Energy News Roundup: Chicago organization to build geothermal heating and cooling in south side alleys

Energy News Roundup: Chicago organization to build geothermal heating and cooling in south side alleys
March 7, 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.   


Click on the headline to read the full story:   



Chicago launches climate lawsuit against oil industry — E&E News by Politico 

 Chicago files a lawsuit accusing six oil companies and a major industry group of waging a campaign to discredit climate science and misleading the public about the dangers of fossil fuels. 

 A geothermal energy boom could be coming to Chicago’s South Side — Grist 

 A Chicago environmental justice organization is helping to build out a geothermal heating and cooling network in the alleys of the city’s South Side. 

 Illinois EPA must revamp its permitting process after Chicago activists file civil rights complaint — Grist 

 Chicago environmental justice advocates score a “significant” victory as the U.S. EPA directs Illinois to make sweeping changes to its permitting process for polluting industries in neighborhoods. 



After recent leaks, residents near Whiting BP oil refinery demand action from state regulators — NBC 5 

Northwest Indiana residents call on state regulators to take action against a BP oil refinery along Lake Michigan. This happened after two separate leaks in January sent fumes and bad odors into the air (which reached all the way to Illinois).  

Drone to survey proposed solar panel areas in Posey County — WEVV 

A developer begins early siting work for a planned 1,400-acre solar project in southwestern Indiana. 



DTE Energy signals another electric rate hike request for spring — Planet Detroit 

DTE will pursue another rate increase this spring. This follows a $368 million rate increase in December. 

Lawmakers across the U.S. seek to curb utility spending on politics, ads and more extras — States Newsroom 

Michigan recently joined roughly a dozen states where proposed legislation seeks to rein in utilities’ use of ratepayer money for lobbying, charitable giving, trade group memberships, and other political spending. 

Ann Arbor to ask voters if they want to reduce reliance on DTE Energy with clean energy microgrids — Michigan Public 

Ann Arbor officials will ask voters whether to approve a Sustainable Energy Utility that would deploy microgrids connecting solar, geothermal, and battery storage across the city. 

Lawmakers band together with newly formed coalition to ban political contributions from utilities — Michigan Advance 

Lawmakers are seeking to ban utility campaign contributions. This comes after reports last year uncovered that 102 of the 148 Michigan lawmakers received campaign contributions from utility companies.  

As some push for repeal, state seeks input on renewable energy siting law — Interlochen Public Radio 

Michigan regulators begin collecting public input on a new state law granting them final authority to approve utility-scale wind and solar projects. 

Federal cash paying for 41 EV charging stations along Michigan highways — WOOD-TV8 

Nearly $23 million in federal funding will help build 41 fast-charging electric vehicle stations on Michigan highway corridors. 

Controversy surrounding a proposed renewable natural gas plant in Three Oaks — ABC 57 

Neighbors raise concerns about property value in regard to the proposed renewable natural gas plant near a southwestern Michigan landfill. 

Young Detroit climate activists demand action, inspire hope — Planet Detroit 

Youth climate advocates rally in downtown Detroit to demand solutions to the climate crisis. 

Michigan boosts funding to attract new EV-related factories — Bridge 

Michigan sets aside $125 million for matching grants to advanced manufacturing companies also seeking federal funds for clean energy and infrastructure projects. 

Rent an electric vehicle with new Kalamazoo ride share — WOOD-TV8 

A new ride-share program at affordable housing projects in Kalamazoo, Michigan, allows users to rent electric vehicles for $5 per hour. 

Luxury EV maker creating $10M engineering hub in Michigan — MLive 

California luxury electric vehicle startup Lucid Motors is setting up a $10 million engineering facility in Michigan. 



AG Ellison Announces End to Community Solar Garden Exit Fees — KNSI 

Minnesota fines four community solar operators nearly $85,000 for charging customers excessive early contract termination fees. 

Twin Cities residents push for environmental justice; combatting the effects of environmental racism — MinnPost 

Minneapolis environmental justice advocates call for the permanent closure of a waste-to-energy facility they say is disproportionately harming communities of color. 

MPCA reports 118 polluter penalties for second half of 2023 — Minnesota Reformer 

Minnesota regulators fined several gas stations hundreds of thousands of dollars for underground storage tank pollution violations. 

