EPA could release coal ash rules as early as today

COAL: The EPA is expected to release new rules for coal ash disposal as early as today. (Washington Post)

ALSO: Indiana’s consumer advocate says Duke Energy owes ratepayers more than $114 million for costs related to the Edwardsport coal gasification plant. (Bloomington Herald-Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

OHIO: Despite political setbacks, a bipartisan coalition of industry, government and nonprofit groups still sees a bright future for clean energy in Ohio. (Midwest Energy News)

MINNESOTA: A coalition of energy, faith and labor groups will push to increase Minnesota’s renewable energy standard to 40 percent by 2030. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

UTILITIES: Wisconsin regulators reject a request to take more time on a proposed merger between Wisconsin Energy and Integrys Energy Group. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OIL: More than 500 shale drilling rigs may shut down amid low oil prices, which could also soon kick in a $5.3 billion tax break for North Dakota producers; and a North Dakota group seeks an audit of state regulators’ dealings with oil companies. (Houston Chronicle, Reuters, Forum News Service)

PIPELINES: Nebraska’s Supreme Court could issue a pivotal decision on Keystone XL as early as today, Enbridge shuts down a pipeline after a leak in Saskatchewan. (The Hill, Bloomberg)

EPA: Environmental groups challenge the impartiality of a consultant hired by the North American Electric Reliability Corp. to evaluate the Clean Power Plan. (Greenwire)

WIND: The IEA criticizes the U.S. for inconsistency on wind tax credits, and a Minnesota utility further expands its wind portfolio. (Forbes, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

TRANSPORTATION: Power plants in Minnesota and South Dakota are seeing improvements in their coal supplies after rail disruptions this year. (Duluth News Tribune, Platts)

CLIMATE: Readers vote “global warming is a hoax” as PolitiFact’s Lie of the Year. (Tampa Bay Times)

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TECHNOLOGY: A new drilling technique could cut costs for geothermal, and a California company markets a $20,000 home storage system for renewable energy. (GigaOm, Sacramento Business Journal)

COMMENTARY: Michigan can be a “comeback state” on clean energy, and why classifying waste-to-energy as “renewable” is “a curious way to go about it.” (Detroit News, Crain’s Detroit Business)

Is Ohio plan a ‘bailout’ or an ‘important crossroads’?

OHIO: American Electric Power tells regulators that its plan to require the public to support an aging power plant is “an important crossroads for Ohio utility policy.” (Columbus Dispatch)

ALSO: Ohio utility customers will begin seeing a line item on their bills for compliance with state renewable and efficiency standards. (Columbus Business First)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

PETCOKE: Chicago’s health department blasts a petcoke storage company for issuing plans for a storage facility “via press release” and seeking more time to complete it. (Midwest Energy News)

RENEWABLES: A new report says Minnesota could get 50 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2030. (Midwest Energy News)

EPA: A Midwest consortium seeks flexibility for states in implementing the Clean Power Plan, and Ohio challenges the computer model that the agency uses to project reliability. (Midwest Energy News, EnergyWire)

WIND: Congress extends the production tax credit, but only through 2014; and North Dakota regulators approve a 22,000 acre wind farm. (Houston Chronicle, Forum News Service)

FRACKING: Citing health concerns and doubts about economic impact, New York moves to ban fracking. (Associated Press)

UTILITIES: FirstEnergy’s CEO announces he will step down Jan. 1. (Pittsburgh Business Times)

EFFICIENCY: 2014 saw nearly $1 billion in PACE-financed projects, a dramatic increase over the previous year. (Greentech Media)

COAL: More than 200 people attend a hearing on a proposed Illinois coal mine. (Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

FERC: The U.S. Senate confirms Colette Honorable as the new FERC chair. (Power Magazine)

COMMENTARY: Why wind and solar might need less backup than conventional power plants. (NRDC Switchboard)

