Energy News Roundup: Ohio bipartisan energy efficiency bill stalled by Koch-linked group

Energy News Roundup: Ohio bipartisan energy efficiency bill stalled by Koch-linked group
January 25, 2024 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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Illinois lands $14.9M federal grant to expand electric vehicle charging network — Chicago Sun-Times 

Illinois lands a $14.9 million federal grant to install electric vehicle charging stations at 273 new locations, including 36 fast-charging stations. 

USDA grants to increase ethanol-based fuel at IL gas stations — WCIA 

Three convenience store chains in Illinois receive a combined $10 million in federal Inflation Reduction Act funding to install biofuel storage tanks and dispensers. 

Unit 5: Energy efficiency boost in many schools saved district more than $5M — WGLT 

An Illinois school district saved $4.3 million in energy costs by investing in energy efficiency measures at multiple schools. 

Salem City Council votes to pursue solar power facility at old landfill — WJBD 

A southern Illinois city selects a developer’s plan to build a solar project on a former landfill that will provide $5.5 million in lease payments over 25 years. 

Major solar farm builder settles case alleging it violated clean water rules — Associated Press 

A construction company that built solar farms across the U.S. will pay $2.3 million to settle claims that it violated federal and state water regulations in Illinois and two other states. 

Illinois awarded $7 million for electric vehicle chargers — FOX 2 

Illinois will use $7 million in federal funding to repair, replace or upgrade more than 100 Level 2 and fast-charging stations across the state. 



NIPSCO, Linde to pay $66.7M to settle charges for gaming MISO demand response program — Utility Dive 

Indiana utility NIPSCO and a chemical company will pay $66.7 million to settle charges related to manipulating grid operator MISO’s demand response program. 

Bill would give counties more flexibility to access ‘solar-, wind-ready community’ incentives — WFYI 

An Indiana bill would loosen criteria for counties to qualify for incentives under a state program to encourage consistent statewide permitting rules for wind and solar projects. 

From wind to wings, renewable energy powering Indiana land values — AgriNews 

The head of an Indiana farm management and real estate services firm says wind turbines add $500 to $1,000 in property value per acre for each turbine hosted onsite. 

Youth climate group urges action at Statehouse, shows support for select bills — Indiana Public Radio 

Indiana youth climate activists call on state lawmakers to pass bills supporting community solar, creating incentives for wetland protections and requiring permits for large water withdrawals. 



Michigan ranks # 2 for power outages — Planet Detroit 

Michigan has had the second-highest number of major power outages among states since 2000, with 132 events when at least 50,000 customers lost power, according to a Climate Central report. 

New nuclear power ‘necessary’ to meet Michigan’s climate goals — MLive 

A draft report commissioned by Michigan regulators says new and existing nuclear generation will be necessary for the state to meet recently adopted clean energy targets. 

Delis, milkshakes and liquor: How gas stations aim to survive in Michigan — Bridge 

Some of Michigan’s 5,000 gas station operators say they will lean more into custom delis, selling liquor and other retail options to stay profitable as electric vehicle adoption grows. 

Dearborn to shift all city buildings to 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2026 — WXYZ 

Dearborn, Michigan, becomes the largest city in the state to enroll in a utility’s voluntary clean energy program to offset all municipal buildings’ power use with renewables by 2026. 

The power of property taxes — Harbor Country News 

A southwestern Michigan county could lose up to $3.5 million in tax revenue if a nuclear plant owner is successful in reducing the plant’s taxable value. 

States with big climate goals strip local power to block green projects — Associated Press 

Michigan is among a growing number of states that are moving renewable energy siting authority from local governments to state regulators in an effort to get more projects built. 

Michigan lawmakers have more energy priorities in 2024 — Bridge 

After passing sweeping clean energy laws last year, Michigan legislators still are considering a variety of energy bills involving community solar, grid reliability and utilities’ political contributions. 

