Coal exports ‘single biggest flaw in U.S. climate policy’

COAL: Environmental and labor advocates demand more transparency from Dynegy over the future of its Illinois coal plants. (Midwest Energy News)

ALSO: Coal exports are “the single biggest flaw in U.S. climate policy.” (Associated Press)

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UTILITIES: Wisconsin utilities get pushback from advocates who say proposed rate plan changes will stifle solar development, We Energies drops its objection to allowing pro-solar groups to intervene in its rate case, and Wal-Mart says its American Electric Power bill is too complicated because of an “array of multiple riders.” (Wisconsin State Journal, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Columbus Business First)

SOLAR: University of Minnesota grad students release an interactive map that can provide an instant solar analysis for any address in the state. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

OHIO: Clean energy advocates regroup after two major legislative setbacks. (Toledo Blade)

EPA: American Electric Power says proposed EPA carbon rules are “not credible” and threaten reliability. (Columbus Dispatch)

OIL: Records show 50 oil trains per week pass through Minnesota, and construction of a new North Dakota refinery nears completion. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Associated Press)

NUCLEAR: Modular construction techniques are failing to cut costs in new nuclear plants, and an Ohio county has a major stake in the nuclear industry’s future. (Associated Press, Columbus Dispatch)

TECHNOLOGY: Why Iowa State University’s solar-powered car was pulled over by an undercover cop in Wisconsin. (WHO-TV)

COMMENTARY: Ohio’s governor and legislature “need to clean up the mess they’ve created” with the state’s energy policy, and are Iowa utilities “quietly working to undermine development of solar power“? (Toledo Blade, Des Moines Register)

Michigan AG raises concerns about Great Lakes pipeline

PIPELINES: Michigan’s attorney general says an oil pipeline running beneath the Straits of Mackinac doesn’t comply with state regulations and must have additional supports. (MLive)

ALSO: TransCanada proposes a new natural gas pipeline between Ohio and Michigan, and a Minnesota congressman wants a proposed pipeline routed around ecologically sensitive areas. (Columbus Business First, Forum News Service)

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MICHIGAN: Michigan’s “godfather” of wind energy, Rich Vander Veen, discusses his move into solar and the state’s renewable energy future. (Midwest Energy News)

COAL:
• A Michigan utility plans to shut down two coal units. (News-Herald)
• Coal companies’ financial struggles worsen. (Bloomberg)
• Labor officials face a backlog of thousands of black-lung disease cases. (National Journal)
• Inspectors issue more than 200 safety citations at 11 U.S. coal mines. (Charleston State Journal)

PETCOKE: A company storing petroleum coke in Chicago threatens to sue unless the city relaxes its new rules. (Chicago Tribune)

FRACKING: A court rejects a Colorado town’s fracking ban, an industry group wants Illinois to move faster on drilling regulations, and oil field workers downplay safety concerns. (InsideClimate News, Associated Press, Carbondale Southern)

NUCLEAR: A new report says U.S. nuclear plants are inadequately prepared for disasters, and neighbors of Michigan’s Fermi 2 plant express a range of opinions about relicensing the facility. (Los Angeles Times, Toledo Blade)

ETHANOL: The biofuel industry says it shouldn’t be drawn into rail safety discussions over crude oil; and Minnesota Sen. Al Franken says the EPA will likely propose a smaller cut to the renewable fuel standard. (Reuters, Associated Press)

GRID: A new transmission line and substation are expected to improve reliability in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (Transmission and Distribution World)

WIND: A forum in Minnesota discusses eagle safety around wind farms, and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he supports phasing out the state’s renewable energy standard. (Minneapolis Star Tribune, Associated Press)

SOLAR: Toledo’s port authority will buy back more than $600,000 in bonds issued for a failed solar company, and a Minneapolis restaurant adds a solar array partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign. (Toledo Blade, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal)

EFFICIENCY: Cook County, Illinois approves an ordinance to improve efficiency in public buildings. (Associated Press)

