Energy News Roundup: State senators advocate for ‘community solar’ projects, proposed natural gas plant gets renewed scrutiny

Energy News Roundup: State senators advocate for ‘community solar’ projects, proposed natural gas plant gets renewed scrutiny
March 23, 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:    



Illinois EPA announces grants to fund energy efficiency assessments in areas of environmental justice concern — Southerner 

An Illinois program will provide $500,000 in grants to local organizations that make energy efficiency investments in environmental justice communities. 

Convicted ex-utility boss wants to pause SEC civil case — Center Square 

 The former ComEd CEO convicted of bribery conspiracy asks a judge to delay the U.S. SEC’s civil case against her. 

Governor Pritzker Launches Solar Energy Grant Program — WSIL 

Illinois announces $8.5 million in funding to support community solar projects in low-income and historically disinvested communities. 



Indiana to promote state’s EV industry in trade trip to South Korea — Indianapolis Business Journal 

Indiana officials leading an economic development trade trip to South Korea this week aim to attract more electric vehicle investments. 

IDEM says it can’t make air pollution permits stricter. Experts say that’s only partially true — IPR 

Indiana regulators say they are limited in setting more stringent air pollution requirements, though former state officials say options are available to reduce pollution in areas that fail to meet air quality standards. 

10 Republican-led states file lawsuit to block SEC’s climate disclosure rule — Utility Dive 

Indiana’s attorney general joins a lawsuit seeking to block the SEC’s climate disclosure rule shortly after it was finalized last week. 



The battle against Michigan power outages yields little accountability — Planet Detroit 

A year after a severe ice storm left 700,000 Michigan residents without power, calls for improved reliability and accountability continue. 

Gotion submits site plan to Mecosta County for EV battery factory — Bridge 

A developer submits construction plans for a nearly $2.4 billion battery manufacturing plant in central Michigan. 

Consumers Energy gets OK to bury power lines in 6 Michigan counties: What it means — Detroit Free Press 

Michigan regulators approve a Consumers Energy pilot project that will bury about 10 miles of power lines in six counties to help improve reliability. 

Michigan Public Service Commission approves $92M electrical rate increase for Consumers Energy — Michigan Advance 

A $92 million rate increase that Michigan regulators approved for Consumers Energy focuses on investments to improve reliability. 

Michigan has 9 months to figure out new energy law. Some say time is wasting — Bridge 

Stakeholders seek guidance from Michigan regulators on how local governments can craft clean energy siting regulations ahead of a new law taking effect this year that gives the state more siting authority. 

Grixdale Farms nixed for city solar initiative; questions remain for 8 remaining neighborhoods — Planet Detroit 

A Detroit neighborhood is removed from consideration for a series of city-backed solar projects amid local opposition. 

A $1,700 duplex from the Land Bank is now one of the most energy efficient homes in Detroit — Planet Detroit 

Seven years after buying a dilapidated Detroit duplex for $1,700, a homeowner completes a $275,000 renovation into a net-zero home for low-income renters. 

Michigan state senators advocate for “community solar” projects in a virtual event — WMUK 

A conservative lawmaker from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula joins an Ann Arbor Democrat to sponsor community solar legislation they say would ultimately benefit ratepayers. 

Tribes urge U.S. to weigh in on Line 5 case as appeal sits in court — Michigan Advance 

Great Lakes tribal leaders, along with federal judges, are waiting for the Biden administration to state its position on whether the Line 5 pipeline should be shut down on tribal land in northern Wisconsin. 



Northern Foundry closing Hibbing facility and laying off 91, partly blaming Minnesota Power utility rates — Star Tribune 

A northern Minnesota foundry in part blames rising electricity prices for its decision to close and lay off 91 workers. 



Ohio utility regulators’ decision disenfranchised apartment renters, consumer advocate says — Energy News Network 

Ohio’s consumer advocate wants the state Supreme Court to overturn a decision that prevented it from representing apartment residents in a case involving a submetering company. 

Commercial Operations Launch on Vesper Energy Nestlewood Solar — Solar Industry Magazine 

A developer begins operating an 80 MW solar project at a site outside Cincinnati that was one of the first to qualify as an energy community under the Inflation Reduction Act. 

Ohio State Representatives introduce bill to stop utility providers from passing lobbying costs onto customers — WFMJ 

An Ohio bill would prohibit utilities from passing lobbying costs on to ratepayers and require more disclosures of political spending. 

Parsing legal definitions, power industry pushes back on EPA coal ash enforcement  — Energy News Network 

Industry groups argue in court that the U.S. EPA’s 2015 coal ash rules don’t specifically bar coal ash at an Ohio power plant from contact with groundwater, and that the agency’s enforcement efforts  amount to new federal rulemaking. 



We Energies plans to spend $335M on Microsoft development in Mount Pleasant — WPR 

We Energies plans to spend $335 million on grid infrastructure upgrades to prepare a Wisconsin site for a Microsoft data center. 

Solar, energy storage projects covering Wisconsin tribal lands up for nearly $24M in federal funding — WisconsinInno 

Two solar and battery storage projects planned on tribal land in Wisconsin may qualify for up to $24 million in federal funding to offset development costs. 

Molson Coors brews beer with 300 MW solar project — PV Magazine 

Molson Coors is one of the off-takers of electricity from Wisconsin’s largest solar project to power operations at a brewing facility. 

Proposed natural gas plant in Superior gets renewed scrutiny — MPR News 

Some local officials who backed a planned natural gas plant in Superior, Wisconsin have become more skeptical of the project. 



NRC releases plan to speed nuclear reactor build-out — E&E News 

Federal nuclear regulators release a long-awaited proposal aimed at speeding up the licensing process for small, advanced reactors. 

States eye rescue of retiring coal plants — E&E News 

Republican lawmakers in four Midwest states are part of a movement to pass legislation that props up retiring coal plants, even though ratepayers may foot the bill as coal fails to compete on price with clean energy. 

Utilities Are Buying Pricier ‘Responsible Gas.’ But for What Climate Benefit? — DeSmog 

Ratepayers are increasingly on the hook to pay the extra costs for “certified gas” promising low-pollution but that critics warn is rife with problems.

Catch more news at Great Lakes Now: 

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

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


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