Michigan utilities ordered to communicate better during power outages — MLive 

Michigan regulators order the state’s two largest utilities to improve communication with first responders and local governments during outages and extreme weather conditions. 

Auto experts: Competition, politics, fading subsidies could affect Michigan EV sales — Bridge 

Analysts say waning federal subsidies, global competition and uncertainty with this year’s presidential election could slow Michigan-based automakers’ electric vehicle sales. 

Detroit wins $5.9M grant to purchase 15 clean-energy school buses — Model D Media 

Detroit Public Schools will use nearly $6 million in federal funding to replace 15 diesel-powered buses with models powered by electricity, compressed natural gas or propane. 

Environmentalists oppose legislation to classify factory farm ‘biogas’ as clean energy — Metro Times 

Michigan environmental groups raise concerns over legislation that would define biogas from animal waste at industrial farms as clean energy. 

Ford cuts production of F-150 Lightning pickup on weaker-than-expected electric vehicle sales growth — Associated Press 

Ford is cutting back production of its F-150 Lightning electric truck upon lower-than-forecasted electric vehicle sales. 

State board OKs petition to repeal Michigan renewable energy siting law — Bridge 

A Michigan panel allows organizers to start collecting signatures for a ballot initiative seeking to overturn a state law giving state regulators authority over renewable energy permitting. 



As session approaches, Minnesota lawmakers plan to keep advancing shift to clean energy — MPR 

After passing sweeping clean energy bills last year, Minnesota lawmakers expect to temper their climate policy ambitions this year as advocates hope for pragmatic solutions to build clean energy projects. 

Drivers say electric vehicle batteries perform worse amid cold weather — WCCO 

“It definitely dies a lot faster” and requires more planning, Minnesota Tesla drivers report about their car batteries during currently frigid temperatures. 

Supporters, opponents discuss proposed natural gas plant in Superior — Northern News Now 

Dozens of residents, local officials and business leaders are divided over Minnesota Power’s plans for a 550 MW natural gas plant in northern Wisconsin near Lake Superior. 

Xcel Energy proposes time-of-use rates as the default option for Minnesota customers — Energy News Network 

Xcel Energy wants time-of-use rates to be the default billing system for its Minnesota residential customers, proposing to double prices for power during peak late afternoon and early evening hours. 



How a Koch-linked group stalled a bipartisan Ohio energy efficiency bill at the last minute — Energy News Network 

Emails show how a major conservative advocacy group used misinformation to stop a bipartisan Ohio bill to create voluntary energy efficiency programs, drawing the ire of some Republicans. 

Columbus electric customers to see higher bills after city renegotiates green energy deal — Columbus Dispatch 

Nearly 200,000 customers participating in Columbus, Ohio’s clean energy aggregation program will see rate increases despite an initial contract locking in costs long term. 

New filings challenge HB 6 audit protective order — Checks & Balances Project 

Ohio’s consumer advocate and large utility customers ask state regulators to lift a protective order on redacted parts of an audit into the effects of HB 6 on ratepayers. 

Biden administration pours $623M into EV charging void — E&E News 

The Biden administration announces $623 million in infrastructure funding to fill electric vehicle charging gaps in Ohio and other regions of the country. 

EDF Renewables, Enbridge plug in phase 1 of Ohio’s largest solar farm — Renewables Now 

Enbridge and a development partner start operating a 150 MW solar project in Ohio, the first phase of a larger 577 MW project. 

Ohio House Dems propose PUCO nomination overhaul — Ohio Capital Journal 

Ohio Democrats propose changing how nominations and appointments are made to the state’s Public Utilities Commission in an effort to improve consumer protection following a major corruption scandal. 

Neighbors worry about flooding from Nestlewood Solar: ‘We’re going to lose our property because of this’ — WCPO 

Opponents of an 80 MW Ohio solar project blame it for recent flooding; a state official said the ponding was in line with what would be expected after an especially wet week. 