Proposed ‘Prove It First’ legislation seeks to protect Boundary Waters by restricting copper mining — MinnPost 

A Minnesota bill would prohibit the state from issuing copper-sulfide mining permits before receiving proof that a mine has operated elsewhere in the U.S. and has not polluted the surrounding environment after closing. 



Corruption tax? Policy expert says that’s basically what Ohio utility consumers have been paying — Ohio Capital Journal 

Ohio leadership went along with problematic rate hikes that were demanded by regulated utilities. Public policy experts say it’s likely hundreds of millions of dollars in rate increases since 2009.  

Court dismisses appeal to block drilling and fracking under Ohio park and wildlife areas — Energy News Network 

An Ohio judge dismisses environmental groups’ request to halt a state commission’s plan to start accepting bids for oil and gas drilling under state park and wildlife areas. 

Former Ohio Speaker Householder files appeal, says bribe payment was within First Amendment rights — Ohio Capital Journal 

Former Ohio House Speaker, Larry Householder, appeals his conviction and 20-year prison sentence, claiming the bribe he accepted from FirstEnergy was within his First Amendment rights. 



Enbridge Wants Line 5 Shutdown Order Overturned on Tribal Land in Northern Wisconsin — Inside Climate News 

Some legal scholars say Enbridge is using a longshot legal argument to keep Line 5 operating on tribal land in Wisconsin based on a 1977 treaty between the U.S. and Canada. 

FBI investigates Waukesha solar installation company, executes warrant — FOX 6 

The FBI is opening a fraud investigation into a Wisconsin solar company that has received dozens of formal complaints from customers. 

With federal funds flowing, weatherization industry prepares to fill the gaps  — Energy News Network 

A new weatherization jobs resource hub in Wisconsin is part of advocates’ effort to avoid the boom-and-bust cycle that followed previous increases in federal energy efficiency funding. 

Tribes seek Biden backing for Line 5 pipeline opposition — E&E News 

Leaders of 30 tribal nations across the Great Lakes region call on the Biden administration to support a tribe’s fight against Enbridge’s Line 5 on reservation land in northern Wisconsin. 

Forest County Potawatomi adds to solar capacity as it works towards 100% carbon neutral goal — WXPR 

The Forest County Potawatomi Community is installing rooftop solar on buildings in Wisconsin to achieve “energy sovereignty across the tribal nation.”  



Utility Fraud and Corruption Are Threatening the Clean Energy Transition — Mother Jones 

The FirstEnergy scandal unfolding in Ohio is part of a resurgence of fraud and corruption in the U.S. utility sector that come as those companies aim to spend billions of dollars in clean energy initiatives. 

Biden’s climate law fines oil companies for methane pollution. The bill is coming due. — Grist 

Some oil and gas companies could be liable for tens of millions of dollars in fees under a federal Inflation Reduction Act provision that penalizes methane emissions. 

100% EVs, green grid would prevent 2.8M child asthma attacks — report — E&E News 

Achieving strong zero-emission vehicle and energy targets in the coming 15 years could prevent nearly 2.8 million asthma attacks among children, according to a new American Lung Association report. 

Why industry is blocking the push for more energy efficient homes — Washington Post 

The home builder lobby is mobilizing members to fight stronger energy-efficient building standards, inflating upfront costs and ignoring how efficiency measures could quickly pay for themselves through lower energy bills. 

Judge pushes back conference in ComEd case with sentencing in limbo — Center Square 

Defense attorneys say a forthcoming U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Illinois’ bribery statute could upend the convictions of four former ComEd executives. 

EPA approves year-round sales of higher ethanol blend in 8 Midwest states — Associated Press 

The U.S. EPA issues a final rule to allow year-round sales of higher blends of corn-based ethanol in eight Midwestern states despite concerns that it could worsen smog during warm weather. 

Utilities weigh power demand from AI amid clean energy transition — WPR 

Wisconsin utility executives discuss how they’re preparing for a spike in power demand from artificial intelligence and data centers as renewable energy displaces fossil fuels. 

At least 10 states quietly own lands within Indian reservations — and profit from them — Grist 

State land trusts own more than 1.5 million surface and subsurface acres within tribal reservations, generating profits for state entities through various industries, including oil and gas production. 

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now:

Energy News Roundup: Tribal leaders appear at a federal courthouse in Chicago to challenge Line 5

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


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