Energy News Roundup: Numerous Great Lakes states grapple with outages and rising rates

Energy News Roundup: Numerous Great Lakes states grapple with outages and rising rates
May 12, 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:


Electricity costs will soar beginning in June in central and southern Illinois, due to inadequate power supplies following coal-fired plant closures.


Late last month, Plainfield-based Duke Energy Indiana filed an application with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission for approval of rate changes for its electric and steam services due to fuel costs. If approved by regulators, the new rates would take effect in July and remain in effect through September.

Indiana utility Northern Indiana Public Service Co. said it will delay retirement of its largest coal-fired power plant by two years because a Commerce Department investigation is leading to supply chain uncertainty for solar projects needed as a replacement energy source.

Indiana’s utilities shut off electricity to Hoosier households nearly 265,000 times over the last two years, according to a new report out last week. That’s the third most of any state across the country, according to the available data.

The study — produced by advocacy groups BailoutWatch and the Center for Biological Diversity — showed that utilities raked in billions in pandemic aid and revenue while disconnecting roughly 3.6 million U.S. households.

Duke Energy has asked the State Supreme Court in both Indiana and South Carolina to reconsider rulings that disallowed recovery of a combined $392 million in coal-ash costs.


The loss of 800 megawatts of carbon-free energy from the nuclear plant along Lake Michigan near South Haven is likely to result in more greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere as the electric sector pivots to natural gas while more solar and wind generation comes online.

The utility is planning a massive expansion of its solar energy capacity by the year 2040. That may require locating as many as 70,000 acres of land, mostly farmland, to site the plants.

The proposal, filed by lead filer As You Sow and cofilers Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters and  Mercy Investment Services, asked DTE to include carbon emissions from stoves, furnaces and other user-end natural gas consumption into its climate targets. The proposal was rejected by a wide margin, with 72% voting no.

Dozens of energy activists gathered to support a new package of bills introduced to increase financial relief for customers during power outages and force more accountability from utilities by state Reps. Abraham Aiyash, D-Hamtramck, and Yousef Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor.


More than 70,000 Xcel Energy customers in the Twin Cities were without power as of about 9 p.m. May 11 as storms with high winds swept through the state.

The lawsuit against Brio Energy and connected companies, their executives and some lenders they worked with follows complaints from dozens of homeowners who said the salespeople used high-pressure tactics to get them to sign contracts.

A collective of organizations is asking Minnesota Power to refrain from burning natural gas to produce electricity at the proposed Nemadji Trail Energy Center, and instead to use wind and solar power. The collective is also asking Minnesota Power to close a biomass plant in Duluth immediately, and to shutter two coal plants in Cohasset, Minn.,–one by 2029 and another by 2030.

A state agency suggests Minnesota Power retire its coal plants even earlier than planned and replace them with natural gas plants, while the state’s attorney general wants the Duluth-based utility company to back out of its planned natural gas plant, arguing it’s not needed anymore and not in the public’s interest to build.

New York:

The legislation Rep. Chris Jacobs is pushing would keep developers from getting federal tax credits if they build wind farms in the Great Lakes.


Nuclear power critics say the legislation could amount to a blank check for private companies researching nuclear reactor technology, while supporters say it would create jobs and bring in federal contracts.

Standard electric generation rates will increase beginning next month based on prices that were set in the latest auction for utilities. Ohio allows consumers to shop for their energy suppliers, but those who don’t are charged a default rate negotiated through the bidding process.

Challengers want FirstEnergy’s utilities to pay up to $1.4 billion for blocking auditors from tracking ratepayer money, and more updates on Ohio’s ongoing utility corruption scandal.

An investigation reveals elevated levels of radioactivity not far from a high school football stadium, and accounts from inspectors point to the contamination’s possible source.


Three of Ontario’s nuclear reactors are near the end of their service lives. With no clean energy plan to replace them, the Ford government will have to fill the gap with natural gas-powered electricity generation, the IESO says.

Major Canadian pension fund Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has agreed to invest up to $1 billion in a new offshore wind business launched by Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd (MQG.AX) to develop projects around the world, the companies told Reuters.

Windsor is losing out on a $2.5-billion plant from LG Chem as the region can’t support the amount of electricity needed for the facility, according to the head of Invest WindsorEssex.

The supply plant, according to Invest Windsor-Essex CEO Stephen MacKenzie, could have brought 1,000 to 1,500 jobs to the region, adding on to the economic growth that the city has seen in recent weeks.


Republican candidates for governor spent less than 15 minutes during recent televised debates talking about energy and environmental issues. Climate change was barely mentioned.


Residential customers with two of the state’s largest utilities may pay an extra $5 to $6 each month on their electric bill next year as part of proposed rate increases tied to the clean energy transition. We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service, owned by WEC Energy Group, submitted applications Thursday to increase electric rates with the state Public Service Commission.

We look at Governor Evers’ new “Clean Energy Plan” for Wisconsin, and contrast with other states’ efforts to produce and consume clean and more efficient energy.

Entrepreneurs and government programs in Wisconsin are connecting with homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and reduce carbon emissions – in Milwaukee, this work connects with efforts to improve community equity.

The Public Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to authorize Alliant to buy or build six solar farms at a cost of about $620 million.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

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

Energy News Roundup: Weatherization money going to states for low-income homes, misinformation derails energy projects


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *