Report: Walmart not as green as it may appear

GREEN ECONOMY: A new report questions Walmart’s clean-energy credentials, finding the company’s proportion of energy from renewables is actually decreasing. (InsideClimate News)

OHIO: The legislature’s Energy Mandates Study Committee might meet on Monday. Or maybe it won’t. (Columbus Business First)

CLIMATE:
• State officials say Minnesota is not on track to meet federal carbon targets. (Minnesota Public Radio)
• Rural advocates in Minnesota push for approval of the Clean Power Plan. (Public News Service) 
• A study commissioned by Peabody Energy claims carbon rules will increase utility bills by hundreds of dollars in Iowa. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• A poll finds most Americans are willing to pay more to cut carbon emissions. (ClimateProgress)
• NRG Energy announces plans to cut its emissions 90 percent by 2050. (New York Times)

EFFICIENCY: Michigan’s utility regulator hopes to “set an example” by using PACE to finance energy upgrades for its new facility, upgrades at GM’s Flint assembly plant are expected to save $900,000 a year, and a new LED “Edison” bulb can make a popular design trend more efficient. (Midwest Energy News, MLive, Treehugger)

NUCLEAR: An industry-backed program aims to recruit college students into the nuclear field, and a new license doesn’t mean an Ohio nuclear plant expansion is likely in the near future. (Midwest Energy News, Toledo Blade)

OIL:
• BNSF pledges to spend $6 billion to relieve rail congestion. (Omaha World-Herald)
• An oil merger creates a powerful new player in North Dakota. (Reuters)
• Bakken producers push back against proposed conditioning requirements. (Platts)
• The new leader of the Three Affiliated Tribes wants to accelerate the process for a pipeline to alleviate natural gas flaring. (Associated Press)

WIND: Arguing for extension of the production tax credit, Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley urges Congress not to “pull the rug out from under domestic energy producers.” (The Hill)

FRAC SAND: A Minnesota frac sand facility is fined for a second time for pollution violations. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

TECHNOLOGY: Researchers tout electrolysis as a way to soften renewable energy peaks and produce hydrogen for fuel-cell cars. (ClimateWire)

COMMENTARY: Why distributed generation doesn’t eliminate the need for a new Wisconsin transmission line, and if you think Ohio’s failure to release its clean energy jobs report is a coincidence, “you also have no sense of smell.” (Madison Capital Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Energy Dept. finds few takers for ‘clean’ coal loan program

MICHIGAN: Some state officials want to unite Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas into a unified grid. What would it take to pull that off? (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Michigan lawmakers seek to block rate increases to keep the Presque Isle power plant operating. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: A new report says Minnesota is already on track to meet its 10 percent by 2030 solar goal, a new St. Paul ballpark will claim the third largest solar array at a sports facility in the U.S., and Kohl’s is recognized by the EPA for its clean-energy efforts. (Midwest Energy News, Minnesota Public Radio, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

COAL: Eight years after the Energy Department launched a loan guarantee program for “clean” coal projects, no funds have been disbursed, and only two applications are active. (SNL)

EPA: A study finds EPA carbon rules could save the power sector $2 billion by 2020, and an analysis by the PJM Interconnection finds Ohio can meet early carbon benchmarks with power plant retirements that are already planned. (FierceEnergy, Columbus Business First)

FRACKING: Environmental groups in Ohio sue over drilling permits they say were issued illegally. (Columbus Dispatch)

OIL: Enbridge, with a lengthy record of spills, seeks to improve pipeline safety in Minnesota: “It’s not good for business for us to be unsafe or to be perceived to be unsafe.” (Minnesota Public Radio)

ETHANOL: Both the oil and ethanol industries say EPA delays on the renewable fuel mandate are hurting their industries. (Des Moines Register)

EFFICIENCY: A new study finds the cost of energy efficiency is less than half the cost of building new coal plants. (NRDC Switchboard)

ELECTRIC CARS: A group of utilities, including two of Michigan’s largest, commit to spending 5 percent of their fleet budgets on electric vehicles. (Detroit Free Press)

