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Energy

Every two weeks Viohl & Associates publishes an Energy Update, which provides summaries of significant federal and state energy news.  

Energy Update, October 10

October 14, 2014

In the States

FL – Governor Rick Scott announced that GE Oil & Gas will open an advanced manufacturing facility in Jacksonville. GE Oil & Gas, which is a subsidiary of the Fortune 100 General Electric Company, projects that it will create at least 500 jobs in Duval County over the next three years. The Jacksonville facility will manufacture two types of pressure valves among other oil and gas industry products at first. According to one company official, the product line could expand in the future. The State and the City of Jacksonville offered a combined $15.4 million in financial incentives, contingent upon job creation, to GE Oil & Gas, which expects to begin operations this November. “Florida businesses have already created more than 640,000 private-sector jobs since December 2010,” said Governor Scott. Why GE Oil & Gas chose JacksonvilleThe Jacksonville Business Journal and GE announced move to Jacksonville; plans will bring at least 500 employees to Cecil Commerce CenterThe Florida Times-Union

NV – The Governor’s Office of Energy (GOE), which oversees energy programs and projects in the State, recently approved a tax incentive package for American Capital Energy – Searchlight Solar, LLC, a solar energy company. The package, which is worth approximately $4.6 million, includes a three-year sales and use tax incentive and also a 20-year property tax incentive. According to the GOE, Nevada is projected to realize at least $50 million in new investment, or about an 11-to-1 return on investment. Once at maximum capacity, the 250-acre Searchlight Solar project, which is expected to create more than 125 construction jobs, will produce about 17.5 megawatts of electricity, or enough energy to power 5,600 homes. The Nevada Power Company will purchase the solar power for at least a 20-year period. “The Searchlight Solar facility is a result of Nevada’s commitment to the development and exportation of renewable energy by removing barriers and developing better business models that benefit our ratepayers,” said GOE Director Paul Thomsen. Nevada’s solar future brightens thanks to Governor’s Office of Energy incentiveNevada Business

VA – Governor Terry McAuliffe recently released his Virginia Energy Plan. The Commonwealth’s new energy plan, which is revised every four years, calls for greater development of and investment in renewable energy sources, nuclear technology, and offshore gas and oil drilling. The Governor’s 461-page plan also recommends the funding of a study on the building of a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling station and “a roll back on regulations” that make it difficult to establish small solar farms. The plan also discusses the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and addresses energy sector workforce issues. Governor McAuliffe, who will discuss his plan at an upcoming event co-hosted by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the League of Conservation Voters, said his plan “will lead our efforts to grow, strengthen, and diversify Virginia’s economy.” McAuliffe releases state energy planThe Richmond Times-Dispatch and McAuliffe’s energy plan sticks with “all of the above”The Daily Press

Federal and Regional

The Governors Biofuels Coalition sent a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan, urging the Obama administration to ensure that no cuts are made to the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) ethanol mandate. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed 2014 RFS volume requirements, according to the Coalition, threaten thousands of jobs and several biodiesel development plants. The OMB is presently reviewing the EPA’s proposal. The Governors also believe that the new RFS rule, if adopted, could discourage “investment in the newly emerging cellulosic ethanol industry.” The Coalition, which was created in 1991, is currently chaired by Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois and Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa, and counts 33 States as members. Governors: Don’t cut ethanol mandateThe Washington Examiner

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recently issued a final environmental impact statement for Cheniere Energy’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Corpus Christi. FERC, after issuing certain mitigation measures, said the proposed project will not significantly harm the environment, thereby almost assuring the project of final approval. The Corpus Christi facility, which will include gas pipelines, compressor stations, and storage tanks, is projected to be capable of producing about 13.5 million metric tons of LNG per year. “Implementation of the mitigation proposed by Cheniere and our recommended mitigation would ensure that impacts in the project area would be avoided or minimized and would not be significant,” FERC said. Corpus Christi NG clears hurdle toward federal approvalFuelFix

 

