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

Energy Update, April 6

In the States

MA – Governor Charlie Baker filed legislation recently to require properties up for sale to include a home energy and efficiency rating. If lawmakers approve the bill, Massachusetts would become the first state with such a mandate. Some cities, including Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon have similar requirements. Supporters of the legislation said the bill could help increase home modernizations, improve insulations, and lead to installing high-tech HVAC systems. Matthew Beaton, Baker’s energy and environmental affairs secretary, said “this is a market-based incentive to give the consumers a reason…to make an investment, [to make] a unified score that is digestible and understandable, that the general public would grow familiar with.” Mr. Beaton also said he hopes the bill will lead to lower carbon emissions thanks to a spurring of energy-efficiency and clean energy improvements the bill would help encourage. Home sellers would either be required to hire an energy assessor, the Mass Save program, or a local utility for an energy audit of their home’s insulation, air sealing, heating and cooling system, LED light bulbs, and programmable thermostats. Governor seeks to mandate energy efficiency scores for homesThe Boston Globe

MO – Clean Line Energy Partners, a Houston-based company, enlisted former Governor Jay Nixon to help overturn a decision by the Public Service Commission (PSC) blocking the construction of a proposed 780-mile power line to transport energy generated from wind turbines. Nixon, now a practicing private attorney, will argue before the Missouri Supreme Court that “utility regulators he appointed wrongly rejected the power line while relying on an incorrect ruling written by a judge whom Nixon also appointed.” If the PSC decision is overturned, the 2.3 billion high-voltage transmission line project, known as the Grain Belt Express, would transport wind-generated energy from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to Indiana. "I think it's a great opportunity for our state and an important one policy-wise" for the nation, Nixon said in an interview. Clean Line transmission project turns to ex-Missouri GovernorAssociated Press

NH – Addressing an audience of clean energy advocates, Governor Chris Sununu announced that he is soon planning to release a “New Hampshire First” energy policy. In his announcement, the Governor encouraged a comprehensive approach to energy and a move away from a zero-sum game he currently sees playing out in the states. The Governor also noted New Hampshire should thoughtfully help subsidize solar, wind, hydro, and biomass power development, and maintained his commitment to regional and multi-state initiatives to curb emissions, notably the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Sununu plans to release ‘NH First’ energy policyNHPR 

NJ – In response to Governor Phil Murphy’s executive order directing the Board of Public Utilities to cultivate 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2030, EDF Renewable Energy announced, as a first step to growing its business in the New Jersey market, that it will revive an agreement with Fisherman’s Energy to purchase a 24 megawatts wind project off the coast of Atlantic City. Another company, Danish offshore wind energy leader Ørsted, is planning to develop a 250 square mile area for its wind farm called Ocean Wind. “We cannot allow for stagnation in this growing sector of our energy economy and we cannot lose sight of the tremendous opportunity for offshore wind,” said Governor Murphy. “With this executive order, we begin the process of making New Jersey a leader in offshore wind, a critical step toward achieving our clean energy goals.” Another east coast Governor signs up for offshore wind and EDF sees stalled NJ project as opening to fast-growing marketOffshore Wind Journal

NM – The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission approved, by a unanimous vote, the construction of two wind farms along the border between New Mexico and Texas. The $1.6 billion project by Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis, Minnesota utility holding company, is part of Xcel’s plan to double its wind energy portfolio by the end of 2021 by adding a dozen wind farms in seven states, or about 3,700 megawatts of new wind capacity. David Hudson, president of the company’s operations in New Mexico and Texas, called the vote historic, noting “these wind facilities will power the regional economy with energy from our abundant, fuel-free wind resource and save customers hundreds of millions of dollars in energy costs for decades to come.” Additional wind farms, with the potential to power more than 440,000 homes, are planned for Hale County, Texas, as well as the area immediately northeast of Roswell, New Mexico. New Mexico regulators OK massive wind farms near TexasAssociated Press

Energy Update, September 29

In the States

IL – Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing to replace regulations and limits on the rate of pollution from individual coal plants in the state with annual caps on the tons of emissions released by the entire group of facilities. The eight affected coal plants, which are based in central and southern Illinois, are all owned by Dynegy, a Houston-based company. The Rauner administration said “the goal is to keep the financially struggling coal plants open by giving…more flexibility to operate individual generating units, several of which are not equipped with modern pollution controls.” State Attorney General Lisa Madigan has questioned the Governor’s move, noting that the “proposed pollution caps are set so high that the state would end up encouraging Dynegy to pollute more” by operating its older plants more frequently. Alec Messina, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, disagrees with General Madigan’s assertions and said this was the first time Illinois was placing a global cap on the entire fleet of coal plants in the state. Pollution could increase as Rauner EPA moves to rescue coal plantsThe Chicago Tribune

MS – Governor Phil Bryant was nominated to serve a second term as chairman of the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), a nonpartisan interstate compact organization founded in 1960 and composed of 16 southern states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The SSEB is charged with guiding regional energy policy while also informing national perspectives. This is Governor Bryant’s second tour as chairman following his 2013 leadership during which he also unveiled Mississippi’s Energy Roadmap program. "Mississippi is an energy state, and it is good to help lead one of the nation's most influential and effective organizations for energy promotion," Governor Bryant said in a written statement. "America cannot only be energy independent but energy dominant." Governor Bryant is succeeding Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Bryant gets second stint chairing energy boardThe Clarion-Ledger

ND – Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based company that is building the Dakota Access pipeline, sent the State of North Dakota $15 million “to help pay law enforcement bills related to months of sometimes violent protests over the project’s construction” on federal lands earlier this year. The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline began transporting oil from the state to an Illinois distribution plant on June 1, despite ongoing federal lawsuits by American Indian tribes. North Dakota also recently received a $10 million grant from the Department of Justice to cover some of its policing expenses. In a statement, Governor Doug Burgum said, “We remain committed to pursuing all available avenues to ensure that North Dakota taxpayers alone don’t bear the enormous costs of law enforcement, life safety, and other resources expended on the protests.” Dakota Access developer gives $15M toward security costsAssociated Press

