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Energy News Roundup: Renewable natural gas powering Ontario communities, solar projects to power Michigan sites

Energy News Roundup: Renewable natural gas powering Ontario communities, solar projects to power Michigan sites
December 22, 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 ranks 16th nationally in a new energy efficiency scorecard behind Midwest top performers Minnesota and Michigan.

There’s been a huge jump in people using solar energy in central Illinois. Officials say more people have signed up because of increasing energy costs.

Wildlife experts recently testified that a proposed Illinois wind farm would have little to no impact on nearby wildlife.

Stellantis will close an Illinois production facility and lay off 1,350 employees, citing increasing costs related to electric vehicle production.

More than 100 health care professionals urged Illinois Governor Pritzker to set targets for phasing out diesel fuel engines in exchange for electric trucks to reduce emissions.

More than a dozen Chicago suburbs have been selected to participate in a ComEd pilot program that prepares communities for electric vehicle adoption and charging infrastructure.

The U.S. Agriculture Department is giving out more than $1.5 million in rural energy grants to projects in Illinois. The money will help more than 60 farmers and businesses install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements.

 

Indiana

Indiana Michigan Power plans to invest $17 million to upgrade northern Indiana transmission lines that date back more than 60 years.

 

Michigan

Local officials in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula consider regulations that would prohibit utility-scale wind projects and limit large solar projects. The ordinance is modeled on one used in Montrose, Michigan. It would allow for small units providing power to be used on-site in all districts.

One thing you might not notice right away about PizzaPlex, in southwest Detroit, is their commitment to limiting the pizzeria’s carbon footprint but fighting climate change by reducing food waste is ever-present in their minds. And it all starts with the menu.

Detroit-based DTE Energy says it is on track to reach a 2050 net zero carbon emissions goal, though critics say the utility’s own data show it relying on significant amounts of natural gas beyond 2050.

Climate activists are urging Ann Arbor to ban gas connections for new buildings, while building industry and union representatives are pushing back.

Rural Michigan school districts say they would face budget deficits if Consumers Energy is allowed to claw back millions of dollars in disputed tax revenues from wind turbines.

Stellantis is partnering with DTE Energy to build 400 MW of solar to power southeastern Michigan vehicle production sites. The plan is a part of Stellantis NV’s commitment to achieve carbon net-zero status globally by 2038.

Residents of Highland Park have long complained of frequent power outages and high energy costs. Researchers and activists contend the city could create a renewable power grid independent of DTE. Now, they have federal backing to start implementing the plan.

 

Minnesota

Minnesota experts say the state can play a vital role in decarbonizing the globe after attending this year’s United Nations climate summit in Egypt.

An environmental group pitches an alternative vision for the site of a proposed copper-nickel mine in northern Minnesota that includes renewable energy generation to power carbon-free steel production.

Xcel Energy withdraws a highly contested $122 million rate increase request as Minnesota regulators approve accounting changes that will benefit both the utility and ratepayers.

With a $17.6 billion surplus heading into the next budget year, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has identified electric vehicle charging infrastructure as one of his spending priorities.

A General Motors recall forced a Minneapolis-St. Paul electric car-share service to suspend operations last fall. But after a February relaunch, the program is finding momentum, logging nearly 25,000 trips in six months.

 

Ohio

A growing number of townships in a central Ohio county have adopted significant restrictions on utility-scale wind and solar projects.

A new solar cooperative in Ohio’s second-most populous county will help to install solar panels on low- to moderate-income households.

The state of Ohio is contributing $25 million to the removal of the Gorge Dam in Akron. But don’t expect to see anything different at the dam site itself. The first step is only tree removal activities at Cascade Valley Metro Park, where tons of contaminated sediments from behind the dam will be placed.

Ohio lawmakers pass legislation that redefines natural gas as “green energy” and opens all state land to oil and gas drilling, sending the proposal to Gov. Mike DeWine.

Workers at an Ohio battery manufacturing plant vote to become the first unionized factory built for electric vehicles and components, giving the UAW a foothold in the emerging auto sector.

Ohio corn and soybean farmers are increasingly dependent on the ethanol industry, with about 40% of the state’s corn crop now going to fuel production.

 

Ontario

For municipalities looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions while also curtailing the waste they generate, renewable natural gas is becoming a promising solution. Renewable natural gas typically comes from four sources: food processing, agriculture, biosolids from wastewater treatment plants, and municipal organics.

Ontario has announced $19 million toward the further development of battery electric vehicle technology. The funds will go toward seven Regional Technology and Development Sites which are spread out across the province.

 

Pennsylvania

FirstEnergy charged Pennsylvania customers $2.4 million for ‘inappropriate costs’ related to Ohio investigation — Energy and Policy Institute

A state audit earlier this year found FirstEnergy charged Pennsylvania customers $2.4 million in “inappropriate costs” related to an ongoing criminal investigation of the utility in Ohio.

 

Wisconsin

Social justice groups in Milwaukee call for establishing a municipally owned utility as an alternative to the investor-owned model of We Energies.

A partnership will lead to the installation of solar panels on 49 Habitat for Humanity homes across Wisconsin.

Millennials and Generation Z are involved in climate change issues and environmental activism, whether by volunteering and attending rallies or protests, according to a recent survey of United States youths. To see what some young people in the Great Lakes are doing, the Journal Sentinel talked to four young women who are emerging as leaders in their communities.

 

National

Inflation, high natural gas prices and slow economic growth are contributing to a deteriorating financial outlook for public and cooperative utilities, according to a credit ratings agency.

The U.S. Department of Energy will provide a $2.5 billion loan to a joint venture by General Motors and LG that is opening battery manufacturing plants in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.


Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: Nuclear communities sidelined in just transition debate, Mid-Michigan smacks down wind energy

Energy News Roundup: Electric school buses, solar-powered recreational boats on the rise

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