Energy Update, September 26

October 14, 2014

In the States

KS – According to a new report prepared by the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation, the cost of shutting down the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant could cost as much as $1 billion. That sum, according to the report, represents about a third of total costs associated with building the nuclear power plant, which began operations near Burlington, Kansas in 1985. The report states that customers of Westar, Kansas City Power & Light, and Kansas Electric Power Cooperative – all joint owners of the power plant – would pay for the plant’s decommissioning that is expected in about 30 years. One advocacy group believes the Kansas Corporation Commission, the State’s public utilities commission, may need to raise electric rates to pay for the plant’s future closing. Report: Dismantling Wolf Creek nuclear plan could top $1 billion The Wichita Eagle

MT – Governor Steve Bullock unveiled his plan for how the State can fulfill new federal energy requirements regarding climate change without closing existing coal-fired power plants. The Governor’s policy options include increasing the efficiency of existing coal-fired plants, capturing carbon emissions from those plants, and developing more renewable power. The State is also seeking to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions levels by 21 percent by 2030. The Governor said his proposal does not “provide all the answers,” but rather (seeks) to “generate meaningful thought and discussions and serve as a starting point for all Montanans to better understand the implications of these (federal) rules for our state.” Governor: Montana can cut carbon emissions without closing plantsThe Missoulian

NJ – The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit struck down the State’s Long-Term Capacity Pilot Program, which sought to build new natural gas power plants. The three-judge panel found that the State’s program was “preempted by federal regulatory and statutory law” since it affected wholesale power prices, which are subject to federal oversight. Several New Jersey utility companies welcomed the decision, though business groups on the whole supported the State’s efforts. Nevertheless, the ruling also affirmed that states remain important stakeholders in the energy sector. “Unless and until Congress determines otherwise, the states maintain a regulatory role in the nation’s electricity energy market,’’ the court said. Court pulls plug on NJ’s plan to build new natural gas power plantsNJ Spotlight

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced that SolarCity, one the country’s largest solar energy installation manufacturers, will build a new 1.2 million square-foot solar panel facility in Buffalo. The new gigawatt factory is projected to create about 5,000 new jobs across the State with 1,450 workers located at the new factory and a comparable number of jobs created by business supplying the facility. The project would be the first partnership between SolarCity and SUNY Polytechnic Institute. The $5 billion facility is estimated to be capable of producing more than 1 gigawatt of annual solar capacity and will receive almost $800 million of subsidies from the State. I am incredibly proud,” said Governor Cuomo, “that the State is playing a role in this project, because Buffalo's future is New York's future, and today that future is brighter than ever.” Cuomo unveils $5 billion SolarCity fab dealThe Albany Times Union

Federal and Regional

Four energy companies recently proposed an $8 billion collaborative project to send wind-generated power in Wyoming to southern California residents within a decade. If completed, the project would produce one of the largest wind farms in the United States, a massive energy storage facility in Utah, and include a 525-mile electric transmission line connecting the two sites. The energy companies – Pathfinder, Magnum Energy, Dresser-Rand, and Duke-American Transmission Company – believe the project would generate twice as much power as the Hoover Dam, creating nearly 9.2 million megawatt-hours per year. The group, which has already received approval for parts of the project, is planning to submit a blueprint to the Southern California Public Power Authority by early next year and is seeking federal approval for the new transmission line. Massive green energy project taps salt caverns near DeltaThe Deseret News

The Western Governors Association (WGA) launched a Drought Forum to analyze the effects of the ongoing regional drought, including its impact on energy development, manufacturing, and mining. The regional initiative, according to Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, the WGA chairman, will hold four meetings to foster “a regional dialogue in which states and industry can share best practices on drought policy, preparedness, and management." The initiative will also develop best practices for States and identify impacts on communities and the environment. The forum will operate as a partnership between the WGA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "The impact of drought in the West is clear to everyone here today," Governor Sandoval said. Sandoval launches western Governors’ drought forumThe Nevada Appeal and Western Governors to review drought’s energy impact Natural Gas Intel

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