TECHNOLOGY: Why Google stopped spending money on renewable energy R&D, and Wisconsin researchers experiment with fool’s gold as a solar PV material. (Greentech Media, ECN)

COMMENTARY: Carbon pricing is becoming a reality. (Grist)

South Dakota tribe calls Keystone XL ‘an act of war’

COAL: A new report says decades of “beneficial reuse” of coal ash could be contaminating water in southeast Wisconsin and possibly elsewhere in the state. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Local officials approve an expanded coal waste site in Illinois. (Springfield State Journal-Register)

KEYSTONE XL: By a single vote, the U.S. Senate rejects a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, and a leader of the Rosebud Sioux in South Dakota calls the pipeline “an act of war against our people.” (New York Times, Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

SOLAR: A solar group threatens to sue over Wisconsin’s decision on fixed charges, and a Minnesota lawmaker is recognized by the solar industry. (Express Milwaukee, Hibbing Daily Tribune)

WIND: Prospects dim for extension of the production tax credit as Republicans prepare to take control of the Senate. (Bloomberg)

EPA: States face challenges collaborating on EPA carbon rules, and House Republicans vote to add politicians to the EPA’s science advisory board. (ClimateWire, The Hill)

OIL: Shale drillers plan to increase production despite lower oil prices, Chicago is likely unprepared for an oil train disaster, and a frozen valve leads to a leak of hundreds of barrels of brine in North Dakota. (Bloomberg, WLS-TV, Associated Press)

MICHIGAN: How will the energy transition impact Michigan’s manufacturing sector? (Model D Media)

GRID: Indiana’s utility consumer office opposes Duke Energy’s plan for $1.9 billion in grid upgrades. (Associated Press)

TRANSPORTATION: Milwaukee officials alter a proposed streetcar route to avoid conflicts with utility infrastructure. (Milwaukee Business Journal)

COMMENTARY: Why we can’t call coal “clean,” and why a carbon tax may be the best way to advance clean energy. (Al Jazeera America, New York Times)

Why the Keystone XL vote is about politics, not pipelines

KEYSTONE XL: The U.S. Senate is expected to vote today on a bill to push approval of Keystone XL, but doesn’t appear to have a veto-proof majority. (Reuters)

ALSO: Why the vote is more about politics than pipelines. (Grist)

OIL AND GAS:
• A new report raises safety concerns about reversing pipelines. (InsideClimate News)
• Early testing fails to find evidence of water contamination in the Bakken oil patch, but researchers caution it’s too early to measure long-term effects. (Associated Press)
• Amid public backlash, a company withdraws plans for a wastewater injection well near a Michigan park. (Oakland Press)
• A waterless fracking technique gets a trial run in Ohio. (Columbus Business First)
• A major oil company merger raises concerns for smaller drilling operations. (Columbus Business First)
• Minnesota’s governor says more pipelines will be part of the solution to rail congestion. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: Assuming she survives a recount challenge, a South Dakota lawmaker plans to continue her quest for a net metering law in the state; and an Iowa county pursues a third-party solar deal. (Midwest Energy News, Cedar Rapids Gazette)

RENEWABLES: Major solar firm SunEdison enters the wind business with a proposed $2.4 billion acquisition of First Wind. (New York Times)

WIND: Hearings begin on a proposed wind farm in Illinois. (WYZZ)

NUCLEAR: The head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says existing rules are inadequate to deal with decommissioning plants. (New York Times)

CLIMATE: FERC says it’s not responsible for measuring the climate impact of proposed natural gas projects. (Greenwire)

CARS: Hydrogen cars make a comeback, Wisconsin proposes a $50 annual fee on electric cars, and Minnesota advocates push for more diverse fuel sources. (New York Times, Associated Press, Minnesota Daily)

TECHNOLOGY: New nanoscale battery technology could have big implications for energy storage. (National Geographic)

COMMENTARY: The outcome of Illinois’ fracking rules is “a sad object lesson in what happens when you exclude the public from a process that directly affects it.” (NRDC Switchboard)