Federal and Regional

Governor Andrew Cuomo, co-founder of the U.S. Climate Alliance, announced the organization’s members “are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of the U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement” while simultaneously releasing the group’s annual report. The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico that was founded in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the international accord. Member states – CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, MA, MN, NY, NC, OR, PR, RI, VT, VA, and WA – have committed to advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement, track and reporting on their process, and accelerating new and existing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting clean energy development. “While the federal government abdicates its responsibility on climate change,” said Governor Cuomo, “Governors do not have the luxury of denying a scientific reality, and it is more important than ever for states to take collective, common sense action.” Cuomo touts growing climate alliance with fellow GovernorsPolitico

Four Governors – Brian Sandoval of Nevada, John Kasich of Ohio, Jerry Brown of California, and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts – are set to take the stage as the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas in mid-October. The Governors will lead a discussion on clean energy economic development and their states’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Sandoval, the current chair of the National Governors Association, is hosting the event along with former United States Senator Harry Reid. Governors meeting Las Vegas to discuss clean energy initiativesThe Las Vegas Sun

Governors John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Roy Cooper of North Carolina sent a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission in opposition to imposing tariffs on solar panel products. The Governors noted such tariffs could cost the United States at least 88,000 jobs and “inflict a devastating blow on our states’ solar industries.” Additionally, the Governors cited a study by GTM Research that found a tariff would lead to a 50% drop in utility-scale and consumer-installed solar installations. Hickenlooper, three other Governors against tariffs on solar productsThe Denver Post

Energy Update, September 15

In the States

MD – A group of clergy, solar and wind energy companies, and environmentalists recently launched a campaign calling for half of all the state’s electricity to be derived from renewable sources by 2030. Maryland’s current goal is to derive 25 percent of its electricity by 2020 through renewable sources. The coalition believes a new goal will continue to attract clean energy jobs to Maryland and will promote “environmental and social justice” by attracting those jobs to low-income, economically-depressed areas of the state. The coalition, however, is not seeking to require utilities to directly purchase renewable power but rather certificates that represent a megawatt of renewable power, similar to credits employed currently in Maryland and in other states. Governor Larry Hogan, when asked, did not offer a position on the new proposal, though his spokeswoman said the Governor “strongly supports efforts to combat climate change,” including statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals, Maryland’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade system for Northeast power plants’ carbon emissions, and incentives for use of electric vehicles. New campaign seeks to require half of Maryland energy to come from renewable sourcesThe Baltimore Sun

MO – According to a report released by the Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, employment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and related fields grew by nearly six percent between 2015 and 2016 with actual number of employees totaling 55,500. The reports estimates more than 25,000 of those jobs are based in St. Louis, one of the state’s main urban areas. More than 70 percent of the total jobs are focused on energy efficiency and more than half are clean energy construction jobs. “Previous surveys indicate that 80 percent of businesses working in clean energy in Missouri employ fewer than 25 individuals, illustrating the importance of small businesses in the clean-energy sector,” the report said. Missouri sees strong growth in ‘clean energy’ jobsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to increase the use of biodiesel in heating oil, mandating certain downstate counties to blend at least five percent biodiesel into all home heating oil sold by July 1, 2018. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has designated biodiesel, which is often developed from a mix of recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, as an advanced biofuel that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum. “New York has long been a leader in recognizing the environmental, public health and economic benefits of biodiesel, not only in transportation applications but in the heating oil market as well,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen. NY governor signs bill requiring biodiesel in heating oilBiodiesel Magazine

WV – State environmental regulators, in a recent letter, decided to rescind approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The project, was estimated to cost at least $3.5 billion, would have transported natural gas, beginning in 2018, from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations under the Appalachian Mountains through the central part of the state for 195 miles. "This decision will allow the agency to re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state's certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act," wrote Scott Mandirola, director of the state’s Division of Water and Waste Management under the Department of Environmental Protection. EQT, the pipeline’s main developer, also has an application pending for approval with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. West Virginia withdraws approval of Mountain Valley PipelineWV Public Broadcasting/AP

Federal and Regional

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) held a two day summit on energy policy, smart cities, and energy technologies. About 20 mayors from across the country gathered to share best practices and listen to the latest data on renewable energy use. The Mayors also discussed how to create a new energy economy, energy preparedness in the face of natural disasters, and private sector partnerships. USCM Executive Director Tom Cochran said the organization and several mayors will participate in Climate Week in New York City, further arguing that local officials should have a role in federal and state policy discussions. Piscataway, New Jersey Mayor Brian Wahler echoed that sentiment, stating “You know you have governors, and members of the legislature, or members of Congress coming up with policy initiatives that just aren’t workable at the local level and it defeats the whole purpose of what they’re trying to do.” Many other Mayors participating in the summit focused on how to attract innovation and investments to their cities, including Shane Bemis, Mayor of Gresham, Oregon, who said Mayors’ could still achieve the mission of the Paris Climate Accord through investments in green energy technologies. USCM wraps up renewable energy summitNew Bedford News

Energy Update, September 1

In the States

AZ – The Kayenta Solar Facility started producing electricity for the Navajo Nation, one of the largest Native American tribes, near Arizona’s Monument Valley. The new facility, which is the first utility-scale solar project on native lands, has the capacity to produce enough electricity to power 13,000 Navajo homes and is owned by the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority. The Kayenta Solar Facility comes online just as the Navajo community’s coal-fired generation station near Page, Arizona is beginning the process of shutting down by December 2019. Deenise Becenti, a spokeswoman for the tribal utility, said the $60 million cost for the solar plant was largely offset by federal solar investor tax credits and a two-year power purchase and energy credit agreement with the Salt River Project, Arizona’s largest utility. Navajo solar plant breaks new groundThe San Francisco Chronicle

CA – State lawmakers are considering a proposal, Senate Bill 100, which allows only for electricity produced via renewable energy to be transferred across the state’s grid. Additionally, lawmakers are considering updating the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard by requiring utilities to obtain 60 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2045, up from the current standard of 50 percent by 2030. If passed, California would become the second states behind Hawaii to set such a target. The measure, which was passed by the Senate, requires the Assembly’s approval before heading to Governor Jerry Brown’s desk for his consideration. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, who authored the legislation, said “[This is] the type of opportunity we have today, right here in California, with clean energy,” noting his belief that the state can meet the legislation’s goals. California’s goal: an electricity grid moving only clean energyThe Los Angeles Times

