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Minnesota courts hear challenges to use of agricultural land for solar projects

Recent state appeals court rulings are starting to shed light on how far Minnesota counties can go to limit solar development on agricultural land. The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled in three cases involving rural counties that rejected developers’ plans to build community solar farms. The court has rejected denials by McLeod County twice in the past year, though last month it affirmed Stearns County’s right to deny a solar project.
STEARNS COUNTY, MN
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In Southern Illinois, people see a land of possibility with just transition from coal

This story is the first in a two-part series co-published by the Energy News Network and the Southern Illinoisan. Read part two on June 15. Alfred “Earl” Pryor grew up in the tiny town of Ullin, one of several enclaves nestled amid the lush, tangled forests and cypress swamps in far Southern Illinois. The area has been home to generations of African American families, some whose relatives arrived when it was a staging ground for freed slaves after the Civil War.
CARBONDALE, IL

A decade after ‘EVTown,’ Rivian is making an Illinois city’s electric vehicle vision a reality

Normal, Illinois, aspired to be part of the electric vehicle revolution long before Rivian came to town. In 2011, Normal dubbed itself “EVTown” in a marketing effort to make the city an early destination for Mitsubishi’s all-electric i-MiEV subcompact. Located 130 miles southwest of Chicago, Normal was home to the automaker’s only North American plant. And while the company never built the i-MiEV in the U.S., it agreed to reserve 1,000 cars for customers in the city.
NORMAL, IL

Xcel Energy time-of-use rate pilot shows only slight impact on peak demand

An Xcel Energy pilot program is slightly shaving electricity use during peak hours but not producing meaningful savings on most customers’ bills. The Minnesota utility launched a residential time-of-use “flex pricing” pilot program in November 2020 in two Twin Cities neighborhoods, one urban and one suburban. Nearly 17,000 customers participate either in the pilot or a control group.
MINNESOTA STATE