Below please find relevant energy policy documents.
Major Energy Planks in 2012 National Party Platforms
Every two weeks Viohl & Associates publishes an Energy Update, which provides summaries of significant federal and state energy news.
In the States
IA – Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds launched a new website supporting the current renewable fuel levels required for the nation’s fuel supply. Defending both the use of ethanol and biodiesel, the website, which is www.ProtecttheRFS.com, was built without state funds and is intended to show the negative consequences of lowering the renewable fuel standard (RFS) on the economy. The site allows visitors to sign a petition to stop the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rule decreasing the RFS by almost 3 billion gallons blended into gasoline in 2014. “The EPA’s ruling to slash the RFS will have a negative ripple effect through the American economy,” Governor Branstad said. “The result of this proposed rule change would mean corn prices would plummet below the cost of production, loss of jobs, and increased dependence on foreign oil.” Iowa is the leading producer of biofuels, with 42 ethanol refineries capable of producing almost 4 billion gallons of renewable fuel, as well as 12 biodiesel facilities. Branstad launches a new website to support ethanol, biodiesel use in fuel supply – The Des Moines Register
WV – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin joined other State officials in welcoming Carbonyx International USA to West Virginia where the company plans to build a carbon alloy plant in Jackson County in 2014. Carbonyx purchased 56 acres of land to build its plant, which will take two years to construct and bring at least 60 new jobs to the area. The new plant will create a coal-based substitute for coke, which is used as a fuel in the smelting of iron ore, in an environmentally friendly process. Company officials believe their new plant will also open up a market for the State’s metallurgical coal resources, thereby creating additional jobs and bringing economic investment to the State. West Virginia’s Economic Development Authority will provide a 10-year, $15 million low-interest loan package to the company to help it finance its initial operations. "We let coal, for many years, get away from us," Governor Tomblin said. "What I want to see is our natural resources being used here – that's what creates jobs and that's what creates wealth in West Virginia." Officials say plant is ‘manna from heaven’ – The Charleston Daily Mail
Federal and National
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) adopted a resolution asking the Environmental Protection agency (EPA) for flexibility and the recognition of “the primacy” of States in setting and meeting carbon emissions standards for existing power plants. President Barack Obama asked the EPA earlier this year to issue standards for existing power plants within a year, which would leave States until 2016 to inform EPA of their plans to implement the federal requirements. According to the NARUC resolution, “The guidelines should be flexible enough to allow States individually or regionally to take into account, when establishing standards of performance, the different makeup of existing power generation in each State and region.” States press EPA for flexibility in power plant climate rules – The Hill
The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy approved 19-10 a bill that would speed up the federal government’s review of pipelines and power lines that cross the American border into Canada and Mexico. Sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Michigan), the legislation requires certain projects to be reviewed within four months unless projects are determined to conflict with the Untied States’s national security interests. Supporters of the bill, including Rep. Upton, cite the ongoing debate and delay on the decision to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Democrats are concerned about the bill’s possible ramifications, including possible restrictions on environmental assessments. "These projects, along with the jobs and economic growth they will help generate, may be sitting on the sidelines for years due to the precedent and uncertainty set with the Keystone XL pipeline," Congressman Upton said. Bill would speed up pipeline approval – The Las Vegas Sun
President Barack Obama chose Cheryl LaFleur to serve as the acting chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). She replaces former chair Jon Wellinghoff who resigned after serving on FERC for almost five years. A graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law, Ms. LaFleur hails from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and is a former executive of National Grid USA. “I am honored to lead the commission at a time when the nation is making substantial changes in its energy supply and infrastructure to meet environmental challenges and improve reliability and security,” Ms. LaFleur said. Mass. native to lead federal energy agency – The Boston Globe
In the States
AZ – The Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the State’s largest utility, recently announced it is investing in a new project called Solana to store solar energy as heat rather than electricity. The company currently serves more than one million consumers throughout the State, though mostly in northern and central Arizona, including the Phoenix metropolitan area. The $2 billion Solana project, which is primarily funded with a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, is located southwest of Phoenix. The Solana project utilizes a series of mirrors to reflect the sun’s light towards black-painted piping that transfers the heat to tanks containing molten salt, which can store the heat to be used when demand is high, thereby producing electricity even when the sun is not shining. According to Steven Gotfried, a spokesman for APS, Solana will produce about 3 percent of the power it sells, contributing to the State’s goal of 15 percent renewable energy standard by 2025. Arizona utility tries storing solar energy for use in the dark – The New York Times
NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the State has created the first U.S. state-based strategic gasoline reserve to prevent shortages during future storms and natural disasters. The State decided to create the reserve in response to the service disruptions and limited supply available during and after Hurricane Sandy. The new Long Island-based reserve is expected to hold up to 3 million gallons of fuel and will initially cost the State $10 million to develop a pilot program. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of Fuel NY, a state-based initiative that requires half of the gas stations in certain New York counties to have backup power systems supported by state funds. “The gap in gasoline supplies during Superstorm Sandy was incredibly disruptive to the daily routines of New Yorkers who needed to get to school and work as well as the operations of businesses during an already difficult time,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. After Sandy, New York will hold strategic gasoline reserves – The Washington Post
National and Federal
Eight Governors have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), joining together to lead an initiative that seeks to put over 3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. The multi-state effort includes California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which together make up almost 25 percent of the entire American vehicle market. The MOU sets goals to produce zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), to reduce greenhouse gases while improving air quality, and to generate economic growth. ZEVs include plug-in hybrid, battery-powered, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The Governors also agreed to include ZEVs in public fleets and accommodate them in standardized building codes to make it easier to include electric vehicle charging stations. Governor Brown called the initiative “not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment. From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.” Brown, Governors of seven states join to spur growth of zero-emission vehicles – The Sacramento Bee
The National Governors Association (NGA) released its November 2012-June 2013 update of its State Clean Energy Actions brief, which highlights the work of Governors on clean energy, economic development, and reducing energy costs during their 2013 State legislative sessions. The NGA report covers all 55 States, commonwealths, and territories and the more than 350 actions taken by Governors to advance energy policy in their States. The report provides summary data across seven categories, including: clean electricity, energy efficiency, alternative fuels and vehicles, lead-by-example initiatives, clean energy economic development, clean energy research, development, and demonstration, and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the NGA report cites numerous state actions, including Nebraska’s newly enacted law allowing for a refund of sales and use taxes paid for renewable energy systems. In Illinois, the State enacted hydraulic fracturing regulations while in Mississippi, the State directed its Development Authority to establish a loan program for public schools to purchase school buses ad motor vehicles that run on alternative fuels. The report can be found here.
In a letter to committee leaders on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees, the Western Governors Association (WGA) urged Congress to change qualifying requirements for the renewable energy investment tax credit. WGA would like to see the credit allow for any project that has begun construction by December 31, 2016 to be eligible. Only projects that have begun generating power by the deadline currently quality for the tax credit. The Governors are hoping such a change will lead to greater private sector investment while helping to decrease the risk associated with such projects. The letter, which is signed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, WGA Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, can be found here.