Company held back information in Ohio fracking spill

MICHIGAN: A bipartisan group of state lawmakers proposes a package of “energy freedom” bills, designed to remove barriers to small renewable energy projects. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: The director of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality says “everything is on the table” as the state figures out how to meet EPA carbon targets. (Second Wave Media)

***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.***

FRACKING: Records show a drilling company waited five days before disclosing to state and federal officials what chemicals were involved in a June 28 spill into an Ohio creek. (Columbus Dispatch)

OIL & GAS:
A surge in natural gas benefits Ohio industries. (Columbus CEO)
A deep dive into how the oil boom has impacted North Dakota’s economy and politics. (InsideClimate News)
The company responsible for a Kansas pipeline spill has faced $270,000 in fines for problems elsewhere. (Associated Press)
Minnesota regulators will study proposed changes to an oil sands pipeline route. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

CLIMATE: A poll finds bipartisan support for a carbon tax, provided it is used to fund renewable energy development. (Bloomberg)

CARBON CAPTURE: While pilot projects get off the ground, the future of carbon capture in the U.S. remains unclear. (New York Times)

SOLAR: While Ohio’s renewable energy freeze makes future projects unlikely, a new 2.1 megawatt solar array on a former Toledo brownfield site will be dedicated today; and why the “duck chart” has utilities crying “fowl,” and what can be done about it. (Toledo Blade, CleanTechnica)

POLITICS: A watchdog group wants to know more about Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry, solar power enters the fray in Iowa’s gubernatorial race, and a Michigan congressional candidate makes climate change a central issue in her campaign. (Toledo Blade, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Climate Progress)

BIOENERGY: A study finds crop residue can play a significant role in energy production, and four farms are selected for biodigesters to provide energy to a Michigan utility. (Des Moines Register, Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: New air-conditioning technology will cut energy use at Sioux City schools. (Sioux City Journal)

GRID: A Wisconsin researcher hopes to build one of the largest microgrids in the U.S. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MEDIA: An analysis finds Sunday talk shows are devoting more airtime to climate change. (The Hill)

COMMENTARY: Why cutting carbon emissions will lower utility bills, not raise them. (Forbes)

Neighbors of Michigan pipeline have a new concern

CLIMATE: A Q&A with conservative climate advocate Bob Inglis, who explains why he thinks China will go along with a U.S. carbon tax. (Midwest Energy News)

GRID: Experts raise concerns that a court decision striking down FERC demand-response rules could impact reliability. (EnergyWire)

***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!***

WIND: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues its first eagle “take” permit — a five-year agreement with a California wind farm. (Associated Press)

PIPELINES: Neighbors of a Michigan oil pipeline say they were caught off guard by plans to build a major natural gas pipeline along the same route. (InsideClimate News)

RENEWABLES: A survey finds strong support for renewable energy among business leaders. (Greentech Media)

COAL: Federal inspectors issue 172 citations for safety violations at U.S. mines in May, including coal mines in Ohio and Illinois. (Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Former security guards at a Michigan nuclear plant say they were fired in retaliation for raising safety concerns. (MLive)

TRANSMISSION: Some Wisconsin legislators are calling for additional study of a proposed transmission line. (Wisconsin Ag Connection)

BIOFUELS: A CBO report predicts higher fuel prices from the Renewable Fuel Standard, but little impact on food costs. (The Hill)

TECHNOLOGY: Why the Dakotas are becoming a hot spot for clean-tech entrepreneurs. (Prairie Business Magazine)

COMMENTARY: Why cheap natural gas hasn’t stopped the shift to renewable energy, and Wisconsin “is paying an economic price” for turning its back on clean energy policies. (Reuters, Wisconsin Rapids Tribune)

Wisconsin regulators say renewable costs are minimal

EFFICIENCY: An Iowa college that wants to cut its energy consumption with a combined heat and power project says its utility’s rate policies are holding it back. (Midwest Energy News)

WISCONSIN: Regulators say complying with the state’s renewable energy standard caused a slight increase in utility rates in recent years. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

***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.***

COAL: The EPA agrees to study whether Minnesota’s largest coal plant is impacting haze levels at Voyageurs National Park. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

CLIMATE: President Obama describes recent carbon rule proposals as “first steps” to combat climate change. (Washington Post)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators say a operators of a Michigan nuclear plant have failed to address concerns about the facility’s safety culture. (MLive)

OIL AND GAS:
• An Obama administration decision opens the door for U.S. crude oil exports. (Wall Street Journal)
• North Dakota regulators sign off on a pipeline to ship oil into Minnesota and Wisconsin. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Michigan’s attorney general files additional complaints over Chesapeake Energy’s land-leasing practices. (Detroit Free Press)
• North Dakota discloses information about oil train shipments. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: States with heavy drilling activity confront earthquake risks. (Associated Press)