U.S. to impose strict tariffs on Chinese solar panels

PETCOKE: Advocates say Chicago officials are “being played” by a Koch subsidiary after it offers vague plans for an enclosed petcoke facility on an extended timeline. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: Rural co-ops’ net metering policies vary widely and often do little to encourage adoption of more solar power, and the U.S. imposes tariffs on Chinese panels. (Midwest Energy News, New York Times)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

OHIO: At a Cleveland panel discussion on Ohio’s energy future, a solar installer calls a recent “freeze” of the state’s energy laws “an effort to throw sand in the gears of time.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

TRANSPORTATION: Local officials and the public have little information about the safety of tracks carrying crude oil and other volatile materials. (La Crosse Tribune)

EPA: If coal companies win a challenge to EPA mercury rules, it could undermine their case against the Clean Power Plan. (Greenwire)

ALSO: Michigan officials say carbon regulations would put the state at an economic disadvantage. (Battle Creek Enquirer)

OIL: North Dakota could lose billions in tax revenue if oil prices remain low, developers withdraw a plan for a Bakken pipeline after failing to secure enough shipping deals, and South Dakota officials say they’re unprepared for an oil disaster. (Grand Forks Herald, Houston Chronicle, Rapid City Journal)

FRAC SAND: Wisconsin officials are allowing more frac sand mines to proceed despite acknowledging that now-withdrawn environmental protection rules were inadequate. (Wisconsin State Journal)

NATURAL GAS: About 25 Ohio families have been evacuated from their homes for three days because of an out-of-control leak at a natural gas well. (Columbus Dispatch)

COAL: American Electric Power today will argue the legality of its proposal to require Ohio ratepayers to guarantee income for its power plants. (Columbus Business First)

EFFICIENCY: Indiana lawmakers work on proposals to replace a state efficiency plan repealed earlier this year, and a Michigan utility offers efficiency upgrades for nonprofits. (Indiana Public Media, MLive)

WIND: A 111 MW wind farm is completed in Michigan, a Kansas utility moves forward with wind plans despite questions about the future of the state’s renewable energy standard, and local officials are expected to make a decision on an Illinois wind farm early next year. (MLive, Associated Press, Bloomington Pantagraph)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

COAL ASH: A look ahead at the EPA’s decision on coal ash regulation, which is expected Friday. (Forbes)

COMMENTARY: What journalists are getting wrong about that electric vehicle study. (Green Car Reports)

Minnesota regulators OK solar project that beat natural gas

OHIO: As Ohio utilities seek to require the public to help pay for aging power plants, they are also fighting to keep data that could be used to evaluate those plans under wraps. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: A series of public forums will discuss Ohio’s energy future. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

SOLAR: Among other projects, Minnesota regulators approve a $250 million solar project that notably beat out natural gas on price. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

EPA: Electric co-ops blast proposed EPA carbon rules. (EnergyWire)

OIL: North Dakota officials propose lifting a ban on radioactive waste, Texas oilfield veteran warns Bakken producers to “go into survival mode” as prices fall, and advocates in Minnesota file suit seeking a broader environmental review of a proposed pipeline. (Bismarck Tribune, Bloomberg, Forum News Service)

UTILITIES: A coalition of business and consumer groups wants Wisconsin regulators to take more time on a proposed utility merger. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Minnesota researchers affirm that electric vehicles powered primarily by coal are worse polluters than gasoline cars, echoing earlier findings by the Union of Concerned Scientists; and analysts say electric cars are close to becoming cost-competitive with their gasoline counterparts. (Associated Press, Quartz)

NUCLEAR: The GAO says the NRC’s cost-benefit analysis is flawed; and despite poor economics for current nuclear plants, researchers are developing new technologies they say will be necessary in a carbon-constrained future. (The Hill, New York Times)

TRANSPORTATION: Documents contradict BNSF’s explanations for rail delays that have disrupted shipments of coal and other commodities. (Minnesota Public Radio)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

GREEN ECONOMY: A report projects Iowa will add more than 1,300 clean energy jobs next year. (Des Moines Register)