DE – Governor John Carney signed an executive order to establish the state’s Offshore Wind Working Group, which will submit recommendations to the Governor on short- and long-term strategies to develop an offshore wind energy industry. The 17-member Working Group has until December 15th to submit its report, which must also examine “possible environmental, economic and job-creation benefits as well as any barriers that may exist.” The Working Group may also examine state laws and regulations and recommend changes, including amendments to the Delaware Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Act, to Governor Carney. “We must look for ways to participate in the development of alternative energy sources," Governor Carney said. "It's the right decision for our environment, but the development of new sources of energy is also good for our economy and for the creation of good-paying jobs.” Carney launches effort to explore offshore wind in DelawareThe News Journal

NJ – The state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) announced it will examine the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and its potential impacts on the state’s electricity distribution system. Members of the BPU believe widespread adoption of electric vehicles in nearing, and so, according to BPU President Richard Mroz, "we realize that regulations may need to change since EVs are quickly emerging while utility distribution systems are becoming more adaptive and flexible.” Regulators directed their staff to create a stakeholder group and to prepare a draft report within 180 days on “potential EV infrastructure policies and recommendations on any tariff revisions or updates that may be needed.” NJ regulators to study impacts of widespread EV adoptionUtilityDIVE

Federal

A coalition of 13 states and seven cities and counties sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Acting General Counsel asking the EPA to rescind its guidance to states about complying with the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). In their letter, the coalition argues EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is and was seeking “to delay or repeal the CPP without going through the full regulatory or legal process to do so” in a March 30 letter sent to Governors letting them know they did not have to comply with the CPP. Before leading the EPA, Administrator Pruitt served as Oklahoma’s attorney general and sued the Obama administration over its decision to implement the CPP. In a related statement, New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said “Scott Pruitt cannot simply wish away the facts by giving governors bad legal advice. We’ll continue to fight to ensure that the federal government fulfills its legal responsibility to New Yorkers’ health and environment.” States say EPA’s climate rule guidance is ‘legally incorrect’The Hill

Energy Update, August 4

In the States

CA – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program, which provides the private sector with incentives to pollute less and requires “oil refineries, power plants, food processors and other facilities to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.” The new law also requires certain industrial facilities to upgrade their old equipment with more modern technology by 2023. The Governor extended the program, which was slated to expire in 2020 and is viewed as the central feature of California’s environmental and climate change advocacy, to 2030. “California is leading the world in dealing with the principal existential threat that humanity faces,” said Governor Brown during the signing ceremony, which his predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the first cap-and-trade bill into law in 2016, also attended. Governor Brown signs law to extend cap and trade, securing the future of California’s key climate programThe Los Angeles Times

CT – Governor Dan Malloy ordered state agencies to review “the economic viability of Dominion Energy’s Millstone nuclear power plant,” one of several nuclear plants at risk of closing thanks to a surplus of cheap natural gas. Virginia-based Dominion Energy noted it had tried for months to find a solution to keep the plant operating while opponents, including other energy generating companies, argue that Millstone’s associated costs exceed its benefits and production. "We must objectively and thoroughly review and evaluate the relevant information and market conditions of the Millstone facility...in the context of reducing costs for consumers and moving our clean energy strategy forward," Governor Malloy said in a statement. "The time for a study without action has passed," Paul Koonce, chief executive of Dominion Energy Power Generation Group, said in a rebuttal. "Without action this year, prospects for continued operation of Millstone diminish.” CT Governor orders review of Millstone nuclear plant viabilityReuters

NY – As part of the statewide “Solarize” campaign, Governor Andrew Cuomo said 850 solar projects have been installed or are in development in New York. The Solarize program, according to the Governor, is “an important component in supporting the state’s Clean Energy Standard,” which was recently updated to require renewable sources to generate 50% of the state’s electricity by 2030. The hyper-local Solarize campaigns are public-private partnerships managed by community and elected officials and the private sector in order to educate and simplify the process by which consumers install clean energy generating systems. “New York continues to see unprecedented growth in the solar energy industry across the state, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing jobs, and driving economic growth," Governor Cuomo said. "By helping residents and businesses install solar energy panels, we are reducing costs for consumers and fueling the clean energy economy in New York for years to come." 850 solar projects announced across New York StateSolar Novus Today

Federal and Regional

Energy Secretary and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry announced $40 million in awards for the “the establishment of four DOE Bioenergy Research Centers, which will provide the scientific breakthroughs for a new generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy.” The Centers, each of which will be led by a Department of Energy laboratory or a university, awarded the grants include the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center; the Center for Bioenergy Innovation; the Joint BioEnergy Institute, and; the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation. “The revolution of modern biology has opened up vast new opportunities for the energy industry to develop and utilize products derived from biomass as a sustainable resource,” said Secretary Perry.  “These centers will accelerate the development of the basic science and technological foundation needed to ensure that American industry and the American public reap the benefits of the new bio-based economy.” DOE provides $40 million in grants to bioenergy research centers

Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska testified during the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing on the proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), urging the EPA to increase the amount of advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol to be blended into the country’s gasoline supply. The EPA recently set ethanol levels for 2018 at about 40 million gallons below the 2017 levels and cut cellulosic biofuel requirements to 238 million gallons. “When you’re talking about the advanced biofuels, I think it’s a mistake to go backwards with regards to those targets,” said Governor Ricketts. While highlighting the impact of the cuts on jobs and the greater economy in Iowa, Governor Reynolds said “the near term future for cellulosic is much brighter than the proposed obligations.” Ricketts, Reynolds testify at EPA hearing, urge greater federal support for advanced biofuelsThe Omaha World-Herald

Energy Update, July 21

In the States

AK – The state legislature voted to end its cash payment subsidies to oil companies with less than 50,000 barrels of daily oil production. Instead, these oil companies will now be allowed to claim state tax deductions instead of cash and those deductions will be reduced over time by 10 percent annually after seven years if a project is producing oil or after 10 years if the project hasn’t produced oil. The cash-subsidy program was created a decade ago to encourage new companies to develop oil fields in Alaska. According to its projections, the state owes more than $1 billion in cash subsidies to the oil companies by the end of 2018. Alaska Legislature passes last-minute oil tax deal, but capital budget is still pendingThe Alaska Dispatch News