ELECTRIC CARS: General Motors is planning a new electric car with a 200-mile range that could see production as soon as 2016. (The Truth About Cars)

COMMENTARY: Could a minimum bill resolve utilities net-metering concerns? (Greentech Media)

States opposing EPA carbon rules may have most to gain

EPA: A study finds some of the states most opposed to EPA carbon rules would see the greatest economic gain from them, Minnesota supporters rally in favor of the regulations, and the agency prepares for a series of public hearings on the rules. (New York Times, Minnesota Public Radio, The Hill)

UTILITIES: A new rate structure will reward Chicago utility customers who use less energy. (Chicago Tribune)

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ETHANOL: New technology is helping ethanol producers squeeze more fuel out of the same amount of corn. (Midwest Energy News)

OIL AND GAS:
• A proposed federal rule would give shippers two years to upgrade tank cars used to haul crude oil. (Greenwire)
• Why the oil industry is trying to influence North Dakota’s agriculture commission race. (Reuters)
• Enbridge proposes a new crude oil terminal in Illinois to relieve pipeline congestion. (Reuters)
• A judge rejects an effort to stop drilling in Michigan. (MLive)
• Ohio’s fracking “sweet spot” remains elusive. (Columbus Business First)

SOLAR: An Indiana utility plans 16 MW of new solar capacity. (SmartMeters)

WIND: In a case involving wind purchase agreements, South Dakota regulators reject a Wisconsin company’s effort to challenge Basin Electric’s status as a cooperative. (Rapid City Journal)

COAL: Advocates push for coal plant closures in Indiana and Illinois. (Associated Press, Peoria Journal Star)

ELECTRIC CARS: Why electric vehicles present a growth opportunity for utilities; a report finds utilities in 14 states are already adopting policies to encourage EVs. (Greentech Media, SolarEnergy.net)

COMMENTARY: How Iowa’s third-party solar ruling will encourage investment. (Des Moines Register)

Court rules Illinois can require purchases from FutureGen

COAL: A court rules that Illinois regulators can require consumers to purchase electricity from the FutureGen 2.0 plant, a decision one critic likens to “forcing you to buy a car you don’t want.” (Chicago Tribune)

OHIO: Despite a freeze of state requirements, all but one of Ohio’s major utilities say they plan to continue their clean-energy programs. (Columbus Dispatch)

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EFFICIENCY: An analysis of four Minnesota co-ops finds “behavior modification” programs are working to save energy. (Midwest Energy News)

SOLAR: A new solar manufacturing plant is planned in Michigan, and Lansing’s utility unveils an expanded solar array. (MLive, Lansing State Journal)

OIL AND GAS: An oil train derailment forces evacuations in Wisconsin, a fire at a North Dakota drilling supply business sends flames 500 feet into the air, and an Ohio college prepares to launch a new job-training facility. (Reuters, Los Angeles Times, Columbus Business First)

CLIMATE: A Pentagon official says climate change affects “the full range of Department activities.” (The Hill)

EPA: A coalition of industry groups says the EPA’s carbon rule “is simply not workable.” (The Hill)

GRID: Basin Electric plans to join the Southwest Power Pool. (Electric Co-op Today)

NUCLEAR: Federal regulators say a security supervisor at a Michigan nuclear plant “willfully violated” safety rules in a 2012 incident. (MLive)

COAL ASH: Missouri’s Supreme Court will review a case that is part of a challenge to a proposed coal ash landfill. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

WIND: A Wisconsin farmer says he isn’t being fairly compensated by a utility for energy produced by his wind turbine, state regulators disagree. (TMJ4)

ETHANOL: Senators from Iowa and Minnesota are pushing for a federal investigation into allegations that oil companies are restricting sales of ethanol at service stations. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

TRANSPORTATION: A Minnesota report finds that a mileage tax may be too complicated to implement. (MinnPost)

COMMENTARY: New research suggests battery prices will continue to fall rapidly. (The Conversation)

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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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