Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.
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Chicago-based utility ComEd expects to double its number of community solar projects, bringing online 150 total projects by the end of 2023.
Constellation plans to invest $800 million in two Illinois nuclear plants to improve their efficiency and generate more power.
- Little Village activists demand action after publication of confidential report on botched Hilco smokestack demolition — Chicago Tribune
Activists in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood accuse city officials of “willful bureaucratic negligence” following a recently publicized audit of a botched coal plant smokestack demolition in 2020.
- Rural clean energy focus of new report — Daily News
A Chicago environmental group’s new report highlights success stories of rural renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
- Illinois Put a Stop to Local Governments’ Ability to Kill Solar and Wind Projects. Will Other Midwestern States Follow? — Inside Climate News
A new Illinois law stripping local governments’ ability to limit or ban wind or solar power may be a model for other Midwest states, though some experts worry about the long-term divide it could create between urban and rural areas.
The Indiana House passes a bill that would let utilities recoup several types of unexpected costs from customers prior to regulatory approval.
- Indiana couldn’t set stricter coal ash rules than federal ones under state House bill amendment — Indiana Public Radio
Environmental groups criticize Indiana legislation that would prevent the state from creating coal ash cleanup regulations that are stricter than the federal government’s.
- Bill Seeking More Local Input on Carbon Capture and Sequestration Projects Defeated — Indiana Environmental Reporter
An Indiana Senate committee rejects a bill that would have required local government approval for carbon capture and sequestration projects, which critics called an “extra layer of bureaucracy.”
- Tracking panels boost solar field production — News Sun
An Indiana solar installation with sun-tracking panels performed as expected in 2022 and saved a city $165,000 in electricity costs.
- Bill would give money to wind and solar friendly counties, but only if it comes from the feds — WVPE
Indiana lawmakers advance a bill that creates incentives for local governments to adopt voluntary zoning standards permitting wind and solar projects.
A Native American tribe based in northwestern Michigan receives nearly $100,000 in federal funding to study the feasibility of creating a tribal utility.
Enbridge says plans are still moving forward for an underground tunnel in the Great Lakes to house the Line 5 pipeline as the company awaits additional state and federal permits.
A Michigan judge will allow the state’s attorney general to appeal a decision that moved a lawsuit seeking to shut down the Line 5 pipeline into federal court.
Automaker Stellantis’ earnings grew by nearly 20% in 2022 over the prior year as its push into electric vehicles led to a jump in sales.
- 5 (mostly) good things to know about Michigan’s progress on EVs — Bridge Michigan
As Michigan notches major electric vehicle and battery investments, questions remain about consumer interest and effects on traditional auto suppliers.
- DTE seeks another rate increase citing inflation, material costs — Bridge Detroit
Detroit utility DTE Energy files its eighth rate increase request since 2010, seeking an additional $622 million a year to pay for various grid infrastructure measures.
- Should Michigan bury its electric power lines underground? — Michigan Radio
A series of recent winter storms has spotlighted problems with Michigan’s aging electric grid leading state lawmakers to plan hearings plan hearings to examine utilities’ storm response. Utility executives say burying lines is often cost-prohibitive.
- ‘Absolutely unacceptable’: Washtenaw County leaders blast DTE Energy, Consumers after ice storm — MLive
Prolonged power outages in southeastern Michigan over the past week have spurred new interest in creating a publicly owned utility as local leaders criticize major utilities’ “absolutely unacceptable” storm response.
- Michigan Democrats pressure utilities: more credits for power outages — Bridge Michigan
Michigan Democrats call on utilities to reimburse customers for prolonged outages caused by last week’s ice storm.
- Burying power lines underground being explored among solutions to improve utility reliability — WEMU
Michigan’s top energy regulator says all options should be on the table to improve reliability in the state after widespread outages, including burying power lines.
- “It’s almost like a cult.” Activists shout down rural renewable energy projects — Yale Climate Connections
In Michigan, rural officials and farmers face fierce opposition and harassment from a small but vocal group of people opposing wind and solar projects.
Officials and farmers report threats and intimidation in small Midwest communities that are considering solar and wind farms.
A panel of local farmers will discuss plans for a 200 MW solar project near the Lake Michigan shoreline in western Michigan.
- New Michigan scholarship seeks to fill jobs at state’s EV companies — Bridge Michigan
Michigan announces a new statewide program that includes up to $10,000 scholarships for students pursuing careers in electric vehicle manufacturing.
The developer of a proposed 200 MW solar project in western Michigan sues township officials, claiming they unnecessarily stalled in considering the project and violated open meetings and freedom of information acts.
A Minnesota geologist discusses why the southwestern portion of the state creates ideal conditions for wind energy production.
Small Minnesota utilities face unique challenges for meeting the state’s new 100% carbon-free electricity target by 2040 as they lack the financial resources of investor-owned utilities.
- City Council approves electric vehicle program, with optimism and some skepticism — Winona Daily News
A southeastern Minnesota city joins a program that will prepare it for electric vehicle infrastructure and adoption.
Minnesota clean air advocates renew a push to shut down a Minneapolis waste-to-energy facility that is no longer considered renewable energy under the state’s new clean energy law.
- No decision on ban of solar, wind farms — The Review
Eastern Ohio county officials hear arguments for and against a ban on large-scale wind and solar projects in multiple townships.
A former Republican state lawmaker testifies that Householder pressured her to vote in favor of the HB 6 power plant bailout, though she voted against the measure.
A developer has to scale back a proposed solar project on a former Ohio landfill to avoid overloading local grid infrastructure.
- Commissioners OK solar, wind farm bans in four townships — Morning Journal
An Ohio county approves a ban on wind and solar projects in four townships.
- Winter storm causes over 1 million power outages, traps drivers in cars and delays travel nationwide — CBS News
More than 585,000 people in Michigan and 118,000 in Illinois were without power late Wednesday as snow and ice storms socked the region.
Among the biggest barriers to building new transmission lines, experts say, is resolving competing interests from multiple parties about where lines are sited and who pays for them.
Republican-leaning states with plentiful wind and sunshine, along with significant rural and industrial communities, are poised to benefit from clean energy development under the Inflation Reduction Act.
- State bills spur debate over who should build transmission: incumbent utilities or independent companies — Utility Dive
A growing number of states have passed or are considering bills to give incumbent utilities first rights to build transmission lines that grid operators put out to bid, which could have large financial implications amid a widespread transmission buildout.
- Community Solar Is About to Get a Surge in Federal Funding. So What Is Community Solar? — Inside Climate News
The U.S. EPA has started setting up a $7 billion fund through the Inflation Reduction Act to support community solar development.
- EPA coal ash settlement raises hopes for cleanup along Lake Michigan and beyond — Energy News Network
A proposed settlement between environmental groups and the U.S. EPA raises hopes among advocates that coal ash storage sites along Lake Michigan and beyond may be remediated.
The U.S. Postal Service is buying 9,250 Ford electric vans and 14,000 charging stations as part of a move to transition its fleet to electric vehicles.
- Red Lake, Standing Rock Prepare for Electric Vehicle Corridor — Red Lake Nation News
Two Midwest tribes plan an electric vehicle infrastructure build-out with help from $6.5 million in federal funding.
Catch more news at Great Lakes Now:
Energy News Roundup: Minnesota’s 2040 carbon-free energy bill, coal ash crackdown continues
Energy News Roundup: Gas stove debate, electric vehicle expansion