MN – The University of Minnesota’s Energy Transition Lab released a report finding that “adding energy storage is becoming a cost effective way to meet electricity demand in the state.” The report found that Minnesota’s natural gas, solar, and wind energy projects could all benefit from the development of energy storage facilities. For example, on turbine farms, “if energy supply exceeds demand, wind turbine blades are adjusted so that the turbines don't generate as much electricity” whereas batteries could keep the turbines running at normal operation. The report also found that the state has very little energy storage, though some companies, such as Connexus, are building megawatt storage systems and facilities. The report was submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, as well as a group of energy stakeholders, who recommended the state pursue energy storage projects. Report: solar plus storage can beat natural gas in MinnesotaMPR News

NC – Governor Roy Cooper announced he opposes efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to allow drilling for natural gas and oil off the state’s coast, calling it a “threat to the state’s beaches and tourism economy.” The Governor’s statement comes as the Trump administration requested comments from elected officials on its plan to allow companies to perform seismic testing in the Atlantic Ocean in search of natural gas and oil deposits. “There is a threat looming over this coastline that we love and the prosperity it brings, and that's the threat of offshore drilling," Governor Cooper said. Additionally, he noted: “There is little evidence that offshore drilling would be a financial boon for our state.” The Governor doesn’t believe that drilling will produce a lot of jobs or revenue sharing and that changes to federal regulations could increase  environmental risks. NC Governor on Trump drilling plan: ‘Not off our coast’AP

NH – Governor Chris Sununu allowed Senate Bill 129, which requires utilities to increase the percentage of renewable sources in their energy portfolio to 25 percent by 2025, to become law without his signature. The new law, known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act of 2017, also requires utilities to pay into a Renewable Energy Fund (REF) if they do not meet the new Renewable Portfolio Standard’s threshold. Of the funds collected by the REF, 15 percent are to be disbursed to low-income solar projects. Additionally, the new law raises the amount of money utilities pay for biofuel-generated energy, which supporters note will support the state’s timber industry and lead to more individuals employing wood-burning electric generators. In a statement, Governor Sununu called it “important to balance a smart renewable energy portfolio and economic growth in New Hampshire’s North Country with potential costs to ratepayers,” adding: “As we strive for an energy portfolio that is efficient, effective, and affordable, it is critical that we study the long-term viability of generation resources, particularly those that rely on mandated ratepayer support.” Clean energy bill becomes law without Governor’s signatureNew Hampshire Business Review

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his administration will support the construction of 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure to “[strengthen] the reliability of the New York State electric power grid and [enable] more upstate renewable energy to connect to the power system throughout the state.” Called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability project, the new $441 million transmission line will also help the state meet the Governor’s clean energy mandate of deriving 50% of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 by transporting additional upstate energy to high demand areas downstate. The project, slated to begin construction in 2019, is expected to create approximately 2,000 full-time jobs during its development. "This critical upgrade will help strengthen our clean energy economy in every corner of the state, and help New York reach its nation-leading clean energy standard," Governor Cuomo said. "By investing in the long-term sustainability of our state's energy infrastructure today, we are helping to ensure New Yorkers will have access to a cleaner, greener future for years to come.” Cuomo announces plan to build 78 miles of power transmission infrastructureNorth County Public Radio

Energy Update, January 27

In the States

NH – Eversource, New Hampshire’s largest utility company, filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a ruling by the Public Utilities Commission to block the extension of a natural gas pipeline expansion project. Eversource estimates the pipeline project, known as the Access Northeast and Algonquin Natural Gas Pipeline, would lead to “significant customer savings” while also decreasing overall operating costs. The project, which was to be financed in part by electricity ratepayers over a long-term contract, was disallowed by the PUC since an earlier court ruling stated “utilities can't pass on to ratepayers the costs of financing new natural gas pipelines.” Bill Quinlan, New Hampshire operations president for Eversource, said ““Expanding the supply of gas into New England is one of the necessary actions that must occur as part of the effort to reduce energy costs and ensure reliability. We believe it’s important that proposals like this one have the opportunity to be fully considered.” Eversource takes pipeline case to New Hampshire Supreme CourtThe New Hampshire Union Leader

VT – While showcasing the construction of a new solar power project in Montpelier called a Solar Canopy, Governor Phil Scott announced his support for the state’s existing renewable energy mandate requiring that  90 percent of its energy be derived from renewable sources by 2050. Governor Scott said the renewable energy goal contributes positively to his focus on economic development and “creates jobs that keep young people from leaving the state.” The Governor also maintained that local communities should play a greater role in determining renewable energy project siting, one of his campaign pledges. Solar Canopy, which was erected by Waterbury-based SunCommon, was founded in 2012 and employs about 70 people. "Companies like SunCommon, and many others who are creating jobs and innovating here in Vermont, are exactly what we need to reach these (economic development) goals," Governor Scott said. Vermont’s new governor sticking with renewable energy goalAssociated Press

WY – Six state lawmakers proposed assessing a penalty on utilities if they make use of wind or solar energy to generate electricity for their customers. According to the legislation, Senate File 71, utilities would have a year to comply with the measure, if enacted, and would be restricted to utilizing six resources to generate electricity. Additionally, the state’s utilities would have to derive 100 percent of their Wyoming-sold energy from these six resources, which include coal and natural gas, by 2019.  Shannon Anderson of the Powder River Basin Resource Council, called the law unsound, noting “It would be very difficult to implement, difficult to regulate, since it goes against longstanding precedent to choose least-cost resources, and [since] it ignores the reality of a multi-state grid.” Bill would penalize utilities for wind-generated electricity for Wyoming customersThe Casper Star-Tribune

Federal and Regional

President Donald Trump selected Cheryl LaFleur to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), an independent agency which regulates the nation’s power markets and pipelines, among other responsibilities under the Department of Energy. Ms. LaFleur, a Democrat and former utility executive, replaces Norman Bay, who has led the agency since April 2015, as acting chairman. “LaFleur’s appointment signals that Trump is hearing congressional Republicans’ complaints about FERC being too heavy handed to the markets,” said Katie Bays, a Washington-based energy analyst for Height Securities. Ken Irvin, a Washington-based partner at Sidley Austin LLP who represents energy marketers and traders, said “She has a very informed knowledge of the energy business and how to be an effective regulator. She’s very in tune with our markets.” Trump names LaFleur acting head of federal energy regulator – Bloomberg