Amid clean-energy debate, Ohio officials sat on jobs report

OHIO: Amid debate over the state’s energy laws, Ohio officials hid from the public a state-funded report showing 31,000 clean energy jobs in 2012. (Columbus Dispatch)

WISCONSIN: In the second of three cases, Wisconsin regulators approve an increase in fixed charges for We Energies, a decision one solar executive says will “tax rooftop solar companies out of business.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR: Why the community solar business is about to take off in Minnesota, and a global solar company is expanding to Kansas City. (Midwest Energy News, Associated Press)

COAL: Utilities in Minnesota, Missouri and elsewhere are increasingly concerned about coal stockpiles, raising concerns that plants could shut down if coal deliveries are further disrupted. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

ALSO: Illinois officials say it’s unlikely there will be adverse effects from an expanded coal waste site. (Springfield State Journal-Register)

OIL: North Dakota will require oil to be made less volatile before shipping, producers are flaring a smaller percentage of natural gas, and the town of Casselton sees its second oil train derailment in less than a year. (Wall Street Journal, Bismarck Tribune, McClatchy)

KEYSTONE XL: The U.S. House votes to direct approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, the Senate will vote on the measure Tuesday, President Obama is likely to veto. (New York Times, Washington Post)

MEANWHILE: Regardless of what happens in Congress, the pipeline’s fate could ultimately be decided by a Nebraska regulatory commission. (Associated Press)

ETHANOL: A Michigan study credits ethanol with cutting greenhouse gases. (Michigan Radio)

POLLUTION: Michigan manufacturers claim EPA ozone standards will cost the state 83,000 jobs. (MLive)

ELECTRIC CARS: After years of delays, charging stations are rolling out in Chicago. (Chicago Tribune)

NUCLEAR: An Ohio nuclear plant is operating again after shutting down due to a cooling system failure. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

WASTE-TO-ENERGY: State officials cite a Madison sewage plant’s biogas project with 32 air pollution violations. (Wisconsin State Journal)

CLIMATE: GM buys carbon offsets from a North Dakota grassland. (Detroit News)

TRANSMISSION: Advocates and opponents debate the merits of a proposed Wisconsin transmission line. (La Crosse Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Ohio’s “shortsighted” approach to clean energy makes renewal of the wind production tax credit more important. (Toledo Blade)

Former coal executive charged in 2010 mine disaster

COAL: A former coal company executive is charged with four criminal counts for alleged negligence in a 2010 mine disaster that killed 29 workers. (New York Times)

CLIMATE: George Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, Michigan, talks about his city’s effort to reach 100 percent renewable energy by 2020. (Midwest Energy News)

WISCONSIN: Advocates say an analysis of online comments shows widespread public opposition to utility plans to increase fixed charges. (Daily Cardinal)

UTILITIES: Why American Electric Power is focusing more on transmission than generation. (Columbus Dispatch)

OIL AND GAS:
• North Dakota delays a decision on rail car safety. (Bismarck Tribune)
• An Iowa economist says he is “very skeptical” of an industry study claiming $1 billion in economic benefits from a proposed pipeline. (Cedar Rapids Gazette)
• “Oklahoma has become the new California” for earthquake activity. (Omaha World-Herald)
A worker is killed in an explosion at an Ohio drilling site. (Columbus Dispatch)
• A report warns that water is increasingly the limiting factor for whether drilling operations are profitable. (Bloomberg)

NUCLEAR: In a case that could have implications in Illinois, Exelon wins regulatory support to keep a New York nuclear plant operating; and a contractor sues Xcel over disputed charges for work on a Minnesota nuclear plant. (Bloomberg, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

SOLAR: Solar becomes more mainstream in farm country. (Farm & Ranch Guide)

TRANSPORTATION: Michigan lawmakers vote to double the state’s gasoline tax, and Lincoln, Nebraska buys new natural gas-powered buses. (Associated Press, Lincoln Journal Star)

HYDROPOWER: A Minnesota hydro plant is operating again after damage from a 2012 flood. (Forum News Service)