COMMENTARY: New safety standards for North Dakota crude oil are “pointless.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Republicans back CO2 limits; taxpayers subsidize oil trains

CLIMATE:Global peer pressure” drives an first-of-its-kind agreement among 200 nations to cut emissions. (New York Times)

ALSO: A poll finds a majority of Americans, including half of Republicans, support limits on carbon emissions. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

EFFICIENCY: Michigan lawmakers advance a bill that would extend PACE financing — currently limited to commercial properties — to homeowners. (Midwest Energy News)

TRANSPORTATION: An analysis finds that while railroads reap record profits, taxpayers have paid $84 million for new rail cars to carry crude oil. (Reuters)

EPA: Lawyers prepare for challenges to the Clean Power Plan based on federal vs. state authority, and Illinois lawmakers voice support for carbon regulations. (ClimateWire, Environmental Defense Fund)

SOLAR: A Minnesota town imposes a moratorium on solar farms, Michigan utilities plan community solar projects, and an Indiana utility plans another large solar installation. (Minnesota Watchdog, Crain’s Detroit Business, Crawfordsville Journal Review)

OIL AND GAS: Oil production falls in North Dakota amid low prices, a study predicts tougher rules to prevent earthquakes, and workers lose control of a natural gas well in Ohio. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Columbus Business First, Houston Business Journal)

KEYSTONE XL: Will low oil prices doom Keystone XL? (Politico)

TRANSMISSION: FERC approves a new transmission line to carry Canadian hydropower into Minnesota. (Duluth News Tribune)

WIND: A study finds Nebraska’s grid could support an additional 2,000 megawatts of wind energy. (Lincoln Journal Star)

POLLUTION: Wisconsin environmental groups say state regulators are not complying with federal rules to control pollution. (Wisconsin Public Radio)

COAL: Advocates highlight the economic risks of southern Illinois’ dependence on the oal industry. (Carbondale Southern Illinoisan)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

GEOTHERMAL: An Ohio bakery installs a geothermal heating and cooling system. (Athens News)

COMMENTARY: Recent regulatory decisions are the latest examples of Scott Walker’s ideology getting in the way of job growth in Wisconsin. (Madison Capital-Times)

Low oil prices not expected to slow fracking in Illinois

SOLAR: Community solar is expected to kick into high gear this morning as the state’s largest utility begins accepting applications; some projects have already sold out. (Midwest Energy News)

EFFICIENCY: Advocates say Republican gains in state elections don’t necessarily mean peril for efficiency programs, and a Michigan Habitat for Humanity chapter dedicates a new high-efficiency home. (Midwest Energy News, MLive)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

CLIMATE: Exelon says some industries’ “doomsday predictions” about the impact of EPA carbon rules “are simply not correct.” (Greenwire)

OIL: North Dakota grapples with the “paradox of plenty” — trying to turn a short-term boom into long-term prosperity. (Vox)

ALSO: Why surging oil production won’t necessarily mean more consumption in the U.S. (Bloomberg)

FRACKING: Low oil prices are not expected to slow drilling activity in Illinois. (Carbondale Southern Illinoisan)

COAL: The Sierra Club says it will appeal a state decision allowing the FutureGen project to proceed. (Jacksonville Journal-Courier)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators say workers performing maintenance at a Michigan nuclear plant were inadequately monitored for radiation. (MLive)

ELECTRIC CARS: An Ohio man’s Chevy Volt is the first to hit 200,000 miles, and Lincoln, Nebraska unveils its first public EV charging station. (Inside EVs, Lincoln Journal Star)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

MEDIA: Scientists want journalists to stop using the word “skeptic” to describe climate science deniers. (ClimateProgress)

COMMENTARY: Why wind and solar pose less financial risk than other power projects. (Grist)

Murray: ‘you’re smoking dope’ if you think coal is coming back

SOLAR: How a small-town Kansas bank is helping to lead a solar revolution in a state with few clean-energy incentives. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: One solar company is out as another moves in in Minnesota, and DTE Energy plans to partner with Ann Arbor officials to build a 1 MW solar array at the city’s airport. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, MLive)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

