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At least 15 dead as severe weather sweeps across central US; on Memorial Day, IA labor leaders honor fallen workers; Medical center installs microgrid to safeguard clinic power supply; 'Second look' laws gain traction, but MS sticks to elderly parole; Will summer heat melt New Mexicans' cravings for ice cream?

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One congressman cites ways Biden could get more support from communities of color. A new Louisiana law reclassifies two abortion medications as controlled substances. And Ohio advocates work to boost youth voter turnout.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Bowling Green, Ohio, residents say costly power plant drives up energy bills

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Thursday, February 1, 2024   

Some residents of Bowling Green, Ohio, are saying the city's main power source, Prairie State Energy Campus in Illinois, is expensive, dirty, and unsustainable.

Research has shown the coal plant cost $5 billion to build in 2012, is barely profitable and significantly contributes to environmental pollution.

Joseph DeMare, a Bowling Green resident and solar panel owner, said the report showed continued reliance on the plant is not in consumers' best interest.

"What they found is that the wholesale cost of electricity has dropped so much, because of cheap wind and solar coming online, that Prairie State could be shut down," DeMare noted.

Given recent and projected declines in the cost of renewable energy and battery storage, the report's authors said the plant's future operating costs will likely be significantly more expensive than clean energy, meaning customers will foot the bill until the plant is closed. In a statement on its website, Prairie State Energy Campus said its plant uses domestic resources and clean energy technology.

DeMare pointed out the city has also taxed its net-metering system for new solar panel owners. Bowling Green's Board of Utilities passed a law a few years ago charging panel owners a monthly fee for every kilowatt of electricity produced into the system.

"In fact, there's a new line on my electric bill every month for the solar penalty, and it pretty much wiped out the benefit I get from selling my excess electricity to the city," DeMare observed.

The city maintains the tax is needed to help cover grid maintenance costs. A 2022 Pew Research Center survey found 8% of homeowners said they have already installed solar panels, and around 39% have given serious thought to it in the past year.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes a 30% residential tax credit for clean-energy upgrades installed on residential properties over the next decade.


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Ice cream makers in the U.S. produce more than 1.38 billion gallons of ice cream annually, with consumption usually peaking in July. (auremar/Adobe Stock)

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