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Blog posts May 2008

Energy Update, June 5, 2008

May 20, 2008
In The States

AZ – Governor Napolitano has vetoed legislation that would have stopped that state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The attempted ban arose out of frustration that state lawmakers felt when the governor directed the DEQ to follow the same rules as the California Air Resources Board. Supporters of the failed bill have suggested they will attempt to pass it in other environmental legislation or sue the state to stop the regulations from taking effect. Governor vetoes bill voiding vehicle emission standardsArizona Daily Star

NH – The state Senate has passed legislation (HB1434) that would implement the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The state House had already passed the same bill, but needs to approve changes made by the Senate. The governor has expressed his support for the bill, which would be revisited if a federal cap-and-trade plan is implemented. NH Senate gives OK to global warming initiativeBoston Globe

NH – The New Hampshire legislature has sent a bill (HB1628) to the governor which would act as an incentive for homeowners to build small alternative-energy production facilities. Those who put electricity onto the grid could be paid as much as $6,000 depending on the cost of the system and how much power is generated. New Hampshire and Vermont Renewable Energy Program UpdatesRenewableEnergyWorld.com

VT – Vermont’s Green Mountain Power Corp. is offering incentives to homeowners who supply the power grid with solar energy. Customers supplying the solar energy will now be given $0.19 per kilowatt-hour as opposed to the standard $0.13 per kilowatt-hour. New Hampshire and Vermont Renewable Energy Program UpdatesRenewableEnergyWorld.com


National News

Nuclear energy producers are eager to see a cap-and-trade system enacted because the proposed system in which polluters will have to pay for their emissions only counts carbon output as pollution, not nuclear waste. This exclusion, combined with the fact that the rates of nuclear power generators are less regulated than those of coal or natural gas, has led some nuclear power companies to expect additional profits in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Carbon caps may give nuclear power a liftWall Street Journal

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is proposing an amendment to the Climate Security bill which would add new funding to the bill. The proposed changes would increase the amount the government would use to help consumers offset rate hikes from utilities to $911 billion and introduce $800 billion in tax breaks. Some new measures would help businesses, including $213 billion in subsidies to corporations that sell energy and manufacture products which require a great deal of energy to create such as cars or paper. Corporations would further be allowed to offset up to 30% of their carbon-cutting obligations by planting trees or investing in anti-deforestation programs. Boxer to propose changes to climate billWashington Post and New global warming measure would provide tax relief to consumersCQ.com (subscription)

3,100 wind turbines were installed in the United States last year, contributing to a total number of about 25,000. Although the power generated from these turbines amounts to only 1% of the national power production, the US Department of Energy has said that as much as 20% of US electricity could be generated by wind by 2030. Production of wind energy will continue to rise as new wind farms are being created faster than ever. Several companies have recently invested funds in the hundreds of millions of dollars each to create wind farms that will produce electricity to power hundreds of thousands of homes. Quietly, wind farms spread footprint in U.S.Washington Post

John McCain has highlighted the issue of climate change in his campaign speeches and suggested that the US needs to cut its carbon emissions. All remaining presidential candidates now support reducing carbon emissions to offset climate change. McCain’s plan calls for 60% drop in emissions from 1990 levels by 2050, which is less than Lieberman-Warner’s 70% and the 80% reductions called for by Senators Clinton and Obama. Greenhouse gas must be capped, McCain assertsNew York Times

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Energy Update, May 22, 2008

May 13, 2008
CO – Governor Ritter signed several orders which will require the state to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The orders also require companies to measure and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit. Ritter enacts measures to tally greenhouse gasesDenver Post

CT – The state Senate unanimously passed a bill already passed by the House which would require that the state cut its emissions to 10% less than 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80% less than 2001 levels by 2050. It would also require that state agencies be proactive in working toward those goals. It is another in a string of legislation revolving around the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which will implement a cap-and0trade system later this year. Governor Rell has sent mixed signals regarding the legislation, both praising its ends and questioning its costs. State Senate gives solid approval to gas-emission billThe Day

