In Brief

Study Says New Gas Plant Most Cost-Effective UP Power Option

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A study of alternatives for generating more electricity in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula shows that establishing a transmission link with Canada or drawing more power from the Lower Peninsula would cost more than they’re worth.

Gov. Rick Snyder requested a feasibility analysis of connecting the eastern U.P. to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, or to an existing transmission line near Gaylord.

The study was led by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, which oversees the electrical grid in the central United States and part of Canada.

Preliminary results say linking the U.P. to Ontario and expanding transmission capability between the U.P. and the Lower Peninsula would provide too little benefit to cover the high construction costs.

The study found that building a 100-megawatt natural gas plant near Pine River would be more cost-effective.


PUC says Enbridge Must Disclose Line 3 Oil Spill Projections

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Regulators say Enbridge Energy must publicly disclose its projections for potential oil spills from its proposed Line 3 replacement pipeline across northern Minnesota.

The data involves the probability of large spills at seven water crossings. Enbridge submitted it to the state Department of Commerce for the project’s environmental impact statement. But Enbridge had the agency redact the data from the public version, citing trade secrets and security reasons.

The Star Tribune reports that the PUC on Thursday, Oct. 26, agreed with an administrative law judge who determined that the data should be public, saying it’s not likely to cause a security threat.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge is seeking the PUC’s permission to replace the portion of its aging Line 3 pipeline that crosses northern Minnesota.

Environmentalists and tribal groups are fighting the project.


Ivy Tech Planning $43M in Muncie Construction Projects

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — Ivy Tech Community College officials are working on plans for $43 million in Muncie construction projects, including converting a vacant downtown office building into classroom space.

Other planned projects include renovations at Ivy Tech’s campus on Muncie’s south side. Ivy Tech spokeswoman Jennifer Gasiorek tells The Star Press that school officials are still in the preliminary planning stages for the project.

Ivy Tech has owned the downtown building that previously was The Star Press office since 2009. The school currently has business and education classes in the former Ball Corp. headquarters building a couple blocks away and criminal justice, social services and culinary arts programs at another downtown building.

The funding plan includes $38.7 million in state money and $4.3 million from local fundraising.


Study to Explore Illinois’ Energy Future

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Commerce Commission has launched an 18-month study to explore the use of emerging technologies to improve the state’s electric grid.

The “NextGrid: Illinois’ Utility of the Future” study is the collaborative effort of the ICC, Ameren Illinois, ComEd, and the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Illinois, the Herald-Whig reported.

It’s a “consumer-focused collaborative study to transform Illinois’ energy landscape and economy,” said ICC Chairman Brien J. Sheahan. The study was prompted by innovations in technology and energy efficiency, and the push for renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

“By bringing together stakeholders and experts in technology, energy, business and government — as well as consumer advocates — we will produce a clear blueprint to guide us into the future,” ICC Executive Director Cholly Smith said.

The study is founded on a clean-energy push in the state that has included legislation, aiming to transform the energy industry.

The study comes after a recent report by M.J. Bradley and Associates, which says the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the state could spark up to $43 billion in benefits by 2050. Those benefits include reduced utility bills, savings on fuel and vehicle expenses and carbon pollution reduction.


Grant to Improve Water Quality for the Maumee River Basin

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A northeastern Indiana county is receiving a $367,000 federal grant to improve the water quality for the Maumee River Basin.

The Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council says Allen County will use the funds for improvements in Fort Wayne to capture nearly 500,000 gallons of polluted storm water each year and prevent sediment, phosphorus, nitrogen and bacteria from reaching waterways.

The council says the headwaters of the Maumee River are in Fort Wayne and are the largest contributor of pollution to Lake Erie.

The Journal Gazette reports the improvements include stabilizing the banks of the St. Marys River and the construction of a large bioswale to capture storm water runoff. A bioswale is a trench that uses vegetation and organic material to filter pollutants out of runoff.


Renewable energy jobs up 16 percent in Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A nonprofit study shows renewable energy jobs in Minnesota grew by 16 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The research by Clean Energy Economy Minnesota says there are about 6,200 jobs in the state in renewable energy, most in solar or wind power.

Some traditional energy sectors, such as coal mining, have seen an exodus of jobs. In Minnesota, six coal-fired generators are set to close over the next decade. The coal plants are a major emitter of greenhouse gases.

The Star Tribune reports the fastest growing occupation in the nation is a wind technician. Workers willing to climb hundreds of feet in the air to keep turbines running smoothly are in high demand. Students in wind power training programs in Minnesota are getting jobs as soon as they graduate — or even before.


State Department Grants Permit for Alberta Clipper Pipeline

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The State Department has granted Enbridge Energy a presidential permit for the final piece of its project to boost the capacity of its Alberta Clipper oil pipeline.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge has been operating the pipeline, formally called Line 67, since 2010. The company upgraded its pumping stations in 2014 and 2015 to nearly double its capacity to 800,000 barrels per day.

But Enbridge needed the permit for the 3-mile segment that crosses the U.S.-Canadian border near Neche, N.D.. After nearly five years of review, the State Department said that issuing the permit serves the national interest.

Enbridge has been running Line 67 at full capacity by using a short detour into a parallel pipeline for crossing the border.

Line 67 carries Alberta crude across Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.


Family Still Without Power Poisoned by CO from Generator

METHUEN, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts family still without power days after a violent wind and rain storm struck New England was taken to the hospital after carbon monoxide from an outside generator seeped into their home.

Fire officials in Methuen (mih-THOO’-uhn) say a woman called at about 3 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 2, to report that her children were complaining of headaches and nausea.

Deputy Chief Dan Donahue says measurements showed carbon monoxide levels of 500 parts per million in the house. The department typically evacuates a building when CO levels reach nine parts per million.

The children, their mother, and grandmother were hospitalized. No names were released.

Donahue says even though the generator they were using to power the home after the Sunday-Monday storm was outside, it was too close to the garage.


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