midwest


Old coal-burning power plants have the greatest emissions per energy delivered. Photo: snowpeak/Wikimedia Commons

Why Would Illinois Want More Pollution from Coal Power?

, policy analyst, Clean Energy

Changes to an important state air pollution standard are being considered by the Illinois Pollution Control Board this summer. My colleagues and I found striking differences among the Dynegy plants that would be affected by the proposed rule change to be decided on as soon as Thursday August 23. Under the current Illinois Multi-Pollutant Standard (MPS), the Dynegy coal plants that cause the most harm to Illinois residents are the ones more likely to be closed or be upgraded with air pollution control technology. But if the Pollution Control Board adopts Dynegy’s proposal to change how state air pollution limits are calculated, it could result in the company closing its cleaner plants and keeping its dirtiest plants open because it would no longer need the cleanest plants in its fleet to comply with the state requirements. My colleague James Gignac, lead analyst in the Midwest Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), further reflects on the impacts of the proposed change to the MPS, below. Read more >

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Photo: dvs/CC BY 2.0 (Flickr)

The Midwest’s Food System is Failing. Here’s Why.

, senior analyst, Food and Environment

If you’ve perused the new UCS 50-State Food System Scorecard, you’ve probably noticed a seeming contradiction. As shown on the map below, the heavily agricultural states in the middle of the country aren’t exactly knocking it out of the park when it comes to the overall health and sustainability of their food and farming systems. On the contrary, most of the leading farm states of the Midwest reside in the basement of our overall ranking.

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New Transmission Projects Will Unleash Midwestern Wind Power—And Save Billions

, senior energy analyst

As we look ahead to our clean energy future, a key piece of the puzzle is building the transmission system that will carry utility-scale renewable energy from where it’s generated to where it’s consumed. A recent study from the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) shows that, when done right, transmission projects integrated with renewable energy can pay huge dividends. They decarbonize our electricity supply, improve efficiency, and lower costs to the tune of billions of dollars in benefits to electricity customers.

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Source: MISO
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Is the Midwest Finally Catching on to Utility-Scale Solar?

, senior energy analyst

There seems to have been a significant uptick in the number of utility-scale solar projects announced in the Midwest recently—from Michigan to Minnesota , Indiana to Iowa, and even up in Wisconsin. Is this just a one-off bump in activity, or the start of something bigger? Are we actually starting to see the solar revolution spread to the Midwest where wind power has historically been king of renewables?  And if large-scale solar is coming in a big way, are we ready? Read more >

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Midwest States Finally Catching on to Solar Power’s Potential

, senior energy analyst

Michigan and Minnesota are catching on and the solar power movement is now gaining a foothold in the Midwest. Read more >

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