COMMENTARY: A Wisconsin county issues a puzzling declaration about a wind farm, and why power lines are a better deal for Iowans than pipelines. (Green Bay Press-Gazette, Des Moines Register)

Citizens sue to block Illinois fracking regulations

CLIMATE: The U.S.-China climate accord could be a sign that climate change will play a larger role in the 2016 presidential election. (New York Times)

ALSO: Scientists say the deal is a good start but won’t have a major impact on its own, and Sen. James Inhofe has a theory about the agreement. (Associated Press, New Republic)

FRACKING: A citizens’ group in Illinois sues to prevent fracking rules from taking effect. (Chicago Tribune)

TRANSMISSION: The developer of the Clean Line transmission projects says the idea that they would carry coal power is “technically feasible but economically nonsensical.” (EnergyWire)

SOLAR: A report says the solar industry is becoming less transparent about the environmental impacts of its manufacturing processes, an Ohio solar plant is adding 120 workers to meet rising demand, and a new program aims to make solar more affordable in northwest Indiana. (National Geographic, Toledo Blade, Times of Northwest Indiana)

POLITICS: The federal loan program targeted by Republicans because of Solyndra’s bankruptcy is generating a return for taxpayers. (Reuters)

OIL:
• Methods to test the volatility of North Dakota crude oil face further criticism. (Wall Street Journal)
• U.S. shale drillers are in a price war with Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
• Developers of a proposed pipeline claim it will generate nearly $2 billion in economic impact in Iowa and South Dakota. (Sioux City Journal)
• Congress makes a move on Keystone XL. (Associated Press)
• Environmental advocates in Minnesota challenge a plan to increase pipeline capacity without federal review. (Minnesota Public Radio)

UTILITIES: Wisconsin Energy and Integrys work to settle shareholder lawsuits over their proposed merger. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators question FirstEnergy on the safety of an Ohio nuclear plant. (Toledo Blade)

CARS: Tesla opens a Supercharger station in Dayton, and Ford begins production of an aluminum-bodied F150 which is expected to have 20 percent better fuel economy than the current model. (Dayton Business Journal, Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: Sioux Falls gives out energy efficiency kits to homeowners. (Sioux Falls Argus Leader)

COMMENTARY: Michael Levi explains the significance of the U.S.-China climate deal. (Council on Foreign Relations)

China, U.S. reach agreement on greenhouse gas emissions

CLIMATE: China and the U.S. reach a landmark agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions. (New York Times)

COAL: Advocates question job figures being used to support Ohio utilities’ efforts to guarantee revenue for aging coal plants. (Midwest Energy News)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Energy Center of Wisconsin for a free webinar today, Climate Impact and Building Resilience Strategies. Learn how extreme weather events impact the built environment and building energy performance.***

GRID: A Colorado company plans nearly 20 MW of energy storage in Illinois. (Denver Business Journal)

SOLAR:
• A solar executive says Wisconsin rate decisions could cost the state thousands of jobs. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
• A small Illinois town receives a $1 million grant to build a 1 MW solar array. (Moline Dispatch / Rock Island Argus)
• A Michigan church cuts its electric bills 70 percent with new solar panels. (Saline Reporter)
• Why 2015 will be a big year for solar in Illinois. (Greentech Media)

EPA: Fourteen states file a brief in support of EPA carbon rules. (The Hill)

TRANSPORTATION: Some utilities are making it cheaper to drive electric cars. (Huffington Post)

OIL: A fire prompts evacuation of a Minnesota refinery, and advocates warn a Virginia river is at risk from North Dakota oil shipments. (Minnesota Public Radio, Virginia Gazette)

TECHNOLOGY: How an Ohio company benefits from both fracking and wind energy. (Columbus Business First)

TRANSMISSION: American Electric Power increases its budget for Ohio transmission upgrades. (Columbus Business First)

COMMENTARY: Can Republicans really change President Obama’s climate and energy plans? (Forbes)

