Energy News Roundup: Opposition over solar development in Illinois, excessive heat in Detroit

Energy News Roundup: Opposition over solar development in Illinois, excessive heat in Detroit
September 7, 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:



Will County solar boom not entirely welcomed — Herald-News

Some Illinois local officials say a recent state law limits their ability to block commercial solar developments amid landowner opposition.

Illinois appellate court pauses Grain Belt Express project — FarmWeek

An Illinois appeals court halts further work on the proposed Grain Belt Express transmission line through the state as it weighs the project’s constitutionality.

Illinois Environmental Groups Applaud Vetoes by Pritzker — Inside Climate News

Illinois environmental groups praise Gov. J.B. Pritzker for vetoing three recent bills that would have opened new nuclear development, given a utility first rights to build transmission lines and advanced a highway expansion project.



NAACP’s six-point plan for equitable expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure — Indianapolis Recorder

The Indiana NAACP issues a six-point plan to ensure equity with the state’s electric vehicle charging buildout, including ensuring diverse hiring practices and placing chargers in disadvantaged communities.

A developer chose a rural carbon sequestration site to avoid controversy. It didn’t go well. — Energy News Network

A developer’s plan for a major carbon sequestration site in rural Indiana has generated fierce landowner pushback and public health concerns.



Ann Arbor carbon emissions up 2 years in a row, new estimates show — MLive

Carbon emissions have ticked back up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, after a pandemic-related decline, prompting some local officials to raise concerns that the city is not decarbonizing fast enough.

Nuclear power plant in Monroe County offline due to non-emergency situation — WTOL

Leaking coolant causes a southeastern Michigan nuclear plant to temporarily shut down, though regulators say there is no threat to the public.

Hempcrete shows promise for healthy housing rehabilitation — Energy News Network

A small but growing number of builders in Michigan are experimenting with hempcrete, a safer and more sustainable alternative to foam or fiberglass insulation.

Solar project sues Decatur Township after zoning vote — WOOD

A developer sues a southwestern Michigan township to proceed with a 650-acre solar project under a previous ordinance that was later rejected by voters.

Decatur Twp sued over solar project, trustees hold special meeting — Fox 17

A Michigan township board meets in closed session to discuss a lawsuit filed against it by a solar developer whose project was denied this month.

Detroit needs a better plan for extreme heat, experts and advocates say — Planet Detroit

Climate experts say Detroit needs a more robust response plan to excessive heat, saying city residents are at heightened risk, particularly during power outages.

‘Solar grazing’ is a way for farmers and solar companies to use land. But there are challenges — Interlochen Public Radio

Michigan farmers are increasingly working with solar developers to place livestock alongside solar panels.

Michigan Dems rally around bills aimed at increasing access to solar energy — Michigan Advance

Michigan Democrats call for the swift passage of a bill package that aims to improve residents’ access to solar, including through community solar projects and lifting caps on utility distributed generation programs.

New settlement agreement aims to put spotlight on DTE-linked dark money — Planet Detroit Energy News Network

Detroit area rep proposes ban on secret money from DTE, other utilities to politicians — Fox 2

A provision in a Michigan regulatory case will require DTE Energy to disclose certain contributions to a dark money nonprofit advocacy group, though advocates say more could be done to improve transparency.

The snowy U.P.: Ideal for testing solar panels — Upword

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula provides researchers an ideal location to study the effect of snow and harsh winters on solar tracking systems.

Study: It would cost $1.4B to relicense 13 Consumers Energy hydro dams — Fox 17

Consumers Energy operates a fleet of 13 hydroelectric dams in Michigan at a $152 million annual loss, and relicensing them would cost $1.4 billion, according to a new study.



‘We just wanted to tell kids that this is the future’: Albertville school switches to solar power — KARE

A Minnesota early childhood school installs rooftop solar not only for the environmental and economic benefits, but also to provide a learning opportunity to students.

Minnesota state and tribal leaders meet with the EPA to discuss air pollution — WCCO

Minnesota state and tribal leaders met with U.S. EPA officials to discuss how to use $4 million from a climate pollution reduction grant program.

Pilot project combines solar and farming — KARE

A Minnesota pilot project explores how farmers and developers can partner to grow vegetable crops alongside solar projects.

‘I’m not the guilty one’: the water protector facing jail time for trying to stop a pipeline — The Guardian

A trial starts today for a Minnesota pipeline protester who faces up to five years in prison for her role in blocking a pumping station while protesting the Line 3 expansion in 2021.



Critics question how climate-friendly an Appalachian ‘blue’ hydrogen hub will be — Energy News Network

Critics say efforts to make Appalachian Ohio a “blue” hydrogen hub would be an energy- and water-intensive decarbonization strategy that largely benefits the oil and gas industry.

Production at Ultium resumes after battery slurry leak — WFMJ

Officials report a chemical leak at an Ohio electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant jointly operated by General Motors and LG, prompting a federal investigation.

Lebanon to build solar arrays to generate electricity for customers — Dayton Daily News

An Ohio city council approves a contract for construction of a 10 MW megawatt solar array on city-owned land in a flood plain.

Four more townships added to list banning solar, wind farms — Morning Journal
Four more Ohio townships join a list of those banning large solar and wind farms in their unincorporated areas.



Activists pressure DNR to shut down Wisconsin oil pipeline — WKOW

Demonstrators rally at the Wisconsin Capitol to call on state officials to shut down the Line 5 pipeline.



‘Down your throat’: Biden pushes CCS on polluted places — E&E News

Environmental justice advocates say the Biden administration is forcing carbon capture and storage projects on disadvantaged communities that have disproportionately suffered from pollution.

Appalachian Economy Sees Few Gains From Natural Gas Development, Report Says — Inside Climate News

Natural gas drilling in Appalachian states failed to produce promised increases in jobs and income over the past 15 years, and the industry’s output has likely peaked, according to a nonprofit research firm’s report.

Only 6% of gas capacity needs major changes to meet EPA’s proposed GHG rules: RMI report — Utility Dive

Almost all of the country’s gas-fired power plant capacity could meet proposed U.S. EPA emission rules with only minor operational changes, according to an environmental group’s new analysis that contrasts with more dire predictions by grid operators and utilities.

Bare electrical wire and leaning poles on Maui were possible cause of deadly fires  — Associated Press

An analysis of videos and images finds Hawaiian Electric lines near the deadly Maui wildfire’s ignition point were uninsulated, enabling them to spark on contact with dry grasses.

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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