Energy News Roundup: Power outages in Michigan, future of nuclear power in Illinois

Energy News Roundup: Power outages in Michigan, future of nuclear power in Illinois
March 24, 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.

Click on the headline to read the full story:



Cook County, Illinois, contributes more to smog pollution violations in other states than anywhere else in the country, according to federal data.

Automaker Stellantis moves closer to shuttering an Illinois manufacturing plant as it prepares to shift production to electric vehicles.

An Illinois entrepreneur describes the challenge of bringing community solar to low-income communities, where many people are deeply skeptical of outsiders offering a deal.

A Chicago-area partnership is helping to fill the need for more electricians to meet clean energy job demands while also expanding training and opportunities to women and environmental justice communities.

Jury selection begins today in the trial of four former ComEd executives and associates accused of a bribery scheme to influence former Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

An Illinois House committee advances a bill that expands the size of a qualifying small modular nuclear facility as lawmakers seek to accommodate the nascent industry.



Indiana lawmakers refuse to hold hearings this session on bills that would regulate the safe disposal of coal ash, including from a facility along the Lake Michigan shoreline.



Detroit utility DTE Energy may be under-reporting the number of recent outages in its territory as winter storms have left thousands of customers without power for several days.

Michigan’s attorney general calls for stronger oversight of the state’s regulated utilities following prolonged power outages after recent storms.

Michigan lawmakers plan hearings next week to probe utilities’ response to storms last week that caused outages for hundreds of thousands of customers.

Ann Arbor, Michigan, officials call on state lawmakers to adopt policies promoting more grid resilience, such as community solar programs and helping municipalities invest in renewable energy.

The owner of a southwestern Michigan nuclear plant submits its second request for federal funds to help it potentially reopen.

Most Michigan lawmakers who are set to consider increased accountability of the state’s regulated utilities have accepted significant campaign contributions from those companies.

Michigan utility Consumers Energy is launching a pilot program to bury power lines underground in rural areas where tree trimming would be too expensive.

A diesel-powered ferry that transports passengers from mainland Michigan to Mackinac Island will be converted to run on electricity.



Xcel Energy hosts a public open house in Minnesota for landowners who might be affected by a proposed 160- to 180-mile renewable energy transmission line.

A top Minnesota energy regulator discusses the upcoming oversight role that he and others will play under the state’s clean energy law calling for 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040.

Minnesota lawmakers consider creating a state fund that would help leverage federal dollars to invest in various clean energy sectors.

Minnesota regulators approve plans for a $256 million solar project that faces opposition from landowners for occupying prime farmland.

A Minneapolis solar cooperative and an affordable housing nonprofit have devised a solar financing structure that slashes renters’ utility bills far more than typical community solar programs.

Crews are working to clean up roughly 400,000 gallons of water contaminated with radioactive tritium that spilled at a Minnesota nuclear plant in November 2022; officials say it is not contaminating drinking water sources and it may take a year to fully resolve.



The Republican operative and whistleblower who first exposed corruption at the heart of the power plant bailout law says he feels vindicated after years of torment.

A public policy analyst notes that the law at the center of a major corruption trial in Ohio was also bad policy that is stalling renewable energy development and contributing to more power-sector emissions.

A jury convicts former House Speaker Larry Householder and a GOP lobbyist of taking part in a $60 million bribery scheme to pass a $1.3 billion bailout of two nuclear plants owned by a FirstEnergy subsidiary.

Experts say the case exposed the extent to which political contributions and dark money organizations influence Ohio politics.

Other legal experts say Householder erred in the case by testifying and opening contradictions in his testimony for prosecutors.

“I respect their decision but I don’t agree with it,” Householder told reporters upon leaving the courthouse.



A new Madison, Wisconsin, ordinance will require owners of larger commercial buildings to report annual energy use and make efficiency “tuneups” every four years or face fines.

The operator of a 400-foot wind turbine that collapsed in Wisconsin in January has still not said what caused the incident.



A federal appeals court rejects a challenge to Biden administration regulations requiring reductions in pollution that blows across state lines from coal plants in mostly Midwest and Northeast states.

Five of the worst wastewater-polluting U.S. oil refineries are located in the Great Lakes region, including one that discharges directly into Lake Michigan, according to an environmental group’s analysis of U.S. EPA data.

The Biden administration will distribute $2.5 billion over the next five years for states, local governments and tribes to build out electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: Large solar energy project proposed in Michigan, more community solar projects in Illinois

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


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