FRAC SAND: Wisconsin regulators approve a new natural gas pipeline to serve frac sand mining operations. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SMART GRID: A Michigan utility begins installing sensors to help reduce power outages. (Detroit Free Press)

UTILITIES: Chicago ratepayers will pay more this summer under the city’s bulk purchase program than they would have with ComEd. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

SOLAR: A Wisconsin co-op formally unveils the state’s first community solar garden. (LaCrosse Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Why carbon rules could provide a lifeline to nuclear plants. (Forbes)

Reports: EPA rules to have minimal impact on coal industry

SOLAR: While a Michigan utility says cost concerns are preventing it from expanding its solar program, a draft report from state regulators says it could do so without noticeably affecting electric rates. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: GM will add solar arrays to two facilities in Michigan, and a lawsuit seeks to preserve Missouri’s solar rebate program. (Automotive News, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

***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!***

EPA: Monday’s Supreme Court ruling shows that EPA carbon regulations have so far been resilient to legal challenges. (Greenwire)

COAL:
• A report finds U.S. coal demand will fall only 8 percent under EPA carbon rules. (SNL)
• Another analysis says demand for Illinois Basin coal will increase 42 percent by 2020. (Platts)
• The Prairie State plant in Illinois has a new safety department following a May accident that left one unit offline for a month. (Associated Press)
• Backers of a St. Louis anti-coal ballot initiative will appeal a judge’s decision removing it from the ballot. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
• What coal executives think about climate science. (SNL)

UTILITIES: The proposed merger of Wisconsin Energy and Integrys lacks the regulatory red flags that have scuttled similar deals in the past. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OIL AND GAS:
• North Dakota seeks to double its pipeline capacity over the next two years. (Reuters)
• Nebraska landowners challenge Keystone XL in court. (Bloomberg)
• The U.S. House passes a bill to eliminate the need for a presidential permit for cross-border pipelines. (The Hill)
• Records show as many as 27 oil trains per week passing through Cook County, Illinois. (Associated Press)
• Iowa plans to alert the public about oil trains. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

TECHNOLOGY: Illinois announces a $4.6 million fund to help clean-energy startups. (Chicago Tribune)

ELECTRIC CARS: Minnesota is among the top ten states for electric vehicle ownership, and Illinois EV owners will drive across the state to quell range anxiety. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chicago Tribune)

BIOFUELS: Minnesota will become the first state to require a 10 percent biodiesel blend. (Minnesota Farm Guide)

***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.***

WIND: How snowstorms may help Minnesota researchers improve wind farm efficiency. (Science 2.0)

COMMENTARY: Why climate rules won’t bring down Ohio’s economy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

EPA largely vindicated in Supreme Court decision

EPA: While critical of the agency, a Supreme Court decision yesterday upheld the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases. (Washington Post)

CLIMATE: A new bipartisan report highlights the economic risks from climate change, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors unanimously adopts a resolution encouraging natural solutions to climate impacts. (New York Times, Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: What will the next 35 years of efficiency innovation look like? Join the Center for Energy and Environment on June 24 for our 35th Anniversary Technology Forum, featuring TED-style talks and a keynote by ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel.***

UTILITIES: An Illinois consumer group will investigate Wisconsin Energy’s proposed buyout of Inegrys; a similar proposal in 1995 involving Northern States Power collapsed amid monopoly concerns. (Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COAL: Ohio State University researchers will use a $2.5 million federal grant to design a scaled-up version of a prototype coal plant that captures 90 percent of its carbon emissions. (Crain’s Cleveland Business)

DIVESTMENT: The University of Dayton says it will cut off its investments in fossil fuels. (Dayton Daily News)

EFFICIENCY: The U.S. House passes bills to improve energy efficiency in schools and federal buildings. (The Hill)

NATURAL GAS: A pipeline rupture in Kansas alarms nearby residents as crops and trees begin to wither after being sprayed with an oily substance. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: Complicated solar leasing arrangements can make it harder to sell a home, and an Illinois church installs solar panels. (Bloomberg, Daily Illini)

SMART GRID: How a three-person Indiana startup landed a $3 million military smart grid contract. (Indianapolis Star)

COMMENTARY: Hank Paulson, who was Treasury secretary under President George W. Bush, says “we must not lose sight of the profound economic risks of doing nothing” on climate change. (New York Times)

Two Wisconsin utilities to combine in major acquisition

UTILITIES: A $9.1 billion acquisition by Wisconsin Energy Corp. will combine We Energies with Wisconsin Public Service and other Midwest utilities. (Associated Press)

