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Iowa's new energy plan: More renewable energy, stronger power grid

Iowa's new energy strategy envisions electric car-charging stations across the state, anaerobic digesters that turn animal waste to energy, and top state and federal researchers finding ways to store wind and solar energy.  Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds released the broad energy report Wednesday that looks at Iowa's energy needs over the next decade. It provided 45 recommendations ranging from modernizing the state's electric power grid to improving state tax credits for solar energy.

Understanding the Renewable Fuel Standard program and its viability

Lack of a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol industry has led to a Renewable Fuel Standard conundrum: Where do companies complying with the law find gallons or the renewable identification numbers, or RIN?  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued waivers for cellulosic ethanol in the past decade because the industry has been slow to develop. Refiners and importers of gasoline and diesel have faced significant costs.

Old mine could supply new power

Some look at an abandoned, centuries-old iron mine in New York's Adirondacks and see a relic. An ambitious group of engineers sees the shafts in Mineville as a new way to provide a steady flow of electricity in a growing market for renewable energy.They are pitching a plan to circulate some of the millions of gallons of groundwater that have flooded the mine shafts over the years to power an array of 100 hydroelectric turbines a half-mile underground.

A ‘mixed bag’ for clean energy as Midwest legislatures close out 2016

Lawmakers in three Midwest legislatures closed out their 2016 lame-duck sessions with plans to both expand as well as slow clean energy development. The proposals in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois came under three Republican governors and, aside from Illinois, Republican-held legislatures.  In each case, major utilities played significant roles — either prominently lobbying or behind the scenes — in getting policies adopted in their favor.  In Ohio, this meant a concerted effort toward what critics say further weakens the state’s renewable energy and efficiency standards. On Dec.

Northern Michigan city aims for 100 percent renewables by 2020

Local officials in Traverse City voted Monday night to become the second Michigan city looking to meet 100 percent of municipal electricity needs from renewable sources. Traverse City Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to set a goal of 100 percent renewables by 2020 to power city services, such as streetlights, a wastewater treatment plant and government buildings.

MI: Gov. Rick Snyder 'fired up,' plans to sign energy overhaul

Ultimately, it was new language around energy choice -- the 10 percent of Michigan's electric market that is allowed to use alternative energy suppliers instead of their incumbent utilities -- that helped push the package over the edge. Ultimately, the compromise made changes to energy efficiency, electric choice and solar net metering provisions that satisfied almost everybody. The main bill, Senate Bill 437, passed the House 79-28 and the Senate confirmed the changes 33-4.

Colorado agriculture plummets

Income declines to level not seen since 1986. Statewide income from farms and ranches is projected to fall to $444 million in 2016 from about $1.3 billion in 2015. The fall can be largely attributed to the decline in cattle prices because the industry accounts for the largest portion of the state’s agriculture economy, said Stephen Koontz, a professor at Colorado State University.


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