Energy News Roundup: Renewable energy fuels major economic payoffs in rural Indiana, Amazon announces its first Michigan solar farm project

Energy News Roundup: Renewable energy fuels major economic payoffs in rural Indiana, Amazon announces its first Michigan solar farm project
November 30, 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.

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Halpin supports lifting Illinois nuclear plant moratorium as part of clean-energy solution — Local 4 News

An Illinois state senator says he backed a bill to lift the state’s nuclear moratorium to advance modular reactor research and “provide a bridge” during the renewable energy transition.

Policies around CO2 pipelines return for annual meeting debate — FarmWeekNow

Illinois Farm Bureau delegates continue to debate support for a temporary moratorium as well as more safety measures on carbon capture pipelines.

Residents in Henry, Stark counties raising safety concerns over proposed CO2 pipeline — WQAD

Residents in two Illinois counties raise public safety concerns with plans for a 300-mile carbon pipeline between food processing plants.

Illinois could see more nuclear reactors by 2026 — WBEZ

Critics of a bill to lift Illinois’ 35-year ban on new nuclear plant construction to support small modular reactors say the plan is based on speculative, expensive technology. (WBEZ)

Citizens Utility Board criticizes Nicor’s requested rate hike ahead of tomorrow’s ruling — WBBM

Illinois regulators will decide today on rate increase requests from three gas utilities that total nearly $900 million and face strong criticism from ratepayer advocates.



County Plan Commission approves new solar ordinance — Herald Bulletin

An Indiana county advances zoning regulations that create setback distances and overall size limits for commercial solar projects, years after having a moratorium in place.

Renewable energy fuels major economic payoffs in rural Indiana — WSIU

Despite headwinds from local misinformation, renewable energy has generated $9 billion in investment in Indiana and paid nearly $27 million in local and state taxes.

Indiana announces grant program to bolster energy efficiency, conservation — WNDU

Indiana is rolling out a $1.46 million grant program to help local governments invest in energy efficiency.

Critics say Indiana utility is ‘backsliding’ on clean energy goals with planned gas plant — Energy News Network

Critics say NIPSCO’s plan for a 400 MW natural gas-powered peaker unit at a former Indiana coal plant is unnecessary and out of line with the utility’s clean energy goals.

Mammoth Solar project doubles land use with local animal, crop production — Inside Indiana Business

The developer of a $1.5 billion, 1.6 GW solar project in northwestern Indiana wants to incorporate crops and livestock on the sprawling site.



Michigan to burn more natural gas for power, but prices lower than last winter — MLive

Michigan regulators expect the state’s natural gas use to increase 7.6% in 2023 amid a large uptick in demand for power generation.

Consumers Energy to bury power lines in major infrastructure upgrade to combat frequent outages — NBC 25

Michigan utility Consumers Energy launches several pilot projects to bury power lines as part of a broader $5.4 billion grid reliability plan.

Amazon announces its first Michigan solar farm project — MLive

Amazon announces plans to build a 200 MW solar project in Indiana as well as an 85 MW project in Michigan.

Solar, wind energy bills have impact on Delta County — Daily Press

Local officials in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where renewable energy development has led to local disputes, grapple with a new state law that moves permitting decisions to state regulators.

Stellantis offers buyouts to some US salaried employees — Detroit News

Automaker Stellantis offers voluntary buyouts to thousands of non-union workers in part because of the company’s transition to electric vehicles.

Presque Isle County approves land lease for DTE solar project — Up North Live

A northeastern Michigan county board approves a land lease with DTE Energy for a utility-scale solar project.

Michigan wants 100 percent of its electricity to be clean by 2040 — Grist

The definition of “clean energy” in Michigan’s new climate law was “hotly contested” in the state House, where Democrats hold only a single-vote majority.

Smart Parking Lab aims at changing how cities use parking, storing EVs in downtown Detroit — ClickOnDetroit

A Detroit parking garage is testing alternative electric vehicle charging options, including floor-mounted charging pads and chargers affixed to city light poles.

Ambitious plan to build solar arrays on blighted, vacant land in Detroit has come into effect — ClickOnDetroit

Nine Detroit neighborhoods are selected as finalists for building solar projects on vacant or blighted land.

Clinton County plans new wind and solar restrictions that the state could overrule — Lansing State Journal

A central Michigan county continues to plan for restrictions on wind and solar development despite the potential of being overruled by the state under a soon-to-become law.

Michigan river towns ‘very vocal and upset’ about possible changes at hydro dams — MLive

Michigan residents living near 13 aging hydroelectric dams raise concerns about recreation and quality of life disruptions if the facilities are decommissioned.

Will there be supply shortages or price spikes if Line 5 is shut down? — WDIV

A consulting firm releases a study saying energy markets would adapt and offer alternatives if Line 5 is shut down in the Straits of Mackinac.

As Detroit solar plan advances, community activists are wary — Energy News Network

Detroit neighborhood activists are divided over the city’s plan to build ground-mounted solar projects across vacant and blighted properties.

Grand Rapids seeks options for solar project at former landfill — Crain’s Grand Rapids Business

Grand Rapids, Michigan, seeks options from potential developers of an up to 16 MW, two-phase solar project on a former landfill and remediated U.S. EPA superfund site.

First public curbside EV chargers come to Ann Arbor — WDIV

Ann Arbor becomes the first Michigan city to mount electric vehicle chargers on utility poles to increase public access.