ALSO: Consumers Energy gets approval to drop renewable energy surcharges, Exelon seeks a path out of its economic struggles, and MISO’s president says he’s “never seen this much change converging at one time.” (MLive, Crain’s Chicago Business, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

***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!***

WIND: Developers of an Ohio offshore wind energy project say it will proceed despite losing out last month on key federal funding. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: Critics say a Madison utility’s plan to increase service charges could put a chill on solar development, a Minnesota county approves a 10 MW solar farm, and Iowa lawmakers say support for solar is growing in the state’s legislature. (Madison Capital Times, St. Cloud Times, Quad-City Times)

EPA: Minnesota utilities balk at what they see as a disproportionate burden for the state under proposed EPA carbon rules. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

POLITICS: Michigan Rep. Fred Upton says EPA rules could “force states to ration energy,” and an Ohio Republican says the EPA is “nationalizing” the energy sector. (The Hill, Toledo Blade)

FRACKING: Additional drilling is planned at the site of an Ohio oil spill, and drilling operations continue to encroach on North Dakota’s Theodore Roosevelt National Park. (Columbus Dispatch, Associated Press)

COAL: Illinois officials seek the public’s help in mapping long-shuttered coal mines. (Associated Press)

TECHNOLOGY: Argonne National Laboratory receives a $2 million grant for fuel cell research. (Chicago Tribune)

***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.***

REVIEW: The Great Lakes Echo reviews our ebook, Closing the Cloud Factories, “a story deep, broad and filled with rich personalities involved in struggles over power – electrical and political.”

COMMENTARY: Why wind and solar are key to a low-carbon future. (Greentech Media)

EPA: Cutting pollution doesn’t need to mean higher rates

EPA: At a MISO gathering in St. Louis, EPA officials and others explain why cutting power plant pollution doesn’t necessarily mean higher rates. (EnergyWire)

EFFICIENCY: How combined heat and power is helping Indiana’s steel mills save money, and the University of Cincinnati is saving $9 million a year on energy costs. (Midwest Energy News, Forbes)

***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!***

COAL: DTE Electric in Michigan plans to retire one-third of its coal fleet, and the utility serving Omaha plans to shut down three coal-fired units in the city by 2016. (Platts, Omaha World-Herald)

FRACKING: Authors delay release of a report on use of diesel in fracking operations, and a new study finds abandoned wells could be a major source of methane. (Bismarck Tribune, Climate Central)

SOLAR: Community solar gardens catch on throughout the U.S., and an Iowa tour will highlight ten solar installations in the state. (New York Times, Des Moines Register)

WIND: A Wisconsin company that remanufactures gearboxes for wind turbines is building a new facility. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

TRANSMISSION: Developers of the Rock Island Clean Line will add a cost of living increase to annual payments for landowners. (Emmetsburg News)

OHIO: Clean energy advocates are “back being the underdog.” (Columbus Dispatch)

UTILITIES: A report ranks Wisconsin Energy Corp. among the top U.S. companies that are “great at avoiding taxes,” but notes that customers benefit from the savings. (Milwaukee Business 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.***

TRANSPORTATION: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spars with Milwaukee’s mayor over a freeway expansion plan, and Harley-Davidson reveals its prototype electric motorcycle. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Associated Press)

COMMENTARY: Why EPA carbon rules won’t actually accomplish much — at least at first. (Time)

Wildlife advocates sue over wind farm ‘take’ permits

WIND: Industry experts say Ohio legislators have essentially put a stop to new wind farms in the state with little debate and no public input. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Wildlife advocates sue to block a rule extending eagle “take” permits, and a group forms to oppose a South Dakota community wind farm. (Associated Press, Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

***SPONSORED LINK: What will the next 35 years of efficiency innovation look like? Join the Center for Energy and Environment on June 24 for our 35th Anniversary Technology Forum, featuring TED-style talks and a keynote by ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel.***

EPA:
• A poll finds two-thirds of Americans support EPA carbon rules. (Wall Street Journal)
• Carbon regulations could lead to an expansion of wind energy in North Dakota. (Associated Press)
• Republican former EPA administrators testify in support of the proposed rules. (InsideClimate News)
• Murray Energy sues the EPA, claiming an “illegal attempt” to “impose irrational and destructive cap-and-tax mandates.” (The Hill)

FRACKING: An environmental group says Ohio Gov. John Kasich misled the public about plans to promote fracking in state parks, and a report finds drilling companies are still using diesel fuel in fracking fluid despite industry claims to the contrary. (Columbus Dispatch, Bismarck Tribune)

NATURAL GAS: A new pipeline will begin shipping gas from Ohio to Indiana and Illinois this week. (Columbus Business First)