BUDGET: A federal spending deal preserves some keep energy initiatives while trimming others. (Greenwire)

TRANSMISSION: A proposed Wisconsin transmission line faces strong opposition in Amish country. (La Crosse Tribune)

GRID: FERC will hold regional conferences on how EPA carbon rules might impact grid reliability, and Illinois officials approve rate increases for ComEd and Ameren to fund smart grid upgrades. (Greenwire, Chicago Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

COAL:
• Ohio coal magnate Bob Murray says “you’re smoking dope” if you think the industry is coming back. (Bloomberg)
• A Michigan utility says it needs to raise rates $163 million a year to keep coal plants operating. (Platts)
• Minnesota officials say low coal stockpiles leave utilities “at the whim of mother nature.” (Forum News Service)
• A coal fire is contained at a Minnesota plant. (Duluth News Tribune)
• A North Dakota plant is expected to be down for repairs until at least Christmas. (Bismarck Tribune)

FRACKING: A congressman widens his investigation of wastewater practices to include Ohio. (InsideClimate News)

ETHANOL: Kansas’ attorney general seeks a court review of the EPA’s ethanol requirement. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

UTILITIES: A North Dakota co-op is giving money back to its members after seeing a strong sales year. (Bismarck Tribune)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

TECHNOLOGY: Johnson Controls will endow a professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to lead research into energy storage. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COMMENTARY: How journalists helped drive the “War on Coal” narrative. (Media Matter)

North Dakota officials approve safety rules for crude oil

OIL: North Dakota regulators approve a plan requiring producers to strip oil of explosive hydrocarbons before shipping. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

ALSO: Enbridge settles a class-action lawsuit over the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill, workers clean up two spills in North Dakota, and Exxon sees abundant oil supplies well into the future. (MLive, Forum News Service, Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

POLITICS: Despite being closed since 2012, Chicago’s coal plants — along with the city’s petcoke piles — are playing a big role in this year’s municipal elections. (Midwest Energy News)

FRACKING: An Ohio bill that would change disclosure rules for fracking chemicals is stalled in committee (background here), low prices prompt a drilling company to suspend operations in Ohio, and a study finds lower levels of methane emissions from drilling operations. (Columbus Dispatch, Midwest Energy News archive, Columbus Business First, The Hill)

TRANSMISSION: Environmental groups are divided over a proposed Wisconsin transmission line, as opponents criticize state regulators at a public hearing on the project. (Madison Capital Times, La Crosse Tribune)

GRID: A MISO plan aims to better coordinate electricity and natural gas supplies. (EnergyWire)

EFFICIENCY: A study finds distributed generation and efficiency could cost utilities $48 billion a year by 2025. (Houston Chronicle)

WISCONSIN: An EPA official says she is “perplexed” that Wisconsin “does not see economic opportunity” in moving away from coal. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

MICHIGAN: A bill to count burning solid waste as renewable energy in Michigan at one point included petcoke, that provision was removed by an amendment. (Detroit Free Press)

NUCLEAR: Exelon seeks to extend the license of an Illinois nuclear plant through the 2040s. (Chicago Tribune)

WIND: Wind energy continues to grow in coal-dependent North Dakota. (Minot Daily News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join clean energy entrepreneur Jigar Shah, ELPC’s Brad Klein, and Wisconsin businesses, policymakers, advocates, and utilities at the RENEW Wisconsin Energy Summit on Friday, January 9 in Madison. Early bird registration ends Dec. 20! ***

SOLAR: Work begins on a solar array at an Ohio GM plant. (WKBN)

COMMENTARY: Michigan can do better than “all of the above.” (Detroit News)

Analysis: Petroleum exports wiping out U.S. climate gains

CLIMATE: A UN report says adapting to climate change will cost three times as much as previously thought. (The Guardian)

ALSO: An analysis finds exports of petroleum products are wiping out U.S. emissions gains. (Associated Press)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