A look inside the Ingham County Land Bank’s first fully solar-powered home, now for sale — Lansing State Journal

A Michigan county’s affordable homeownership program completes its first fully solar-powered house.

Oakland County launches new home energy program — Oakland Press

A southeastern Michigan county will use $5 million in federal funding to offer grants and loans for income-qualified homeowners.



Minnesota utilities target small transmission upgrades with big grid impacts — Energy News Network

A group of utilities will spend roughly $130 million on 19 small-scale transmission upgrades to open bottlenecks and move more wind power from western Minnesota to the Dakotas.

Commissioners get solar farm update — Austin Daily Herald

A developer hopes to start construction on a 100 MW southeastern Minnesota solar project by May 2025.

Agency combats poverty one energy audit at a time — MPR

A Minnesota community action agency formed in the 1960s continues work to weatherize homes for income-qualifying residents.



HB6 enabled coal company that donated to Householder bribery fund to keep overcharging for coal — Checks and Balances Project

After contributing $250,000 to the fund used to bribe former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, a coal company was overpaid $12.6 million for the coal it supplied to two plants that received subsidies under the tainted legislation.

Utility scale solar power is coming to Ohio. The innovative way it could be a boon for sheep farmers — WYSO

Ohio farmers see new opportunities for grazing sheep as more commercial solar projects come online across the state.

Ohio panel to decide on fracking state parks this week — Cleveland.com

An Ohio panel will decide this week whether to open thousands of acres of state parks and other state lands for oil and gas exploration where mineral rights could go to the highest bidder.

Dayton receives international distinction for its sustainability efforts — Ideastream

The U.S. Green Buildings Council designates Dayton, Ohio, as the only city in the state, and fourth in the world, with LEED Platinum status.

Another judge hammers former Ohio utility regulator Randazzo in FirstEnergy case — Ohio Capital Journal

Ohio judges continue to admonish the state’s former top energy regulator for attempting to stall while handing over documents related to investigations into the state’s power plant bailout law.

Ohio commission approves fracking in state parks and wildlife areas despite fraud investigation — Associated Press

An Ohio commission opens several state-owned parcels for potential oil and gas drilling during a contentious meeting that brought strong opposition.

Enbridge invests in 577-MW Ohio solar project of EDF Renewables — Renewables Now

Enbridge will become a 50% partner in a 749 MW Ohio solar project that’s being built over three phases.

FBI raided a regulator’s home. FirstEnergy said it bribed him with millions. Since then, silence — Cleveland.com

Ohio’s former top utility regulator, who accepted what FirstEnergy said was a $4.3 million bribe from the utility, has not been charged with a crime three years after federal agents raided his home.

New Steubenville solar plant to generate education money — WTRF

A developer plans to repurpose strip-mined land in Ohio for a 43 MW solar project.

AEP, FirstEnergy urge FERC to reject complaint seeking expanded transmission project oversight — Utility Dive

Ohio utilities ask federal regulators to dismiss a complaint from Ohio’s consumer advocate seeking more cost oversight of plans to build nearly $6.5 billion in transmission projects.



Great Lakes oil spill researchers receive $3.8M from Canada — MLive

A nearly $4 million grant from the Canadian government will help researchers study the behavior and potential impacts of oil spills in the Great Lakes.



Advocates press Wisconsin regulators to reconsider natural gas plant need — Energy News Network

Clean energy advocates say Wisconsin regulators should withdraw their prior approval for a 625 MW natural gas plant, citing the availability of new federal clean energy incentives and expected new battery storage capacity.

Wisconsin coal plants are closing, but ratepayers are still on the hook — Energy News Network

Wisconsin consumer advocates say utilities should not continue to profit from shuttered coal plants, and call on state regulators to use financing tools such as securitization to limit ratepayer impacts.

Virtual meeting to discuss new permit for We Energies Generating Station in Oak Creek on Nov. 20 — Racine County Eye

Wisconsin regulators will hold a virtual forum next week on an amended pollution discharge permit for a We Energies coal plant where a new wastewater treatment system would be installed.

Green Bay unveils Clean Energy Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Here’s what to know. — Press Gazette

Green Bay, Wisconsin, officials unveil the city’s first clean energy plan that calls for renewable energy and electric vehicles to help reach a net zero carbon target by 2050.

Assembly Democrats take aim at climate change in large package of bills — Wisconsin Examiner

Wisconsin Democrats propose a sweeping, 20-bill climate package that they hope gains at least some bipartisan support with measures involving energy efficiency and agriculture.



Environmental Justice a Key Theme Throughout Biden’s National Climate Assessment — Inside Climate News

The latest National Climate Assessment is the first to heavily emphasize the disproportionate effects of climate change on low-income families and communities of color.

Clean energy is booming. So why are manufacturers struggling? — E&E News

The economics behind clean energy development become “messy” as projects become more costly to finance, despite an ongoing rise in demand.

Wind and solar energy are booming in surprising places — Washington Post

Communities that once hosted coal, oil or gas infrastructure make up only 18.6% of the U.S. population but received 36.8% of clean energy investments following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

Federal report forecasts the Midwest’s climate future — Minnesota Reformer

More stress on infrastructure, public health risks and disrupted growing seasons are among anticipated long-term climate impacts in the Midwest, according to the latest national climate assessment.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: States rebrand energy to meet electricity targets, Ohio legislation to declare nuclear power as ‘green energy’

Energy News Roundup: Vision for green energy in underserved communities, nationwide burst of clean energy jobs


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