Energy News Roundup: Improvements coming to Michigan’s power grid, Congress can’t agree on climate spending

Energy News Roundup: Improvements coming to Michigan’s power grid, Congress can’t agree on climate spending
August 3, 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 Mayor Receives Blueprint for ’Green New Deal’ to Address Environmental Justice — Inside Climate News

Advocates deliver Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson a local “Green New Deal” proposal that aims to tackle energy affordability, clean energy job opportunities, and environmental justice curricula in schools.

City of Peoria files as intervenor in pipeline construction application — WCBU

Peoria, Illinois, files a petition to intervene in a developer’s request to build a carbon capture pipeline because the city’s fire department would likely be called to assist in a potential incident.

Starting next year, new buildings in Oak Park must be all-electric — Daily Herald

Oak Park, a Chicago suburb, is set to become the first municipality in the Midwest to ban natural gas in new construction, after passing a new city ordinance in June.

Federal judge dismisses Madigan-related bribery charge against ComEd — Chicago Sun-Times

ComEd will no longer face criminal charges after a federal judge dismissed bribery charges against the utility related to a scheme that led to the indictment of former House Speaker Michael Madigan and the conviction of former executives.

Two ComEd defendants are stripped of their ability to practice law in Illinois — WBEZ

The Illinois Supreme Court suspends the law licenses of former ComEd CEO Ann Pramaggiore and a former lobbyist following their felony bribery convictions.



Commission to consider commercial solar — The Republic

An Indiana city considers local commercial solar zoning regulations that could differ from rules adopted at the county level.



Study for legislature recommends rethinking Michigan’s aging power grid — WWMT

A new report recommends transitioning Michigan’s power grid to smaller, decentralized generation sources to meet expected shifts in demand caused by electrification and electric vehicles.

Michigan gets nearly $15M federal grant to improve power grid resilience — MLive
A nearly $15 million federal grant will help Michigan plan for improved grid reliability and non-wire alternatives.

Army Corps limits scope of Line 5 tunnel environmental review — Michigan Advance

In a setback for environmental groups, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it will limit the scope of its Line 5 pipeline environmental review to an underwater section in the Straits of Mackinac.

Downed power line caused 225-acre wildfire, DNR says — WWMT

A downed power line caused a 225-acre wildfire in northern Michigan that is now 80% contained, according to state officials.

NORTH CENTRAL MICHIGAN COLLEGE: Faculty seeks review of president’s behavior with protesters — Traverse City Record-Eagle

Faculty at a northern Michigan college requested a third-party inquiry into the school president’s recent physical confrontation with Line 5 pipeline opponents.

Michigan probes Consumers Energy over broken meters, inflated bill claims — Bridge Michigan

Michigan regulators are investigating Consumers Energy over alleged broken smart meters, over-billing and service delays after the company transitioned from 3G to 4G technology early this year.

Here’s how pilot programs aimed at cutting energy costs in low-income Mich. households are faring — Michigan Advance

State and local programs to reduce Michigan ratepayers’ energy burden show promising results, and in one case reduced program participants’ energy costs by 70% by pairing community solar with weatherization.

Another major utility is accelerating its transition to renewables — Canary Media

Detroit-based DTE Energy’s proposed long-term energy plan reached in agreement with clean energy groups is the latest example of an investor-owned utility hastening its renewable energy transition.

More jobs in solar industry in Michigan despite a decline in utility scale projects nationally — Michigan Radio

Michigan’s solar workforce grew by 3.3% in 2022 to more than 4,000 jobs, despite market conditions that led to a broader slowdown of large projects.

Judge denies injunction on Ford battery plant rezoning — WOOD-TV8

A Michigan judge denies landowners’ request to halt construction on a major electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant.

BWL plans $750M investment in green energy over 10 years — Lansing State Journal

Michigan’s largest municipal utility plans to spend $750 million over the next 10 years to build hundreds of megawatts of renewable energy and battery storage.

