Energy News Roundup: Minnesota’s 2040 carbon-free energy bill, coal ash crackdown continues

Energy News Roundup: Minnesota’s 2040 carbon-free energy bill, coal ash crackdown continues
February 9, 2023 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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Three Chicago-area oil refineries are among U.S. facilities dumping large amounts of toxic chemicals and heavy metals into waterways, according to a new report.



Indiana lawmakers advance legislation that would require state regulators to consider aspects such as reliability, affordability and environmental sustainability in future energy decisions.

Indiana solar advocates say state lawmakers favor utilities by opposing measures to create community solar programs and boosting the compensation for individuals sending excess power to the grid.

Indiana’s air pollution permitting program is low on money, edging toward violation of the federal Clean Air Act — and a potential U.S. Environmental Protection Agency takeover. And it’s because air pollution is decreasing.



The five national parks along Lake Superior will decarbonize their buildings and vehicles within the next four years. The Lake Superior national parks are expected to be the first nationwide to comprehensively decarbonize.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will deny DTE’s application to continue dumping coal ash into unlined impoundments at the Monroe plant along the River Raisin and the Belle River power plant in China Township. DTE Energy will dispute the decision.

In a new request for proposal, DTE Energy announced it is seeking new wind and solar energy projects of up to 850 MW to continue its generation transition and address increased demand under its MIGreenPower program.

DTE Energy opposes the city of Ann Arbor’s proposed ban on gas appliances at most new buildings, suggesting customers should get to choose their fuel source.

DTE Energy had the third highest number of electricity disconnections among residential customers in 2021 and 2022, according to a watchdog report which looked at utility providers in 35 states.

GM is investing $20 million across several aftermarket warehouses including two in Michigan, to prepare for increased EV production.

Consumers Energy has proposed a plan for its newest wind farm to limit the number of bats killed by spinning turbine blades. The Crescent Wind Project in Hillsdale County is 60 wind turbines. Consumers Energy plan includes a habitat conservation plan and a draft environmental assessment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A Michigan battery startup planning a $1.6 billion production facility in southeastern Michigan has raised $300 million from investors.



Retailers and electric vehicle charging groups raise concerns over Minnesota legislation that they say would allow Xcel Energy to own charging infrastructure and stifle the private market.

CenterPoint Energy is one of the first utilities in the country to start experimenting with blending hydrogen into its natural gas pipeline system, a climate solution critics say is too expensive and impossible to scale.

The Minnesota Senate passes a bill requiring 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040, marking a “turning point” in the state’s fight against climate change. Gov. Tim Walz has vowed to sign it.

Environmental justice advocates applaud the legislation but say there’s more work to do on environmental justice and energy equity.

The Biden administration closed off 350 square miles of the Superior National Forest to protect northeastern Minnesota’s pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from future mining for 20 years, dealing a potentially fatal blow to a copper-nickel project.



More than 40 Ohio townships banned wind or solar, or both, last year after a state law gave municipalities more control over project approval.

The trial of former House Speaker Larry Householder is exposing how gray areas and loopholes in state law helped enable a major corruption scandal involving utility FirstEnergy.

Federal prosecutors detail how utility money flowed through dark money groups to political action committees and limited liability companies to benefit former House Speaker Larry Householder.

The messages displayed during former House Speaker Larry Householder’s trial Thursday show close coordination between FirstEnergy executives, lobbyists and lawmakers in passing HB 6.

Southern Ohio county officials were unaware that two wells monitoring groundwater contamination at a former coal plant were either missing or damaged for several months last year.



Wisconsin could produce 100 times more energy by using farmland for solar instead of growing corn for ethanol, according to a state environmental group’s report.

Amazon’s fleet of 26 electric vans are now making deliveries in Madison, Wisconsin. The state-of-the-art vehicles, rolling out across the country are a part of the tech giants climate pledge looking to be carbon neutral by 2040.



The U.S. EPA denies six coal plants’ requests to keep dumping toxic ash in unlined or inadequately lined pits, including at sites in Michigan and North Dakota, as the agency ramps up enforcement. Among other issues, the EPA determined some plant owners were placing monitoring equipment in locations that could deliver misleading results.

New analysis shows that renewables beat existing coal plants 99 percent of the time, thanks to long-term trends and an assist from the Inflation Reduction Act.

Collecting, studying, and storing the carcasses from wind and solar facilities, scientists say, can unlock new insights to reduce the environmental impact of clean energy facilities.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: Gas stove debate, electric vehicle expansion

Energy News Roundup: Community programs to provide solar for low-income residents in Illinois, Ohio



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