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

Energy News Roundup: New climate laws impact states, energy bill assistance in Illinois
September 12, 2022 Kathy Johnson, Great Lakes Now

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

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Starting this week, the new federal Inflation Reduction Act combined with the Illinois Climate and Equitable Jobs Act will bring the average cost for residential solar installations from $25,000 down to approximately $7,500.

Illinois families may be eligible for more than $300 million in funding for energy bill assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP. Qualifying families are eligible to receive bill assistance for natural gas, propane and electricity.

Independent power producer Soltage completed the construction and commissioning of a 2.7-MW community solar project in Pontiac, Illinois. The project features single-axis-trackers bifacial modules and native pollinator-friendly vegetation to benefit the local environment.



Indiana charter school completed a major lighting upgrade that saved the school more than $26,000 in rebates and incentives and is projected to save more than $22,000 in annual energy and maintenance costs.



Electric vehicle owners soon will be able to top off their batteries when they shop at four Kroger Co. stores in southeast Michigan. Volta Charging is adding at least eight chargers to the grocery stores in Lapeer, Roseville, Southgate and Westland as part of a $98,750 Michigan Mobility Funding Platform grant with DTE Energy Co.

Supporters of a proposed passenger rail route between southeastern and northwestern Michigan say the project would help reduce transportation emissions while growing tourism.

People from Detroit, Livonia, Ypsilanti, Dearborn, Ann Arbor and more gathered in Detroit Monday night to comment on DTE Energy’s request for a rate hike. Most of the speakers were against the increase citing reliability problems and the company’s recent profits as reasons that Michigan regulators should deny the request.

University of Michigan researchers find that a U.S. Postal Service analysis comparing lifetime emissions for new electric and gas-powered vehicles underestimated gas vehicle emissions by about 15%.

A group of Black entrepreneurs in Detroit are forging a path for the country’s transition to electric vehicles, and ensuring it’s equitable by launching an electric vehicle trade association.



Xcel Energy’s plans to build a $575 million solar project next to its retiring Sherco coal-fired power plant in central Minnesota could see a 20% reduction from the Inflation Reduction Act recently passed by Congress.

Nearly 200 criminal cases against pipeline protesters are still open from a long series of Line 3 protests in Minnesota last year.

After several attempts, a University of Minnesota team of students wins a solar-powered vehicle challenge.



At least 10 Ohio counties have passed resolutions blocking commercial wind and solar projects in all or part of their jurisdictions since a state law last year gave communities veto power over projects.

Solar energy developers are facing peril after Ohio officials recommended against granting them a permit to build a solar farm in Greene County capable of powering an estimated 34,000 homes per year. Ohio Power Siting Board staff concluded that concerns about the rural aesthetics of the area trumped the signed leases with landowners, the payroll and tax benefits for locals, and clean electricity for the grid.

FirstEnergy customers may be in line to receive part of a proposed $49 million settlement deal to resolve a class-action lawsuit over the House Bill 6 energy law scandal.



Canada has invoked a 1977 pipeline treaty with the United States for the second time in less than a year, in this case to prevent a shutdown of Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in Wisconsin. The Bad River Band, a Native American tribe in northern Wisconsin, wants the 1953 pipeline shut down and removed from its reservation because of the risk of leaks and expired easements.



The city of La Crosse, Wisconsin, is considering several policies that would bolster efforts to combat climate change and produce new green initiatives, though critics still doubt the necessity and say it’s too political.


Indigenous communities:

Tribes in the U.S. face disproportionate levels of air pollution from wildfires and with government monitoring lagging behind, members are installing their own monitors.

The Inflation Reduction Act makes a host of key changes that should allow tribes better access to renewable energy projects. Tribes will receive $75 million for the Tribal Energy Loan Guarantee program through the U.S. Department of Energy. Native communities will also have access to $20 billion for allowable loan guarantees, as well, $225 million in rebates for home electrification.

A Canadian, Indigenous-backed energy group seeks $38.2 million in compensation from the Keystone XL pipeline developer after the Biden administration canceled the project.

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