State instructs insurance companies to report climate risks as part of national survey — Michigan Advance

Michigan will join 26 other states in requiring insurance companies based in the state to report their climate-related risks and mitigation strategies for a national survey.



E-bikes are pricey, but Minnesota is offering buyer rebates next year — Spokesman-Recorder

Minnesota next year will start to offer rebates of up to $1,500, based on income, for electric bikes as consumer interest grows.

Xcel drops plans for EV fast chargers after regulators nix preferred rate hike — Star Tribune

Two Minnesota agencies say Xcel Energy has failed to meet expectations with electric vehicle charging pilot programs, and support the company’s decision to withdraw a $330 million electric vehicle initiative.

Minnesota leaders propose electric and gas price hikes to combat climate change — Star Tribune

Minneapolis leaders seek to raise fees on electric and gas bills to generate $8 million to $10 million a year to pay for home weatherization projects, solar installations and other climate change measures.

Leaked groundwater containing tritium may have reached Mississippi River in Monticello — MPR

Groundwater containing radioactive tritium that leaked from a Minnesota nuclear plant may have reached the edge of the Mississippi River, though at levels not harmful to public health, Xcel Energy says.



Activists rally to prevent fracking under Ohio’s largest state park — Allegheny Front

Activists work to build opposition to drilling for oil and gas under public land in Ohio.

Declaring natural gas ‘green energy’ in chicken bill violated Ohio constitution, groups argue — Energy News Network

An Ohio court is set to rule on whether lawmakers violated the state constitution with bill amendments that labeled natural gas as “green energy” and changed an existing law to accelerate oil and gas drilling from public lands.

‘Too much power:’ DeWine veto keeps millions in extra charges off utility bills — Cleveland.com

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine recently vetoed legislation that would have allowed utilities to charge customers to build infrastructure for speculative economic development projects.

Over 450 people in Columbiana County evacuated due to natural gas release from a well — ABC 5

A well strike in Ohio that caused a natural gas release led officials to evacuate people within one mile of the incident.

Clermont County leaders worry chemicals injected into groundwater at Beckjord will impact drinking water — WCPO

Local officials raise concerns about a company’s experimental project to inject chemicals into groundwater to help reduce a sulfate plume near a shuttered coal plant along the Ohio River.

Former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder appeals 20-year prison term in massive corruption scheme — AP

Former House Speaker Larry Householder appeals his 20-year prison sentence two weeks after being convicted for his role in the state’s largest corruption scheme.

Fired First Energy executives team up with others suing to get FE report on Ohio scandal — Ohio Capital Journal
Two former FirstEnergy executives join a legal effort to force the utility to release an internal investigation into wrongdoing during the HB6 bribery scandal.

Prominent lobbyist appeals 5-year prison sentence in historic Ohio corruption scheme — AP

Lobbyist Matt Borges appeals his 5-year sentence on a racketeering conviction related to the HB 6 scandal.

Ohio Statehouse drama continues as lawmakers attempt to repeal scandal-ridden coal plant subsidies — Ohio Capital Journal

State lawmakers squabble over repealing coal plant subsidies and other provisions from 2019’s HB 6 law following convictions in the public corruption scheme tied to the legislation.



Board narrowly approves resolution promoting rooftop solar arrays in future Kenosha County developments — Kenosha News

A Wisconsin county narrowly approves a resolution that encourages businesses and manufacturers to consider rooftop solar opportunities to avoid large-scale projects on agricultural land.

Appeals court finds in favor of controversial power line in western Wisconsin — Wisconsin State Journal

A federal appeals court says environmental groups cannot challenge a Wisconsin transmission line’s route through a wildlife refuge until after federal regulators make a final decision on the project.



As Budget Talks Heat Up in Congress, Republicans Ramp Up Attacks on Climate Spending — Inside Climate News

Congressional Republicans are ramping up their attacks on climate and clean energy spending with new bills to block provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act as well as emission-reduction policies.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now:

Energy News Roundup: Minnesota leading in clean energy, coal plant closing in Michigan

Energy News Roundup: Illinois house passes ethics bill, EPA rule in Indiana


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