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

Energy News Roundup: Large solar energy project proposed in Michigan, more community solar projects in Illinois
March 10, 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:



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.

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.

A Chicago environmental group’s new report highlights success stories of rural renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

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.

Environmental groups criticize Indiana legislation that would prevent the state from creating coal ash cleanup regulations that are stricter than the federal government’s.

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.”

An Indiana solar installation with sun-tracking panels performed as expected in 2022 and saved a city $165,000 in electricity costs.

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.

As Michigan notches major electric vehicle and battery investments, questions remain about consumer interest and effects on traditional auto suppliers.

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.

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.

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 call on utilities to reimburse customers for prolonged outages caused by last week’s ice storm.

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.

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.

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.

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.



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.

An Ohio county approves a ban on wind and solar projects in four townships.



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.

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.

The U.S. EPA has started setting up a $7 billion fund through the Inflation Reduction Act to support community solar development.

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.

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


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