HYDRO: Could Iowa really get as much energy from hydropower as it does from wind? (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: Another round begins in the U.S.-China solar fight, a Michigan solar plant announces another wave of hiring, and a new report ranks state solar policies. (ClimateWire, MLive, NRDC Switchboard)

OIL AND GAS:
• New safety standards for North Dakota oil are expected to be approved today. (Reuters)
• A short documentary explores the problem of exploding rail cars. (InsideClimate News)
• Ohio’s top producing wells are located in two counties. (Columbus Business First)
• Ohio is seeing a boom in pipeline construction. (Toledo Blade)

WIND: Another study finds no scientific link between wind farms and health claims, and Koch-backed groups push against renewal of the production tax credit. (RenewEconomy, Washington Post)

ETHANOL: Chicago’s city council advances a plan to allow E15 sales in the city. (Chicago Tribune)

EFFICIENCY: Significant energy savings from smart meters are still many years away, and Chicago expands energy-efficiency efforts(New York Times, Chicago Tribune)

NUCLEAR: A decision is expected on a proposed Canadian nuclear waste dump by mid-2015. (Great Lakes Echo)

BIOENERGY: A 1.4 MW biodigester is planned for a Michigan dairy. (MLive)

POLLUTION: The EPA approves Iowa’s plan to reduce particulate pollution in Muscatine. Background information here. (Muscatine Journal, Midwest Energy News archive)

COMMENTARY: An opponent of a Wisconsin transmission line says the state should be focused on becoming “energy independent” instead. (Madison Capital Times)

State AGs team up with industry to fight regulation

POLITICS: A New York Times investigation finds attorneys general in at least a dozen states are teaming up with industry to oppose federal regulations, and receiving millions in campaign contributions at the same time.

CLIMATE: Recently recognized by the White House, Michigan’s Sault Ste. Marie of Chippewa say their climate efforts are a “sacred obligation.” (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: The Midwest Energy Solutions Conference is the largest event of its kind in the region. This event attracts a diverse assemblage of thought leaders from around the nation who share a passion for energy efficiency.***

MICHIGAN: A state lawmaker says a bill to count waste incineration as renewable energy “makes a mockery of this legislature.” (Lansing State Journal)

EPA: The chair of the Kansas House energy committee makes a “scientific comment” denying climate science as grounds for opposing EPA carbon rules. (Topeka Capital-Journal)

OIL AND GAS:
• While shale production is transforming the petroleum economy, scientists warn low oil prices will mean “a dramatic reversal of fortune for climate progress.” (Business Insider, Climate Central)
• An Ohio report finds the state’s gas production continues to surge. (Columbus Business First)
• North Dakota officials reduce a fine for a trucking company that was operating without a license. (Associated Press)
• West Virginia officials OK fracking beneath the Ohio River. (Columbus Dispatch)
• Landowners in the Bakken oil patch form a new association. (Jamestown Sun)

WIND: Neither supporters nor opponents are happy with a proposed short-term extension of the production tax credit, opponents of a Minnesota wind farm say the developer has violated the terms of a state permit, and Michigan legislation would make it harder to file “nuisance” lawsuits against wind farms. (Topeka Capital-Journal, Watchdog Minnesota, Detroit News)

NUCLEAR: A change by the PJM Interconnection will help Exelon’s Illinois nuclear plants, and Republicans seek to ease regulations on the nuclear industry. (Crain’s Chicago Business, The Hill)

COAL: Operators of an Illinois mine plan to expand waste storage, and communities dependent on coal mining confront a future without it. (Springfield State Journal-Register, Associated Press)

RENEWABLES: Why Wisconsin’s Gundersen Health System is pursuing energy independence. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

EFFICIENCY: Wisconsin businesses save money with energy efficiency, and Ford prepares to debut its aluminum-bodied F-150. (La Crosse Tribune, Houston Chronicle)

COMMENTARY: An amended Ohio bill to deal with drilling violators “replaces the hammer with a tattered white flag.” (Youngstown Vindicator)