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Energy News Roundup: Michigan launching study of nuclear power options, clean energy jobs rebounding in Wisconsin

Energy News Roundup: Michigan launching study of nuclear power options, clean energy jobs rebounding in Wisconsin
October 27, 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

Chicago transit advocates raise concerns over a state transportation plan that calls for more expressway lanes instead of prioritizing public transit.

A recommendation in Chicago’s climate change plan calls for ending gas connections in new residential and commercial construction projects as a utility spends billions of dollars on new gas infrastructure in the city.

Ameren, Illinois partners with Peoria Guild of Black Artists to create three murals in Peoria to promote energy efficiency programs. Hundreds attended the unveiling of a complete mural at the East Bluff Community Center in Ameren, Illinois.

 

Indiana

A central Indiana city expects long-term cost savings from a solar installation that will power its water tower and town hall.

The phase out of Indiana’s solar net metering law created a mad rush for customers before the cut off and an environment that led to financial scams, advocates say.

A company that wants to build a coal-to-diesel plant in southern Indiana has hit a roadblock. The town council of Santa Claus, Indiana voted not to sign a memorandum of understanding with Riverview Energy and the town of Dale to move forward with a water study for a developer’s plan for a facility that converts coal to low-sulfur diesel.

An Indiana task force recommends lawmakers ease barriers to new transmission and adopt time-of-use rates, but fails to address rooftop solar, efficiency and equity.

 

Michigan

The advanced transportation sector is driving Michigan’s clean energy job growth after a pandemic-related downturn. The advanced transportation sector has been buoyed by the ongoing transition to hybrid and electric vehicles, according to a recent study.

DTE Energy officials say the utility will invest over one billion a year, annually over the next five years to both increase capacity and improve reliability to help meet customer’s needs, including the shift to EVs.

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County is building nine new homes in Grand Rapids this year with a focus on energy-efficiency. The homes will be all-electric and less expensive, thanks in part to the concrete Habitat is using to build them.

Some experts question whether a rural Michigan county eyed for a massive battery manufacturing plant has the workforce to support it.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a bill from a Mid-Michigan lawmaker commissioning a feasibility study of increasing the amount of power generated from nuclear sources in Michigan.

Three groups are working together to provide a total of $100,000 in technical and financial assistance to small businesses affected by the closure of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant.

Critics say a new Michigan carbon credit trading program relying on thousands of acres of new forests is misleading and won’t lead to meaningful emission reductions from companies.

The EPA, the Michigan Climate Action Network and the Environmental Law & Policy Center all recommended that the Army Corp of Engineers assess alternatives to the Line 5 tunnel while reviewing the project as a whole. Other recommendations include those regarding environmental justice, tribal resources, climate change, impacts to endangered species and habitats and more

The U.S. Department of Justice has proposed allowing Enbridge Energy not to perform some in-line inspections on Line 5 for at least 15 years, stating pressure tests conducted in 2017 are sufficient to show the twin pipelines under the Straits of Mackinac are not in danger of rupturing on their own before then.

The Democratic and Republican candidates for Michigan governor and attorney general differ greatly on the future of the Line 5 pipeline and climate change action. The Nov. 8 election could have a big impact on how Michigan tackles the climate crisis and energy needs.

Southeast Michigan’s 7-Eleven locations will be utilizing 100% renewable energy in the coming years. The company announced its enrollment in MIGreenPower, DTE’s voluntary renewable energy program. The companies said this will allow 7-Eleven to achieve 100% renewable energy for all 160 of its Southeast Michigan locations for 20 years, starting in 2025.

 

Minnesota

Biofuel supporters are pushing for greater availability of renewable fuels and Minnesota farm leaders are working to make it happen. Grants totaling more than $6 million are being awarded by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture to 44 Minnesota service stations to improve their infrastructure to make higher blends of ethanol available to consumers.

South Minneapolis’ historic Black community center had a zero energy efficiency rating, but is now becoming an example of green infrastructure and a potential refuge during weather emergencies.

 

Ohio

Honda announces a joint venture with LG on a new $4.2 billion battery manufacturing plant in southwestern Ohio.

Ratepayers are getting tiny credits right now, but House Bill 6’s coal plant bailouts have huge net costs. And millions of dollars of those costs were improper, critics argue.

Environmental groups filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking the agency to take over regulation of oil and gas injection wells in Ohio. Advocates request the EPA take over permitting of injection wells for fracking waste, citing “longstanding and systemic failures” in state oversight.

Consumer advocates and large energy users push back against AEP Ohio’s request to loosen grid reliability standards.

Cedarville Twp. officials have formally asked the Greene County Board of Commissioners to declare the township a restricted area for large-scale solar and wind facilities, saying an “overwhelming” number of residents expressed opposition to a proposed large-scale solar utility in the area. But a new law giving local governments more siting power won’t apply because it was passed after the project was initially filed.

A large renewable energy developer organized a ballot initiative that will test an Ohio county’s ban this year on wind energy development made possible by a 2021 state law.

 

Ontario

Zero-emission vehicles are still hard to sell in Northern Ontario. Research conducted for the Northern Policy Institute found that only 2.2 per cent of all new zero-emission vehicles sold in the entire province last year were registered in Northern Ontario.

 

Wisconsin

Clean energy advocates say historic federal investment should boost jobs. Despite COVID-19 setbacks, clean energy advocates say billions of dollars of investment through the Inflation Reduction Act and bipartisan infrastructure law are setting the stage for significant growth.

Wisconsin regulators deny a utility group’s request for more time to gather evidence in a high-stakes case over third-party solar financing.

A Wisconsin judge dismisses claims of bias against a former state regulator who approved plans for — then sought a job with one of the owners of — a planned $700 million natural gas plant.

More than 500,000 Wisconsin households will qualify for Inflation Reduction Act rebates that cover up to 80% of weatherization costs and in some cases the cost of a new heat pump.

 

National

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is proposing stricter requirements for renewable installations to withstand natural disasters, prompting warnings from industry groups that say the plan is a severe threat to clean energy and growth of solar power.

Investment in wind and solar is set to outpace oil and gas drilling for the first time this year, according to one analyst — a milestone in the worldwide transition to clean energy that comes in spite of a spiraling energy crisis and calls to increase fossil fuel production.


Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: Indigenous communities in Canada, U.S. offer clean energy solutions

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

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