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Energy News Roundup: Line 3 protests, renewable energy efforts growing

Energy News Roundup: Line 3 protests, renewable energy efforts growing
September 23, 2022 Kathy Johnson

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:

 

Illinois

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that funding from the Infrastructure law will allow the Land of Lincoln to plug, cap and reclaim 20% of its orphaned oil and gas wells in rural communities throughout the state.

Illinois lawmakers are proposing Chicago’s first offshore wind farm, touting it as an opportunity to bring jobs to the predominantly Black and Latino South Side.

An Illinois consumer advocacy group releases an online buyer’s guide for people considering buying an electric vehicle.

BP agrees to pay $2.75 million to settle a lawsuit brought by environmental groups that accused the Whiting refinery in northwestern Indiana of repeatedly violating the U.S. Clean Air Act by emitting dangerous levels of particulate pollution from 2015 to 2018.

 

Indiana

Federal regulators fine a division of Peabody Energy $96,000 after an Indiana coal mine violated safety standards by continuing to drill despite high methane levels, risking “a catastrophic explosion.”

Climate and clean air advocates deliver 2,500 petitions to AES Indiana calling on the utility to fully retire its Petersburg coal plant which is one of the largest polluters in the state.

Indiana is preparing to install 100 electric vehicle charging stations, mostly at interstate exits, using the Infrastructure law and Volkswagen settlement funding.

The University of Notre Dame dedicated a hydroelectric facility, which will generate nearly 7% of the campus’ electricity needs. The plant is located along the St. Joseph River in downtown South Bend, Indiana. The 2.5-megawatt facility is expected to offset 9,700 tons of carbon dioxide a year for Notre Dame.

Environmental groups estimate that 2 million tons of coal ash could be left behind at a northwestern Indiana coal plant with little oversight, risking a spill into Lake Michigan.

 

Michigan

A Michigan startup launches a rental service for low-speed, solar-powered boats meant to increase accessibility to water resources.

A Detroit-area transportation coalition receives a $52.2 million federal grant to bolster mobility initiatives and supply chain planning as the region faces increased competition in electric and autonomous vehicles. The Detroit Regional Partnership Foundation was one of 21 awardees under the $1 billion Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

Comcast recently entered into agreements with Consumers Energy and DTE Energy to purchase wind and solar energy for its cable operations in Michigan. Together, the agreements will allow Comcast to power half of its Michigan operations with carbon-free energy, including Grand Rapids, Grandville, Wyoming, Comstock Park, Belding and Muskegon.

Michigan’s attorney general appeals a judge’s decision to keep the state’s challenge to the Line 5 pipeline in federal court.

The owner of a Michigan nuclear plant applies for a federal grant to restart the 800 MW facility, which has been closed since May. In addition to securing funding, the plant would also need power purchase agreements, fuel, a third-party operator and hundreds of workers before it could restart.

Michigan ranks among the top states for power outages in recent years as extreme weather, growing demand and aging infrastructure strain the power grid.

Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, is seeing cost savings from a recently completed solar project that powers a water filtration and delivery plant along Lake Michigan.

 

Minnesota

Protestors say local prosecutors are ‘overcharging’ in an effort to deter exercise of free speech rights. Among them are two people charged with felony attempted assisted suicide for locking themselves to each other inside a pipe and refusing to come out despite warnings about heat stroke and lack of oxygen.

Protesters in Hubbard County, Minnesota were using a private driveway — not a county trail — to gather in opposition to the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline last year, a judge has ruled, concluding that the county was wrong to block their way.

A Minnesota nonprofit that recently received $100,000 in funding from Google helps connect ratepayers with utility clean energy programs.

Minneapolis, where Target is headquartered, becomes the third U.S. city to pass an emissions-free shipping resolution that encourages carbon neutrality in shipping among corporate importers.

 

Ohio

Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, Ohio is taking 127 years of experience making welders and motors and channeling it toward a new industry — electric vehicle charging.

After announcing plans to lower electric bills for 550,000 customers by purging them from its rate plans, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio directed NOPEC to show cause and explain why its certificate to do business should not be revoked by Sept. 28.

 

Wisconsin

Wisconsin dairy farmers are learning that cows and solar panels can coexist, providing a new source of income to help stabilize finances for small and mid-sized farms.

Western District Judge William Conley in Wisconsin ruled that Enbridge is trespassing on the Bad River Band’s tribal land and should pay damages for continuing to operate its Line 5 pipeline despite a major easement expiring in 2013.

Debate over rerouting Line 5 is heating up. With the Bad River Band’s success in blocking the pipeline from running through their reservation, many locals along the proposed rerouted path have their own concerns. Environmental groups are calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an environmental review.

 

National

The historic drought plaguing the western U.S. has recharged the controversial debate about rerouting water from the Midwest to the Southwest. And the crisis is expected to worsen. Studies have predicted that by 2030, global demand for water will exceed the supply by 40 percent if current practices continue.

An analysis of federal data shows that ethanol plants produce twice as many carbon emissions per gallon of fuel capacity than oil refineries, in part the result of a history of industry-friendly federal regulation.

While visiting the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, President Biden announced $900 million in federal funding will be used to build electric vehicle charging stations in 34 states and Puerto Rico.


Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: New climate laws impact states, energy bill assistance in Illinois

Energy News Roundup: Michigan’s solar power increases, impact of Inflation Reduction Act on energy

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