So far, no one is happy with Illinois fracking regulations

FRACKING: So far, neither the drilling industry nor opponents are happy with newly released Illinois fracking regulations. (Chicago Tribune)

ALSO: An Ohio well fire exposes weaknesses in the state’s emergency response network, a new natural gas processing plant will be built in Ohio after all, and a study finds workers at fracking sites may be exposed to unsafe levels of benzene. (Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Business First, NPR)

***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 bipartisan survey finds broad support for solar power as utilities resist its spread, and a U.S. solar company seeks steep tariffs against Chinese imports. (Midwest Energy News, New York Times)

CLIMATE: China plans to roll out its carbon trading market in 2016, and an Iowa lawmaker sees a “groundswell” of support building for climate action. (Reuters, Midwest Energy News)

POLITICS: Controversy over petroleum coke piles in Detroit could influence a Michigan Senate race. (Politico)

PIPELINES: A Michigan task force begins reviewing the safety of the state’s pipeline network, and a pipeline project facing opposition in Iowa is flying under the radar in other states. (Associated Press, Forum News Service)

POLICY: A new IEA report says policy uncertainty is slowing the growth of renewable energy. (Houston Chronicle)

WIND: As wind turbines go up in rural Indiana, “the public doesn’t appear to be complaining about them“; and why wind turbines at VA hospitals — including one in Minnesota — remain idle. (Muncie Star Press, St. Cloud Times)

UTILITIES: Two Wisconsin utilities form a joint venture to potentially buy power plants in the state. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

GRID: Duke Energy plans $1.9 billion worth of grid upgrades in Indiana. (Charlotte Business Journal)

FRAC SAND: How three Iowa counties are working together to limit frac sand mining. (IowaWatch)

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GREEN ECONOMY: An Iowa community college offers hands-on training in solar technology. (Radio Iowa)

COMMENTARY: Wisconsin utilities should take the lead on solar power instead of fighting it. (Racine Journal Times)

Minnesota regulators approve oil sands pipeline expansion

NOTE TO READERS: Midwest Energy News will be taking a break for Labor Day. The email digest will return on Tuesday, September 2.

PIPELINES: Minnesota regulators approve an oil sands pipeline expansion, and Enbridge could face a fine of up to $86 million for the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, InsideClimate News)

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COAL: A study finds existing coal plants will emit more than 300 billion tons of CO2 in their lifespans. (Climate Central)

ALSO: Duke Energy plans to close an Ohio coal plant early, utilities turn to trucks and barges to ship coal amid congested railways, and producers of a new reality TV show are looking for unemployed coal miners. (Charlotte Business Journal, Reuters, Columbus Business First)

SOLAR: In Minnesota and elsewhere, churches turn to solar power and other measures to draw attention to climate change. (Midwest Energy News)

SMART GRID: American Electric Power seeks permission to charge Ohio ratepayers $31.80 per month if they refuse to install a smart meter. (Columbus Dispatch)

POLLUTION: Saltwater spills related to drilling operations are sterilizing farmland in North Dakota. (Inside Energy)

POLITICS: Upset over delayed fracking regulations, oil industry donors are backing Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn’s Republican challenger. (Carbondale Southern Illinoisan)

NATURAL GAS: A North Dakota utility seeks a site for a new 600 MW natural gas power plant. (Bismarck Tribune)

GREEN ECONOMY: A new survey ranks Michigan third in the nation for clean-energy jobs. (Crain’s Detroit Business)

EFFICIENCY: The marquee at a landmark Ann Arbor theater is converted to LEDs. (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.***

UTILITIES: A new online tool will help Chicago utility customers find the best deal for electricity. (Chicago Tribune)

COMMENTARY: Why China is not an excuse for U.S. inaction on climate change. (Washington Post)

Illinois fracking rules expected to be released tomorrow

FRACKING: Highly anticipated rules governing fracking will be submitted to the Illinois legislature on Friday. (Chicago Tribune)

GRID: Illinois is on track to be the first state to formalize who owns consumers’ utility data and how it should be released. (Midwest Energy News)

***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.***

OIL: An explosion at BP’s Whiting refinery alarms neighbors and injures one worker, but the impact on production is expected to be minimal; and an ethanol group opposes a proposed pipeline through Iowa. (Times of Northwest Indiana, Reuters, Des Moines Register)

POLITICS: A Michigan Democrat is making climate change a central issue in his run for U.S. Senate. (Politico)

POLLUTION: The EPA says minority communities will benefit most from carbon rules, researchers say more study is needed on whether fracking is connected to birth defects, and a new report says breathing chemicals from the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill is not expected to cause long-term harm. (Bloomberg, MLive)

COAL: Despite the coal industry’s decline, miners are reluctant to pursue other options. (Washington Post)

NUCLEAR: A Michigan congressman will announce a plan to oppose a Canadian nuclear waste facility while aboard a schooner on Lake Huron. (MLive)

TRANSPORTATION: Why natural gas-powered trucks aren’t catching on as fast as backers had hoped. (Wall Street Journal)

ILLINOIS: A Chicago suburb begins reopening its city hall after it was closed because of alleged threats over a proposed power plant. (CBS Chicago)

TRANSMISSION: Ohio regulators approve a new route for a transmission line that bypasses a historic conservation site. (Toledo Blade)

***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 closer look reveals the AP’s story about bird deaths at solar plants may have been overhyped. (Breaking Energy)

COMMENTARY: Why “energy freedom” will be good for Michigan consumers. (Detroit News)

National Guard base plans Minnesota’s largest solar array

CLIMATE: President Obama plans to sidestep the Senate with a “politically binding” international climate agreement, and a draft UN report warns of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” from climate change in coming decades. (New York Times)

SOLAR: The Minnesota National Guard announces plans for a 10 MW solar array — the largest in the state — that will also help a utility meet a new state solar mandate. (Forum News Service)

***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!***

NUCLEAR: Xcel Energy defends having ratepayers cover massive cost overruns for upgrades to a Minnesota nuclear plant, the NRC finalizes a rule allowing ongoing storage of nuclear waste at power plant sites, and why a Michigan nuclear plant turned out to be a financial gamble. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Greenwire, Kalamazoo Gazette)

EPA: Attorneys general from 13 states say the EPA violated the law in finalizing a proposed carbon rule. (International Business Times)

WIND: Ohio regulators approve a new wind farm while two other projects are granted extensions, and a wind farm currently under construction will help a Michigan utility meet the state’s renewable energy standard by the end of this year. (Columbus Business First, Farmers’ Advance)

POLLUTION: Wisconsin’s DNR denies a pollution exemption for a coal plant, and cleanup of a diesel spill from a power plant into the Ohio River is nearly complete. (WXPR, Columbus Dispatch)

OIL: North Dakota regulators will add three new pipeline inspectors. (Associated Press)

FRACKING: A Michigan city council will discuss a proposed fracking ban tonight. (Detroit Free Press)

EFFICIENCY: A Michigan community college expects to save around $60,000 a year with a new combined heating, power and cooling system. (MLive)

HYDRO: A Wisconsin dam will mark 100 years of operation in September. (Sauk Prairie Eagle)

***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: General Motors implements bike-sharing to cut down on car traffic at its sprawling tech campus. (CBS Detroit)

COMMENTARY: Failure to act on climate change will leave Wisconsin “in very vulnerable economic position.” (Green Bay Press-Gazette)

Health benefits may outweigh costs of cutting carbon

CLIMATE: An MIT study predicts health benefits will significantly offset — or even exceed — the costs of greenhouse gas reductions, and the GAO rejects Republican concerns about how the social cost of carbon estimate was calculated. (Greenwire, The Hill)

PIPELINES: A recent ruling denying federal review of the nearly-completed Flanagan South project is an example of a trend toward fast-tracking pipelines, and pipeline protesters lock themselves to a truck in Michigan. (Midwest Energy News, 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.***

GRID: The PJM Interconnection warns that a “rapid transition” from coal could raise the risk of blackouts, particularly during harsh winters. (Columbus Business First)

FRACKING: “Gathering lines” for drilling operations pose risks to homeowners with little government oversight, and Michigan’s governor orders a review of state standards for disposal of radioactive drilling waste. (NBC News, Associated Press)

FRAC SAND: Minnesota officials will require an environmental review for a proposed frac sand shipping operation. (Winona Daily News)

POLLUTION: A court rejects a Kansas town’s effort to require BP to do further cleanup work at a refinery site, and Duke Energy now says 9,000 gallons of diesel were released into the Ohio River from a power plant last week. (Topeka Capital-Journal, Cincinnati Business Courier)

TRANSPORTATION: Grain shipments are backlogged as oil traffic dominates Midwest rail lines. (New York Times)

SOLAR: A new Indiana solar farm begins producing power. (Associated Press)

EFFICIENCY: Kalamazoo County, Michigan considers PACE financing. (WMUK)

***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.***

SMART GRID: 3M makes a $5 million investment in a company that makes smart grid technology. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

COMMENTARY: Which kills more birds, renewable energy or fossil fuels? (Climate Progress)

Interest in community solar is growing in Minnesota

TRANSMISSION: In a recent ruling on Minnesota’s Buy the Farm law, “perception is greater than reality” on the impact of transmission lines to agricultural operations. (Midwest Energy News)

PIPELINES: Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources says state regulators should “strongly consider” alternative routes for a proposed oil pipeline, and Keystone XL weighs heavily in Nebraska’s gubernatorial race. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Omaha World-Herald)

***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 Colorado solar company sets up shop in Minnesota, amid growing interest in community solar in the state. (Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Rochester Post-Bulletin)

COAL: At a gathering in Wyoming, coal industry executives discuss their future, and abandoned coal mines cause a highway to sag in Ohio. (Wyoming Business Report, Columbus Dispatch)

NUCLEAR: The Kalamazoo Gazette examines the safety record of the Palisades nuclear plant in Michigan.

ELECTRIC CARS: Tesla and GM race to produce the first mass-market electric vehicle. (Quartz)

NATURAL GAS: Ameren Illinois launches a $400 million natural gas system upgrade. (Springfield State Journal-Register)

UTILITIES: Residential customers of We Energies could see rates go up 5 percent under a proposed plan. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

PROPANE: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker urges residents to being filing now for propane assistance. (Associated Press)

GRID: FERC’s new chair discusses the challenges facing energy markets. (EnergyWire)

***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.***

GEOTHERMAL: Along with wind and solar, geothermal energy is a growing part of the energy mix. (Forbes)

COMMENTARY: FirstEnergy needs to disclose its efficiency data, and why Bill Gates is wrong about clean energy. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, Greentech Media)

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)

***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 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)

***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.***

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)

***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: 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)