Great Lakes Energy News Roundup: Disposal of coal ash proposal raises concern, chemistry breakthrough improves solar energy, Ohio anti-bailout court case dropped – Great Lakes Now

Photo by Stuart Anthony via cc 2.0

Keep up with energy-related developments in the Great Lakes area with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.

In this edition: EPA intends to roll back regulations of coal ash disposal, sounding alarms in five states; House Bill 6 referendum dead after proponents drop lawsuit; EGLE finds Enbridge disclosures on broken boring pipe disconcerting; 2019 was the most successful year for individual home installation of solar panels in Milwaukee; and research breakthrough could allow solar panels more efficient.

Attorneys general from Michigan, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland and Vermont have raised concerns regarding a planned EPA proposal that will roll back regulations governing how coal-fired plants dispose of industrial waste containing arsenic, lead and mercury.

The long and slightly bizarre saga to create a referendum over Ohio’s House Bill 6, which provided a bailout to bankrupt nuclear power plants on Ohio’s northern coastline through a tax raise, has finally come to a close. Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts, the civil organization which had for months tried to get House Bill 6 on the referendum for the 2020 election, filed with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday, January 21 to drop their appeal asking for more time to collect signatures.

Joseph Haas, EGLE’s Water Resources Division district supervisor in Gaylord, made his comments after it came out that a rod-like boring pipe Enbridge left in the Straits of Mackinac bottom after it broke last fall is about five times longer than the Canadian oil transport giant initially told state regulators.

Over the summer of 2019, the city of Milwaukee partnered with a renewable energy non-profit to incentivize communities to buy and install solar panels, using a group-focused discount to reduce costs for individual homeowners and municipal buildings. The program was a resounding success with 48 individual homeowners installing 255.7 kilowatts of solar energy.

Researchers led by chemistry professor Claudia Turro from the Ohio State University successfully developed a new molecule that can absorb sunlight more efficiently and transform it into hydrogen fuel. Previously, efforts to transform solar energy into fuel relied mostly on higher wavelengths of light like ultraviolet, exchanging electrons to act as a catalyst for the conversion of solar energy to fuel. This process is inefficient as energy is lost during these processes.

Featured Image: Solar panel farm, Photo by Stuart Anthony via cc 2.0


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