Apex and Microsoft sign PPA for 125MW Ohio solar project — PV Tech 

Microsoft signs a power purchase agreement to acquire the generation from a 125 MW solar project in Ohio. 

Ohio Supreme Court: Ex-regulator’s assets can be frozen in connection with FirstEnergy case — Ohio Capital Journal 

The Ohio Supreme Court rules that assets of the former head of the state’s Public Utilities Commission can be frozen in connection to a corruption scandal where he accepted a $4.3 million bribe from FirstEnergy. 

Utilities don’t want to answer questions about OVEC’s finances or generation strategy — Checks and Balances Project 

Two Ohio utilities oppose attempts by ratepayer advocates to seek more information on the operations and finances of two money-losing coal plants that are receiving support from HB 6. 



We Energies wants to buy a second share of Alliant’s West Riverside natural gas plant in Beloit — Journal Sentinel 

 Wisconsin regulators are reviewing We Energies’ request to purchase a 100 MW share of a natural gas plant in Beloit owned by Alliant Energy for $94.5 million. 

EV charging legislation passes state budget committee, would open door to $78 million in federal funds — Wisconsin State Journal 

A Wisconsin committee advances legislation to exempt gas stations and grocery stores from a law requiring charging station operators to be regulated as utilities. 

Milwaukee-area lawyer Rebecca Valcq to step down as chairperson of the Wisconsin PSC — WUWM 

The chairperson of Wisconsin’s Public Service Commission plans to step down on Feb. 2 while a GOP-led committee denies the confirmation of another member appointed by Gov. Tony Evers. 

Lawmakers vote to fire Evers appointee, pass EV, tax cut and licensing bills — Wisconsin Examiner 

Wisconsin’s GOP-controlled Senate votes to fire a former renewable energy advocate from the state’s Public Service Commission in a move Democrats say was purely political. 

Wisconsin Senate passes bills clearing the way for electric vehicle charging stations across state — Associated Press 

The Wisconsin Senate passes a pair of bills that would make it easier for private businesses to host charging stations and allow the state to access nearly $80 million in federal construction aid. 

Alliant Energy completes 50-megawatt Beaver Dam solar project — Daily Reporter 

Alliant Energy completes a 50 MW solar project that’s part of the utility’s broader plan to complete 12 projects across Wisconsin. 



Q&A: Anti-Fracking Activist Sandra Steingraber on Scientists’ Moral Obligation to Speak Out — Inside Climate News 

Longtime scientist and advocate Sandra Steingraber says researchers have an obligation to speak on hydraulic fracking’s links to environmental health problems, and likens well sites as “these sort of giant cigarettes in the earth.” 

Gas plants ‘disproportionately vulnerable to failure,’ warns Union of Concerned Scientists report — Utility Dive 

A new Union of Concerned Scientists report warns about the vulnerability of gas plants during extreme temperatures and cautions against the “vicious cycle” of investing in new gas-fired resources. 

Federal rule forces oil states to cut planet-warming methane emissions — States Newsroom 

While environmental groups see a new federal rule as a major opportunity to cut methane emissions, officials in oil- and gas-producing states see burdensome regulations that won’t move the emissions needle. 

Brain drain worries grow as energy, climate lawmakers exit — E&E News 

The planned departure of several longtime U.S. House and Senate members who have played key roles in energy policy raises concerns about brain drain with the loss of their institutional knowledge on issues. 

What If the Clean Energy Transition Costs Much Less Than We’ve Been Told? — Inside Climate News 

A new report challenges assumptions that the global cost of the clean energy transition will be astronomical, but rather much less when accounting for the loss in fossil fuel spending.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

Energy News Roundup: Line 5 approval is appealed by tribes and environmental groups

Energy News Roundup: Community solar projects seen as key step toward energy justice in Illinois, Great Lakes offshore wind farm put on hold



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