Energy News Roundup: Ontario looks to phase out natural gas, wild rice could stop Line 3, Energy Department invests in cybersecurity

Energy News Roundup: Ontario looks to phase out natural gas, wild rice could stop Line 3, Energy Department invests in cybersecurity
April 22, 2022 Natasha Blakely

Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

Click on the headline to read the full story:


On April 15, 2022, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA, IEPA, or Agency) approved a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for Williamson Energy, LLC Pond Creek Mine No. 1, documents show.


Attorney General Dana Nessel entered into a proposed settlement agreement with Consumers Energy Company in its integrated resource planning case, Case No. U-21090, before the Michigan Public Service Commission.

If approved, it will result in Consumers Energy ending its use of coal by 2025, 15 years earlier than originally planned


In Minnesota, wild rice, and the waters it depends on, are in danger from climate change and the expansion of Line 3, a controversial pipeline operated by a Canadian energy company and fiercely opposed by Indigenous people and environmental activists. The pipeline’s proposed corridor would run directly through wild rice beds and could threaten the environmental health of the whole area.

The city’s Green Career Exploratory Program, launched in the early days of the pandemic, is open to all but emphasizes recruitment of people of color through its partnerships with various community institutions.


An administrative judge for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio once again ordered FirstEnergy Corp. to hand over thousands of documents to a watchdog state agency, partially rebuffing the company’s request for a four-month delay.

The ruling Wednesday caps off a drawn-out fight over records the company has already given to federal regulators for an audit but has fought to withhold from the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, which represents residential ratepayers before the PUCO.

Duke Energy Ohio’s residential natural gas customers should soon see a one-time bill credit of approximately $133, following a settlement between the company and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.

Nonresidential customers will be credited over a 12-month period based on their monthly consumption, according to a release.

The settlement comes as a result of proceedings related to Duke Energy Ohio’s expenses for environmental remediation of manufactured gas plants from 2013 to 2019, and the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

It has been three years since Ohio lawmakers first introduced the power plant bailout legislation that is now at the heart of the largest corruption case in state history.

Since House Bill 6 passed in 2019, an FBI investigation has revealed a $60 million bribery scheme, leading to extensive admissions by FirstEnergy — a utility company central to the scandal — and guilty pleas from three defendants in a federal criminal case.

Beyond that, though, accountability has been slow to come, and HB 6, which also gutted the state’s clean energy standards, remains on the books.


Retiring Ontario’s natural gas-fired power plants would be cheaper than official estimates released last fall, critics say, adding that they believe the government suppressed the publication of modelled scenarios that would have supported closing the carbon-intensive facilities.

The Independent Electricity System Operator published a report in October that concluded that retiring the province’s natural gas plants by 2030 would cause the average homeowner’s monthly electricity bill to spike $100, or 60 per cent.

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Ontario Power Generation announced the partnership Tuesday to help develop small modular reactors to replace some of the coal- and natural gas-fired power generators the utilities plan to completely phase out in the future to achieve a carbon-free power portfolio.


Released Tuesday, the state’s first Clean Energy Plan is meant to serve as a blueprint for meeting his goal of carbon-free electricity generation by 2050 and helping meet the state’s commitment to cutting half of all greenhouse gas emissions by the end of this decade.


The Department of Energy announced on Thursday that the agency is investing $12 million in cybersecurity innovations aimed at protecting critical infrastructure, including the energy sector.

The investment will fund six university-led projects that will focus on the research, development and demonstrations of new cyber technology that will help advance data-related fields such as anomaly detection, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The schools receiving the funding are Florida International University, Iowa State University, New York University, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, University of Illinois in Chicago and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy shift creates opening for ‘world’s largest batteries’

GOP’s energy promises face limits in Pa. governor’s race


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