Keystone XL carbon emissions underestimated

KEYSTONE XL: A new study says the State Department may have underestimated the carbon impact of the Keystone XL pipeline by a factor of four. (Los Angeles Times)

BIOENERGY: Despite a utility’s plan to buy electricity from four biodigesters, Michigan still lags behind other Midwest states in development of the technology. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Midwest Energy Policy Conference 2014 — Get the early-bird discount now for the Midwest Energy Policy Conference on Sep. 30-Oct. 1 in St. Louis!***

PETCOKE: Chicago issues a cease-and-desist order to a company for storing petroleum coke without proper permits. (Times of Northwest Indiana)

OHIO: Utilities in Ohio push back against deregulation. (Columbus Dispatch)

NUCLEAR: Proposed EPA carbon restrictions are so far not generating much new interest in nuclear power among utilities. (Greenwire)

NATURAL GAS: Why residents of a Chicago suburb are attacking their city officials over a proposed power plant. (Chicago Tribune)

OIL: North Dakota may require producers to treat crude oil to make it less volatile before shipping by rail, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel raises concerns about oil trains in the city. (Wall Street Journal, Associated Press)

FRACKING: A judge overturns a Colorado town’s voter-approved fracking ban. (The Coloradoan)

TRANSMISSION: A ruling by federal regulators could reduce the profit Wisconsin utilities receive from their stakes in American Transmission Co. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR: The Sierra Club criticizes a Missouri utility’s plan to increase costs for solar customers, and a Nebraska utility’s crowd-funded solar project has so far only raised $573. (Springfield News-Leader, Lincoln Journal Star)

TRANSPORTATION: Researchers say more flights will cancel out efficiency gains made in air transportation. (Climate Central)

***SPONSORED LINK: Sign up now for the Solar Powering Michigan conference, Sept. 12 in Traverse City. Space is limited, so register today! Pre- & post-conference trainings available. Presented by MREA, GLREA and Northwestern Michigan College.***

UTILITIES: Utilities in states where marijuana has been legalized deal with high energy demand from the budding industry. (Energywire)

COMMENTARY: What we can learn from Germany’s solar experience. (Greentech Media)