Reversing a decision by his predecessor, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to construct the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. President Trump, in so doing, promised to renegotiate the terms of the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline so the federal government can receive  a portion of the pipeline’s profits. TransCanada said it remains committed to building the pipeline, though noted it would still require approval from the states the pipeline crosses as well as the U.S. Department of State. Meanwhile, the Dakota Access pipeline, which has been the subject of numerous protests by environmental groups as well as the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, faces several legal challenges that allege the proposed pipeline poses a danger to the tribe’s water supply. Trump signs executive actions to advance Keystone, Dakota Access pipelinesPolitico

Energy Update, October 21

In the States

UT – Governor Gary Herbert’s Office of Energy Development hosted the second annual Utah Air and Energy Symposium to discuss the state’s air quality challenges vis-à-vis future energy development, which is set to be a key topic studied by the state legislature during next year’s 45-day legislative session. Much of the discussion at the Symposium focused on alternative fuel vehicles, air quality regulations for the oil and gas industry, and methane leaks, which the state’s Department of Environmental Quality is currently studying. Jon Goldstein of the Environmental Defense Fund spoke in favor of increased regulations, noting that neighboring Colorado was able to achieve a 75 percent reduction in methane leaks by implementing new rules on the state’s energy producers. In another session, state Representative Stephen Handy (R) discussed his work to secure Utah’s part of the settlement under Volkswagen’s violation of diesel emissions and his hope that the state will utilize the funds to replace diesel school buses. Utah air quality, energy event draws diverse crowdKSL Salt Lake City

VA – At an event showcasing the installation of a new solar system for public schools in Albemarle County, Governor Terry McAuliffe released an update to his 2014 Virginia Energy Plan, titled the “Energy in the New Virginia Economy,” which outlines his administration’s work on the Commonwealth’s strategic energy priorities. The update to the energy plan, which is required by statute, focuses on the Governor’s four priorities: strategic growth in the energy sector, best in class infrastructure, alternative fuels and advanced vehicles technology, and workforce development. Some of the achievements highlighted by the Governor include the construction of a 80 megawatt solar farm in Accomack County, the creation of the Commonwealth’s first Green Community Program, and the use of over 200 alternative fuel vehicles by the state government. “Today's installation is the perfect venue to formally unveil an update on the progress we are making toward making Virginia a leader in the global energy economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The clean energy sector has been a central part of our efforts to build a new Virginia economy and that effort has paid off as revenue in the sector has grown four-fold to $2 billion.” At Monticello High School, McAuliffe touts solar panels, energy planThe News & Advance

VT – Iberdrola Renewables, a Spanish energy company, is seeking to build the state’s largest wind energy project, which would consist of 24 turbines almost 500 feet tall generating close to 90 megawatts of power, or enough electricity for 42,000 homes annually. The project, which would be built in a private forest near the towns of Windham and Grafton, is on the ballot this fall for voters to approve or disapprove. Under increasing pressure and scrutiny from local officials and residents who are concerned the proposed project will generate noise and lower property values, and sensing the voters would reject the proposed wind farm, Iberdrola offered to pay “a total of $565,000 a year to the 815 registered voters in both towns, or $14.1 million over 25 years,” for their support. The project, which is supported by outgoing Governor Peter Shumlin, has become a key issue in the race to succeed him with Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott (R) opposing the project and Sue Minter (D), a former transportation secretary under Governor Shumlin, supporting it. “There’s nothing I’m more proud of than my legacy of having helped to get Vermont off of oil and coal and moved us more aggressively than any other state in the nation to renewables,” Governor Shumlin said. Vermont wind project needs support, so company offers to pay votersThe New York Times

Federal and Regional

The National Governors Association (NGA) published two papers focused on enhancing energy assurance planning and response and strategies for states to develop advanced energy storage. Both publications were developed by the NGA’s Center for Best Practices Environment, Energy, and Transportation Division, which “provides information, research, policy analysis, technical assistance, and resource development for governors and their staff.” The first paper summarizes the NGA’s findings from a 2015 project in which NGA and New Jersey state officials worked with six other states – Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island – “to understand and apply lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy” while the second paper explores how states can use incentives, regulations, and policy to boost energy storage.

The United States Navy announced its purchasing renewable energy from a new 150-megawatt solar farm in Arizona, or what is soon to be the largest procurement of renewable energy by the federal government, according to federal officials. The solar facility, called the Mesquite Solar Complex, is owned by Sempra U.S. Gar & Power and will supply a third of the electricity needs of the Navy’s installations in California, including the San Diego naval base and the Marines’ Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton bases The Navy’s purchase will support over 800 temporary construction and permanent jobs. “It’s going to be reliable, it’s going to be cheaper than what we’re paying for brown power, and it just diversifies our energy sources for these bases,” said Dennis McGinn, the assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and environment. U.S. government makes biggest clean energy purchase everThe Washington Post and Tonopah solar farms to supply energy to military basesThe Arizona Republic

Energy Update, October 7

In the States

AL – The Alabama Power Company, the state’s largest utility, posted a request for proposals (RFP) for renewable energy projects, hoping to bring more solar, wind, and geothermal energy generation to Alabama. The company, which has already announced more than 90 megawatts of solar power projects since last year, received approval from the Alabama Public Service Commission “to develop up to 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects,” including several projects at military installations across the state. In addition to solar, wind, and geothermal energy, the RFP calls for projects focused on tidal or ocean current energy, gas derived from waste or landfills, hydrogen obtained from renewable sources, and biomass energy. "Alabama Power supports renewable energy, where it makes sense for our customers," John Kelley, the utility’s director of forecasting and resource planning, said. "Renewable markets change a lot, and this proposal gives us a chance to see what may be out there in the 2017 and 2018 time frame." Alabama Power eyes future renewable energy projectsThe Huntsville Times