OIL: Great Lakes mayors call for tougher oversight of oil shipments. (Associated Press)

OHIO: The Democratic candidate for governor discusses the political impacts of Ohio’s reversal on clean energy mandates. (Salon)

ELECTRIC CARS: GM says Chevy Volt owners have passed half a billion electric miles, with the cars remaining in electric mode 63 percent of the time on average. (Gas2)

SOLAR: Why Elon Musk is betting big on solar. (Greentech Media)

COMMENTARY: Why distributed generation won’t eliminate the need for transmission lines. (Forbes)

North Dakota oil production tops 1 million barrels per day

OIL: Production in North Dakota tops 1 million barrels per day, but state officials expect production to plateau in 2017. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

ALSO: An analysis finds oil-train crashes have increased dramatically in the past five years. (Politico)

***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!***

CLIMATE: After months of study, two Minnesota agencies recommend regulators use federal carbon cost estimates in utility planning rather than revise the state’s figure. (EnergyWire)

EPA: In Chicago, Gina McCarthy says EPA carbon rules are designed to help struggling nuclear plants, and describes proposed targets as “very modest.” (Chicago Tribune, Crain’s Chicago Business)

SOLAR: A report projects more than half of U.S. homebuilders will offer solar panels as an option by 2016. (ClimateWire)

ELECTRIC CARS: A state lawmaker says an Indianapolis utility should not be allowed to raise rates to cover costs of a proposed electric car-sharing program. (Indianapolis Star)

PETCOKE: U.S. petroleum coke exports are soaring amid cheaper natural gas and tougher pollution rules. (Reuters)

KEYSTONE XL: A soon-to-expire permit in South Dakota could open a new front in the Keystone XL pipeline fight, and Canada approves an alternative pipeline to British Columbia. (InsideClimate News, New York Times)

UTILITIES: A new paper compares utilities to the streetcar business, warning that diversification of services is key to survival; and a Wisconsin environmental group says the state’s energy mix has “too many eggs in one basket.” (Forbes, Public News Service)

EFFICIENCY: Minnesota cities share energy data to find new ways to improve efficiency. (Minnesota Public Radio)

ETHANOL: A threat to the Renewable Fuel Standard unites political rivals in Iowa. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)

COAL ASH: Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signs a bill allowing expanded use of coal ash. (Associated Press)

***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.***

TRANSPORTATION: A new report finds a growing number of walkable areas in American cities, declaring an “end of sprawl” in some places. (ClimateWire)

COMMENTARY: Why ignoring climate change is no longer a viable political strategy for Republicans. (Bloomberg View)

Ohio governor: Energy law freeze a ‘victory’ for renewables

OHIO: Gov. John Kasich says SB 310, which freezes the state’s clean-energy standards, is “a victory for those that care about renewables.” (WCPN)

ALSO: Renewable energy supporters say state Sen. Bill Seitz is “spiking the ball” with a letter claiming they would have been better off under a bill he proposed. (Columbus Business First)

***SPONSORED LINK: What will the next 35 years of efficiency innovation look like? Join the Center for Energy and Environment on June 24 for our 35th Anniversary Technology Forum, featuring TED-style talks and a keynote by ACEEE Executive Director Steve Nadel.***

SOLAR: As battery prices fall, solar entrepreneurs are starting to return to storage as a key component of their business. (Greentech Media)

EFFICIENCY: Cable TV boxes are becoming the second-largest energy user in many homes after air conditioning. (Los Angeles Times)

FRACKING: Ohio landowners lose their appeal in a leasing dispute with Chesapeake energy, and anti-fracking protesters rally in southern Illinois. (Columbus Business First, Carbondale Southern)

TRANSMISSION: Farmers question the need for a planned Wisconsin transmission line: “What good is it for us, if it’s going somewhere else?” (The Country Today)

KANSAS: A Republican lawmaker says he was pressured by Koch Industries to vote for a bill to repeal the state’s renewable energy standard. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

COAL: A hearing is set for a challenge to an Illinois mining permit, and the nation’s oldest coal plants are “an aging fleet of clunkers.” (Carbondale Southern, Washington Post)

OIL: Experts say a State Department analysis on oil-train safety is “totally meaningless.” (McClatchy)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: A Milwaukee-based hotel chain is installing Tesla charging stations, and a low-speed electric taxi will shuttle visitors around Madison. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Channel 3000)

FRAC SAND: An appeals court rejects a challenge to a Minnesota frac sand mine. (Minnesota Public Radio)

COMMENTARY: Ohio’s clean energy laws put the state “ahead of the game” on reducing carbon emissions. (NRDC Switchboard)