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:
- ‘We are scarred’: Nuclear communities sidelined in just transition debate, even as industry subsidies flow — Energy News Network
The town of Zion, Illinois, went into an economic spiral after the sudden closure of a nuclear power plant 25 years ago. Today, it’s still trying to recover and offers a cautionary tale for the country’s energy transition.
- Vistra’s coal-to-battery storage projects receive FERC waiver from MISO interconnection transfer rules — Utility Dive
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission waived Vistra Corp. from Midcontinent Independent System Operator interconnection rules so the company can add battery storage at two Illinois coal-fired power plants being retired.
Morgan County, Illinois, commissioners have unanimously approved a resolution against eminent domain being used to acquire any property for a proposed carbon dioxide pipeline.
The city of South Bend, Indiana, partners with five local nonprofits to install solar projects to reduce electric bills and furthering the city’s carbon neutral goals.
- CenterPoint customers paid more for electricity than anyone in Indiana. Here’s how much — Courier & Press
Residential CenterPoint Energy customers in southern Indiana pay the highest electricity rates in the state, according to state data.
- ArcelorMittal investing $25 million in nuclear in decarbonization push — Times of Northwest Indiana
An Indiana-based steel manufacturer will invest $25 million in a U.S. nuclear technology firm as the company seeks to decarbonize the steelmaking process.
- Scrub Hub: Are heat pumps better for the environment and my wallet? — Indianapolis Star
Across much of Indiana, air conditioners and furnaces are a common combination for heating and cooling homes. Heat pumps, on the other hand, aren’t as common and aren’t as well understood. Davide Ziviani, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, explains how heat pumps are basically an air conditioning unit that can also go in reverse.
- DTE Energy donates to nearly every Michigan lawmaker as it seeks rate hike — Detroit Metro Times
As DTE Energy pushes for an 8.8% rate hike, the utility giant and its executives and lobbyists have donated to the campaigns of nearly every state legislator in Michigan. Of the state’s 148 senators and representatives, 138 have received campaign contributions tied to DTE Energy, totaling more than $1 million, according to the Energy and Policy Institute, a fossil fuel industry watchdog group.
- Mecosta County requests economic impact study of Rogers Dam — Big Rapids Pioneer
The Mecosta County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution in support of an economic impact study of more than a dozen hydroelectric dams owned by Consumers Energy.
- Report from environmental groups accuses power industry of failing to clean up coal ash dump — Michigan Radio
Electric utilities are gradually phasing out coal-burning power plants in Michigan. But environmental groups are warning that some of those power plants are leaving behind a poisonous legacy.
Renewable energy had a bad election day in Michigan. Four referendums that would have established guidelines for wind turbine installation were defeated in mid-Michigan’s Montcalm County.
- Consumers Energy seeks “crippling” wind farm tax clawbacks from Tuscola County schools — Michigan Radio
Consumers Energy is suing more than a hundred schools, townships and social service groups in an eastern Michigan county for about $8 million in previously paid taxes based on new state valuations of the utility’s wind turbines.
Enbridge last week opened a new operations center in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that performs 24-hour surveillance of the Line 5 pipeline.
Consumers Energy is considering whether to keep its 13 hydropower dams on Michigan rivers. The dams are environmentally and financially costly and deliver little energy. But their reservoirs are beloved for recreation. The outcome could dramatically alter Michigan’s rivers and surrounding communities.
- Report: Michigan earns failing grade on pipeline information transparency — Michigan Advance
A new report from the Pipeline Safety Trust concluded that Michigan is among the worst states for public transparency regarding intrastate pipelines. The review, conducted annually by the Washington-based nonprofit watchdog group, looks at how easily members of the public can access information about pipeline safety and pipelines near their homes.
- New Midtown Detroit apartments planned for site of idled solar panels — Detroit Free Press
A new four-story apartment building has been proposed in Midtown Detroit on land where there is now a pair of unused solar panel arrays.
- Cooperative proposes solar garden near Clara City, Minnesota, for Xcel Energy customers — West Central Tribune
An energy cooperative seeks to recruit participants in a 1.4 MW community solar project in southwestern Minnesota.
Minnesota Power will close its two coal-fired power plants and add significantly more renewable power than originally planned under an agreement with clean energy groups.