CT – Governor Dan Malloy discussed the importance of renewable energy generation with 26 local chambers of commerce, the Connecticut Green Bank, and officials from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. After the meeting, nearly a dozen of the local chambers present pledged to work with the Green Bank to “inform their businesses about affordable, long-term financing options” for clean energy projects and programs. Several other chambers also inquired about the state’s new Comprehensive Energy Strategy, which seeks reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will be released at some point this fall. “Local chambers of commerce play an important role in helping Connecticut continue to prosper from the growing economic development opportunities of cleaner, cheaper, more reliable energy,” said Governor Malloy. Governor, 26 local chambers show strong interest in clean energyChamber Innovation

ND – Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem sent a letter to Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based company developing the Dakota Access pipeline, to explain why it purchased 7,000 acres of land recently for an undisclosed amount. The company, which must respond within 30 days, must describe how its purchase complies with the state’s Depression-era anti-corporate farming law, which bars certain corporations from owning or leasing farmland and engaging in farming. Energy Transfer Partners continues to face public scrutiny over its proposed $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline that would carry approximately 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken oilfields to a hub in Illinois. The project’s construction has been delayed due to several lawsuits by local Native American tribes, which claim the company’s “bulldozers disturbed ancestral burials and other sacred sites.” General Stenehjem said "We'll treat this just like we do every case.” Stenehjem gives Dakota Access 30 days to explain land purchaseThe Jamestown Sun

Federal and Regional

The Governors’ Wind & Solar Energy Coalition, which counts Governors from 20 states as members, sent a letter to President Barack Obama seeking his administration’s support to quickly site wind projects, both on land and offshore. The letter notes that offshore wind energy could “create thousands of jobs in businesses ranging from R&D and engineering to manufacturing and marine construction.” Additionally, the Governors would like the administration to streamline the leasing and permitting process as well as to improve permitting collaboration between the states and the federal government. The Governors also noted their hope that the administration and its agencies continue working with the private sector, conservation groups, and states on final rules impacting wind and solar energy development. American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan, who thanked the Governors for their support, said “These Governors are leading. They’re attuned to economic development needs and deployment challenges in their states, and they’re looking to the federal agencies to help rather than hinder.” Tax credits aren’t enough to spur renewables, Governors sayAgriPulse

According the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), which is part of the Department of Energy, Hurricane Matthew may cause problems for East Coast energy infrastructure.  The storm, which led four Governors to declare states of emergency, may affect product terminals, possibly reducing energy imports. EIA also published map highlighting energy disruptions, links for consumers to determine fuel availability during the storm, and made available its real-time information on electricity demand.

Energy Update, September 23

In the States

MA – Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order directing state officials to “develop regulations for specific, annual reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by next summer.” The Governor also ordered states officials to develop a plan for an expected rise in the sea level and potential extreme weather events. The executive orders follows a state court decision that declared the Commonwealth has not met its obligations under a 2008 state law to cut greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels. Environmental and utility industry advocates applauded the order, and noted the emissions reductions should apply to multiple types of businesses across different industry sectors, such as taxi operators, grocery stores, and trucking companies. “This executive order,” said Governor Baker, “signals our continuing commitment to combatting and preparing for climate change impacts across state government and in our communities.” Baker orders new rules to reduce greenhouse emissionsThe Boston Globe

ND – The state’s Emergency Commission, which is chaired by Governor Jack Dalrymple, voted unanimously to borrow up to $6 million from the Bank of North Dakota, the only state-owned bank in the United States, “to support policing efforts related to the Dakota Access Pipeline protests.” The proposed construction of the $3.8 billion, 1,172-mile pipeline by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners was stalled recently by protestors and by a federal appeals court decision to review a legal challenge by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. According to Governor Dalrymple and Major General Alan Dohrmann, the state’s adjutant general, the state has already spent close to $1.9 million on protest-related expenses. If completed, the pipeline would initially carry approximately 450,000 barrels of oil per day from the Bakken oilfields to a hub in Illinois, eventually expanding to 570,000 barrels per day. “The problem that we have, of course, is that these public safety needs are imminent every day,” Governor Dalrymple said. “We really have no choice but to protect the public with law enforcement. Recovering funds from the federal government is definitely a top priority, but it undoubtedly will take some time.” Panel votes to borrow $6M from state-owned bank to deal with pipeline protestsNorth Dakota Forum News

OK – Oklahoma is on track to surpass California, which is currently third in the nation behind Texas and Iowa, for installed wind power capacity. The state, which already ranks third in construction activity and overall wind energy generation, produces enough electricity through wind to power approximately 1.3 million homes. In 2015, wind energy accounted for more than 18% of Oklahoma’s energy production while also supporting 7,000 jobs. Several companies are planning to bring numerous projects on line in the state by the end of this year, including Clean Line Energy Partners, which is building the 700-mile Plains & Eastern transmission project that will carry 3,500 megawatts of clean energy generation from Oklahoma to customers in Tennessee, Arkansas, and other markets. “This will be the largest wind energy project in the country, the largest electric renewable project of any kind,” said Mario Hurtado, the executive vice president of development for Clean Line. Wind a growing force in Oklahoma energyThe Tulsa World

Federal and Regional

An  analysis prepared for the Environmental Defense Fund finds that 21 of the 27 states suing to block the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) are “on track to meet [their] 2024 targets with existing plants and planned investments.” The report also finds that 18 of the states are on track to meet their 2030 targets with no changes to current plans. The suing state Attorneys General, however, noted their objections to the CPP are not political or because they do not agree with the goals, but rather that they view the CPP as a federal overreach and “want to maintain flexibility to make energy decisions at the state level that reflect changing market conditions.” "We don't have anything against clean air," Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman said. "That really doesn't factor into my decision to say the federal government has gone beyond its legal authority.” The CPP, which was finalized in 2015, sets carbon emission reduction goals for each state but permits states to decide how to achieve the goals. “We are seeing reductions earlier than we ever expected,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said. “It’s a great sign that the market has already shifted and people are invested in the newer technologies, even while we are in litigation.” Most states on track to meet emissions targets they call burdenReuters