Illinois coal research center to expand focus on other fuels

SOLAR: Rural electric cooperatives – entities not often seen as being on the cutting edge of clean energy — are increasingly taking on community solar projects at the request of their members. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: In their recent decision allowing an increase in fixed charges, Wisconsin regulators largely embraced utilities’ arguments about fairness. (EnergyWire)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Energy Center of Wisconsin for a free webinar, Climate Impact and Building Resilience Strategies, on Nov. 12. Learn how extreme weather events impact the built environment and building energy performance.***

COAL: The Sierra Club says it will appeal a decision that rejected its challenge to the FutureGen 2.0 project, Peabody Energy is hoping a Republican Congress will mean a “fundamental shift” in EPA carbon rules, and Southern Illinois University’s Coal Research Center may expand its focus to study other fuels. (Jacksonville Journal Courier, St. Louis Business Journal, Carbondale Southern Illinoisan)

WISCONSIN: A recent decision by state regulators sets the stage for Wisconsin’s renewable energy program to shift to loans instead of grants in the coming years. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

OIL AND GAS:
• North Dakota landowners fight what they say is inadequate reclamation of their land following pipeline projects. (Bismarck Tribune)
• Oil production has doubled in Missouri, “but it’s a hard fight to get it.” (Associated Press)
• An annual auction nets $5 million for drilling rights on North Dakota state land. (Bismarck Tribune)
• A drilling company places its bets on natural gas rather than oil. (Columbus Business First)
• The EIA projects increasing natural gas production in Ohio. (Columbus Business First)

CARBON: A study finds three zip codes are responsible for most of Detroit’s carbon emissions. (MLive)

RENEWABLES: Ford will install wind and solar power at four U.S. dealerships, including one in Michigan. (DailyTech)

TRANSMISSION: Missouri regulators begin hearings on a wind energy transmission line. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

COMMENTARY: Veterans say Wisconsin utilities’ rate plans hold back energy independence, the public process on Illinois fracking rules “walked into a smoke-filled room and slammed the door,” and are utilities or states leaders on renewable energy? (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NRDC Switchboard, Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

Wisconsin hospital system declares energy independence

MICHIGAN: Plans are proceeding for a new 34 MW biomass plant on a former Air Force base in the Upper Peninsula, the first tangible project to help resolve the region’s energy crisis. (Midwest Energy News)

OHIO: An Ohio regulator says EPA carbon rules will cost the state billions, and the timeline for the Energy Mandates Study Committee is still a “great unknown.” (Columbus Business First)

***SPONSORED LINK: Join the Energy Center of Wisconsin for a free webinar, Climate Impact and Building Resilience Strategies, on Nov. 12. Learn how extreme weather events impact the built environment and building energy performance.***

EPA: Legal experts examine ways a Republican Congress could undermine the Clean Power Plan. (ClimateWire)

FRAC SAND: A new report finds more than half of Wisconsin frac sand mining operations have broken state laws, manipulated local governments or engaged in “influence peddling and conflicts of interest.” (La Crosse Tribune)

WISCONSIN: Gundersen Health System is expected to announce it has reached its energy independence goal today (more background information here); and Wisconsin regulators extend renewable energy rebates. (La Crosse Tribune, Midwest Energy News, Wisconsin Ag Connection)

EFFICIENCY: Why an Ohio lighting plant is hiring more workers. (Columbus Dispatch)

COAL: Upgrades at a Michigan power plant have dramatically cut emissions. (Lansing State Journal)

TRANSMISSION: American Transmission Company plans to spend $3.9 billion on projects in Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula over the next ten years. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

SOLAR: An Illinois town completes a 312 kW solar installation at its water treatment plant, and an Iowa school district expects its solar panels will save $100,000 a year on energy costs. (Rochelle News-Leader, Associated Press)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Officials in Ann Arbor approve tax breaks for an electric scooter manufacturer. (MLive)

ALSO: BMW says it will likely phase out combustion engines in 10 years, while the chairman of Mercedes says there’s currently no profit in electric cars. (Electric Vehicle News, Gas 2.0) 

COMMENTARY: Why “pipeline fatigue” is bad for North Dakota’s oil industry. (Bismarck Tribune)