- Minnesota’s first renewable natural gas facility opens at Invergrove Heights landfill — Star Tribune
Minnesota’s first renewable natural gas plant is operating at a landfill, converting biogases produced from trash into fuel for heavy-duty vehicles.
- Centerpoint and Xcel are challenging the decision forcing them to pay more costs from historic winter storm — Star Tribune
Minnesota’s two largest utilities challenge a ruling from state regulators prohibiting the companies from charging customers a combined $55 million for costs related to a 2021 winter storm.
- Minnesota solar installers say it still takes too long to connect to Xcel’s grid — Energy News Network
Minnesota solar installers say connecting systems to Xcel Energy’s grid still takes too long despite recent efforts by the utility and state regulators to reduce delays and clear a project backlog.
- Columbus unveils solar power ‘microgrid’ — Columbus Dispatch
The city of Columbus, Ohio, unveiled a solar panel “microgrid” that represents one of the first steps in a years-long effort to cut the city’s carbon emissions in half.
- Granville residents hope village’s new solar ordinance draft more receptive to panels — Newark Advocate
A proposal by Granville officials to regulate the placement of solar panels on houses and other buildings was headed toward a council vote in August when solar-power advocates read the ordinance and protested that it was too restrictive.
Foxconn, the world’s biggest contract electronics maker, has extended its drive into the electric vehicle business with a deal to take a near-20% stake in U.S. electric truck maker Lordstown Motors for up to $170 million.
- Crawford County voters uphold ban on industrial wind farm — Telegraph Forum
Voters in a northern Ohio county uphold a 10-year ban on utility-scale wind projects, blocking development of a planned 300 MW project.
- AES Ohio charges one-time and monthly ‘opt-out’ fees for those who decline ‘smart meters’ — Dayton Daily News
AES Ohio now charges customers a nearly $100 one-time fee as well as nearly $37 a month to opt out of installing smart meters to cover the cost of manual meter-reading and billing.
- DOE awards millions to restart nuclear operations in southern Ohio as contamination concerns continue — Scioto Valley Guardian
The United States Department of Energy has awarded $30 million to produce nuclear fuel at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. The award comes with accolades from some and grave concerns from others.
- Canada’s support of Line 5 violates Indigenous treaty rights and harms the natural world — Toronto Star
Tribal leaders say Canada’s invocation of a 1977 pipeline treaty to keep Line 5 open is an attempt to “circumvent tribal rights within the U.S. legal system for a pipeline that we do not need or have alternatives for.”
- City calls on Public Service Commission to reject We Energies’ proposed rate increases — Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The city of Milwaukee is the latest to file formal opposition to We Energies’ rate increase request, saying it would burden low-income residents and create budget challenges in the city.
- Some Wisconsin frac sand mines see growing demand from oil, natural gas companies — Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin frac sand mining companies see an uptick in demand from oil and gas drillers after weathering a major downturn in 2020 and 2021.
- Can wind decarbonize Great Lakes shipping? Cargo vessels “veer” into alternative power — Great Lakes Echo
A start-up company recently got design approval to build a ship that moves cargo with sails rather than fuel. A hydrogen cell-powered sailing vessel could be a future alternative for decarbonizing Great Lakes shipping.
- Battery development to slow for 3 years, despite massive boost from Inflation Reduction Act, analyst says — Utility Dive
Despite nearly $400 billion in clean energy tax credits in the Inflation Reduction Act, shortages of materials used to make batteries could stall construction for years, according to analysts.
- U.S. solar capacity to double in three years — PV Magazine
Federal regulators expect installed U.S. solar capacity to nearly double from current levels over the next three years.
- DOE touts nuclear-powered hydrogen production projects with Xcel, Constellation, 4 other partners — Utility Dive
The U.S. Department of Energy highlighted plans to fund projects at four nuclear plants to demonstrate the clean production of hydrogen. Developing a robust and cost-efficient hydrogen market is seen by the utility sector and others as key to meeting goals for zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- Electric vehicle sales rise as registrations jump 57% through September — Smart Cities Dive
U.S. electric vehicle registrations increased during the first nine months of the year by 57% compared to the same period last year as more models are available.
Four companies that developed solar energy facilities in Alabama, Idaho and Illinois have agreed to pay a total of $1.3 million for violating construction permits and rules for handling groundwater.
Nine in 10 U.S. counties have experienced a climate change-fueled weather disaster over the past decade, according to a new report from a climate adaptation group.