Xcel Energy, a Minneapolis-based utility company, announced plans to expand its wind generation capacity in Upper Midwest by 60 percent. The company is planning to add eight to ten wind farms or 1,500 megawatts of new wind power, enough to power 750,000 homes, that should be fully operational between 2017 and 2020. The new wind farms, which represent a $2 billion investment, will serve Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Xcel expects that, by 2030, one-third of its power generation in these states will come from mostly wind power, while nuclear will continue to make up one-third, as it does currently. Chris Clark, Xcel’s Upper Midwest president said the company needs to take advantage of the soon-to-decrease federal renewable energy tax credit, noting “We think this is a great value for our customers.” Xcel plans big expansion in wind powerThe Star Tribune

Energy Update, September 9

In the States

CA – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that requires the state, which is one of the world’s largest economies, to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The new law, SB 32, sets reduction targets higher than previous goals set a decade ago by the state, though several policy and governmental institutions, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, admit that California may only be able to achieve a 20% reduction below 1990 levels by 2030. The state’s new plan encourages renewable energy use, an increased deployment of electric cars, and energy efficiency while placing additional emissions limitations on certain industries. Governor Brown also signed into law AB1 197, which grants state lawmakers with more regulatory oversight while also providing assistance to low-income and minority communities living near oil refineries and factories. “What we’re doing here is farsighted, as well as far-reaching,” Governor Brown said at the signing ceremony in downtown Los Angeles. “California is doing something that no other state has done.” Governor Brown signs sweeping legislation to combat climate changeThe Los Angeles Times

IA – Governor Terry Branstad, joined by U.S. Senator Joni Ernst, toured the Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) facility, the world’s first commercial cellulosic ethanol plant, which uses corn kernel fibers as feedstock. During the tour, which Iowa Renewable Fuels Association and the Iowa Corn Growers Association also joined, the Governor discussed opportunities to increase the demand for ethanol and the need for engine manufacturing to include ethanol fuel in its planning and designs. "Renewable fuel is something I'm very passionate about," Governor Branstad said. "Renewable fuels are important for Iowa and they are important for America. A robust Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will continue to diversify our nation's transportation fuels, add value to commodities grown in rural America, reduce emissions, and provide consumers low-cost choices at the pump." To date, the QCCP facility has produced at least 5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol, or 90% of the United States’ total cellulosic ethanol production over the least three years. Governor Branstad, QCCP discuss future of renewable fuelsThe Pilot Tribune

VA – While touring three locations benefiting from energy efficiency improvements, Governor Terry McAuliffe challenged the Commonwealth’s leading utility company, Dominion Virginia Power, to better educate its customers about the value of energy efficiency in reducing consumption and lower their costs. “The progress we have made over the past year demonstrates the impact simple, low-cost energy efficiency measures can have on lowering energy bills,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Our electric utilities are in the perfect position to drive this education and outreach.” In response, Dominion’s President Robert Blue accepted the challenge, and announced an expansion of the company’s educational Energy Share program, which will developed training sessions and materials to enable its employees to serve as energy efficiency representatives. Mr. Blue said “We will continue to place strong emphasis on the energy efficiency measures that any consumers can take to reduce energy usage and save on their bills.” The challenge comes one year after the state legislature passed a measure to require utilities to use non-ratepayer funds to implement energy efficiency programs. Governor challenges Dominion to accelerate energy efficiency educationAlexandria News

Federal and Regional

The Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to address ocean acidification as required under the Clean Water Act. Ocean acidification, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), occurs as a result of decreased oceanic pH levels caused by an increase in carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. The lawsuit calls for the EPA to update its water quality criteria, which according to the Center have not been revised in 40 years, for measuring pollutants “to reflect the latest science showing carbon dioxide emissions are altering the chemistry of oceans.” The EPA, in the past, has acknowledged and published research demonstrating the effects of carbon dioxide levels on oceanic seawater and estimates that 28% of all carbon dioxide emitted over the past two centuries have been absorbed by the Earth’s oceans. "The EPA is ignoring the threat of ocean acidification, and that's very dangerous," Emily Jeffers, a Center attorney, said in a statement. "We need to act now to protect oysters, corals and other marine animals." EPA sued over clean water rules to curb ocean acidificationReuters

As part of their annual meeting, the six New England Governors and the Premiers of the five eastern Canadian provinces met recently in Boston, Massachusetts to discuss energy policy, rising energy costs, and climate change as well as other issues facing their states and provinces. The Governors and the Premiers discussed their efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions as well as ongoing regional collaborative projects, such as the building of hydropower projects, wind turbines, and transmission stations. During last year’s annual meeting, the Governors and the Premiers pledged to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 35% to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030 and at least 85% per by 2050. “Our relationships with one another economically and culturally serve to benefit us all," said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who co-chaired the conference this year with Premier Wade MacLauchlan of Prince Edward Island. Leaders from New England, Canada talk energy, trade, opioidsThe Republican

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Energy Update, September 29

In the States

IL – Governor Bruce Rauner is proposing to replace regulations and limits on the rate of pollution from individual coal plants in the state with annual caps on the tons of emissions released by the entire group of facilities. The eight affected coal plants, which are based in central and southern Illinois, are all owned by Dynegy, a Houston-based company. The Rauner administration said “the goal is to keep the financially struggling coal plants open by giving…more flexibility to operate individual generating units, several of which are not equipped with modern pollution controls.” State Attorney General Lisa Madigan has questioned the Governor’s move, noting that the “proposed pollution caps are set so high that the state would end up encouraging Dynegy to pollute more” by operating its older plants more frequently. Alec Messina, director of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, disagrees with General Madigan’s assertions and said this was the first time Illinois was placing a global cap on the entire fleet of coal plants in the state. Pollution could increase as Rauner EPA moves to rescue coal plantsThe Chicago Tribune

MS – Governor Phil Bryant was nominated to serve a second term as chairman of the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB), a nonpartisan interstate compact organization founded in 1960 and composed of 16 southern states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The SSEB is charged with guiding regional energy policy while also informing national perspectives. This is Governor Bryant’s second tour as chairman following his 2013 leadership during which he also unveiled Mississippi’s Energy Roadmap program. "Mississippi is an energy state, and it is good to help lead one of the nation's most influential and effective organizations for energy promotion," Governor Bryant said in a written statement. "America cannot only be energy independent but energy dominant." Governor Bryant is succeeding Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. Bryant gets second stint chairing energy boardThe Clarion-Ledger

ND – Energy Transfer Partners, a Texas-based company that is building the Dakota Access pipeline, sent the State of North Dakota $15 million “to help pay law enforcement bills related to months of sometimes violent protests over the project’s construction” on federal lands earlier this year. The $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline began transporting oil from the state to an Illinois distribution plant on June 1, despite ongoing federal lawsuits by American Indian tribes. North Dakota also recently received a $10 million grant from the Department of Justice to cover some of its policing expenses. In a statement, Governor Doug Burgum said, “We remain committed to pursuing all available avenues to ensure that North Dakota taxpayers alone don’t bear the enormous costs of law enforcement, life safety, and other resources expended on the protests.” Dakota Access developer gives $15M toward security costsAssociated Press

Federal and Regional

Governor Andrew Cuomo, co-founder of the U.S. Climate Alliance, announced the organization’s members “are collectively on track to meet and possibly exceed their portion of the U.S. commitment under the Paris Agreement” while simultaneously releasing the group’s annual report. The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 14 states and Puerto Rico that was founded in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the international accord. Member states – CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, MA, MN, NY, NC, OR, PR, RI, VT, VA, and WA – have committed to advancing the goals of the Paris Agreement, track and reporting on their process, and accelerating new and existing policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while promoting clean energy development. “While the federal government abdicates its responsibility on climate change,” said Governor Cuomo, “Governors do not have the luxury of denying a scientific reality, and it is more important than ever for states to take collective, common sense action.” Cuomo touts growing climate alliance with fellow GovernorsPolitico

Four Governors – Brian Sandoval of Nevada, John Kasich of Ohio, Jerry Brown of California, and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts – are set to take the stage as the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas in mid-October. The Governors will lead a discussion on clean energy economic development and their states’ efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Governor Sandoval, the current chair of the National Governors Association, is hosting the event along with former United States Senator Harry Reid. Governors meeting Las Vegas to discuss clean energy initiativesThe Las Vegas Sun

Governors John Hickenlooper of Colorado, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, and Roy Cooper of North Carolina sent a letter to the U.S. International Trade Commission in opposition to imposing tariffs on solar panel products. The Governors noted such tariffs could cost the United States at least 88,000 jobs and “inflict a devastating blow on our states’ solar industries.” Additionally, the Governors cited a study by GTM Research that found a tariff would lead to a 50% drop in utility-scale and consumer-installed solar installations. Hickenlooper, three other Governors against tariffs on solar productsThe Denver Post

Energy Update, September 15

In the States

MD – A group of clergy, solar and wind energy companies, and environmentalists recently launched a campaign calling for half of all the state’s electricity to be derived from renewable sources by 2030. Maryland’s current goal is to derive 25 percent of its electricity by 2020 through renewable sources. The coalition believes a new goal will continue to attract clean energy jobs to Maryland and will promote “environmental and social justice” by attracting those jobs to low-income, economically-depressed areas of the state. The coalition, however, is not seeking to require utilities to directly purchase renewable power but rather certificates that represent a megawatt of renewable power, similar to credits employed currently in Maryland and in other states. Governor Larry Hogan, when asked, did not offer a position on the new proposal, though his spokeswoman said the Governor “strongly supports efforts to combat climate change,” including statewide greenhouse gas reduction goals, Maryland’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade system for Northeast power plants’ carbon emissions, and incentives for use of electric vehicles. New campaign seeks to require half of Maryland energy to come from renewable sourcesThe Baltimore Sun

MO – According to a report released by the Clean Energy Trust and Environmental Entrepreneurs, employment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and related fields grew by nearly six percent between 2015 and 2016 with actual number of employees totaling 55,500. The reports estimates more than 25,000 of those jobs are based in St. Louis, one of the state’s main urban areas. More than 70 percent of the total jobs are focused on energy efficiency and more than half are clean energy construction jobs. “Previous surveys indicate that 80 percent of businesses working in clean energy in Missouri employ fewer than 25 individuals, illustrating the importance of small businesses in the clean-energy sector,” the report said. Missouri sees strong growth in ‘clean energy’ jobsSt. Louis Post-Dispatch

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation to increase the use of biodiesel in heating oil, mandating certain downstate counties to blend at least five percent biodiesel into all home heating oil sold by July 1, 2018. The federal Environmental Protection Agency has designated biodiesel, which is often developed from a mix of recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, as an advanced biofuel that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50 percent compared to petroleum. “New York has long been a leader in recognizing the environmental, public health and economic benefits of biodiesel, not only in transportation applications but in the heating oil market as well,” said National Biodiesel Board CEO Donnell Rehagen. NY governor signs bill requiring biodiesel in heating oilBiodiesel Magazine

WV – State environmental regulators, in a recent letter, decided to rescind approval of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The project, was estimated to cost at least $3.5 billion, would have transported natural gas, beginning in 2018, from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations under the Appalachian Mountains through the central part of the state for 195 miles. "This decision will allow the agency to re-evaluate the complete application to determine whether the state's certification is in compliance with Section 401 of the federal Clean Water Act," wrote Scott Mandirola, director of the state’s Division of Water and Waste Management under the Department of Environmental Protection. EQT, the pipeline’s main developer, also has an application pending for approval with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. West Virginia withdraws approval of Mountain Valley PipelineWV Public Broadcasting/AP

Federal and Regional

The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) held a two day summit on energy policy, smart cities, and energy technologies. About 20 mayors from across the country gathered to share best practices and listen to the latest data on renewable energy use. The Mayors also discussed how to create a new energy economy, energy preparedness in the face of natural disasters, and private sector partnerships. USCM Executive Director Tom Cochran said the organization and several mayors will participate in Climate Week in New York City, further arguing that local officials should have a role in federal and state policy discussions. Piscataway, New Jersey Mayor Brian Wahler echoed that sentiment, stating “You know you have governors, and members of the legislature, or members of Congress coming up with policy initiatives that just aren’t workable at the local level and it defeats the whole purpose of what they’re trying to do.” Many other Mayors participating in the summit focused on how to attract innovation and investments to their cities, including Shane Bemis, Mayor of Gresham, Oregon, who said Mayors’ could still achieve the mission of the Paris Climate Accord through investments in green energy technologies. USCM wraps up renewable energy summitNew Bedford News

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