FL – The state House unanimously passed legislation that would overhaul Florida’s energy policy. The new policy would require new homes to be 20% more efficient by 2010 and 50% more efficient by 2019, speed up the process of building new nuclear power plants, and require a certain percentage of electricity to be produced from renewable sources. Green energy bill sails through Florida HouseMiami Herald

KS – The contentious debate over coal-fired power plants in Kansas appears to be over. In the last week of the legislature’s session, Governor Sebelius was offered a compromise by the legislature: allow a slightly smaller version of the plants to be built and the legislature would put more requirements on utilities to produce renewable energy. The Governor did not accept the offer and vetoed the bill, in part because it still stripped the Secretary of Health and Environment of much regulatory power. The House attempted to override the governor’s veto only to come up four votes short. The State Supreme Court put the challenges to the state’s denial of permits on the backburner while political and legal actions run their course. And, even if regulatory barriers are lifted, rising construction costs and an uncertain regulatory future may be too great of a cost to begin construction of the more than $3.6 billion plant. Sebelius given ultimatum on power plantTopeka Capital-Journal and Kansas Supreme Court puts coal-plant cases on hold Lawrence Journal-World and Building cost may be worse setback for coal plantsWichita Eagle and House fails to override third vetoLawrence Journal-World

MA – As the Massachusetts energy bill winds its way through the legislature, Governor Patrick has made several public appearances in support of the legislation and a green economy in general. Governor Patrick says the bill would be an impetus for businesses to conserve energy, and for many to produce and consume renewable energy, through utility regulation and state rebates on equipment such as solar panels. He also said that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end and that Massachusetts should be leading the world toward renewable energy, and be rewarded with jobs and a healthy economy. Governor says Mass. can reap benefits from clean energyMIT News and Mass. governor urges more action to develop renewable energyForbes.com

MD – Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the energy bills passed by the legislature in its final week. Included were tax credits for home renewable energy projects, new standards for new and renovated state buildings, requirements that utility companies in the state produce renewable energy, and a state goal of lowering electricity consumption 15% by 2015. Governor holds off on signing “Alcopops” legislationWashington Post and O’Malley inks environment billsGazette.net

OH – Governor Strickland has signed energy legislation into law which will affect the way Ohioans produce and purchase electricity. The law renews some and places other new regulations on utilities, requires utilities to undertake conservation measures to reduce electricity use 22%, and requires that 25% of the electricity used in the state come from renewable or “advanced” energy sources. That 25% figure is broken down more specifically by solar, wind, and other sources. Strickland signs “hybrid” energy billToledo Blade and Ohio may require renewable energyToledo Blade

PA – Two bills have stalled in the Senate that could significantly change the way Pennsylvanians get and use electricity. HB 2200 would promote cost-effective ways to reduce electricity use through energy efficiency and conservation statewide by 1% by 2011 and eventually by 2.5%. SHB 1 would invest $850 million into renewable energy projects. Energy-conservation bills crucialPhiladelphia Inquirer

SC – Of the many energy bills proposed in the Senate this session, three in particular have passed and are in House committees. The bills offer tax breaks and credits for energy-efficient appliances and requires the state to replace incandescent bulbs with Fluorescent ones. Senate gives key approval to energy-saving incentivesSpartanburg Herald-Journal

WV – Three coal mining companies have agreed to limit their operations in response to citizens groups seeking a federal court order and a temporary injunction against the companies’ removal processes. The companies were ordered by a judge to notify nearby residents if they were to add any new fill sites, but failed to comply. Coal operators agree to limit valley fillsCharleston Gazette

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Energy Update, May 13, 2008

May 6, 2008
In the States

CO – Governor Ritter signed several orders which will require the state to lower its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The orders also require companies to measure and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases they emit. Ritter enacts measures to tally greenhouse gasesDenver Post

CT – The state Senate unanimously passed a bill already passed by the House which would require that the state cut its emissions to 10% less than 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80% less than 2001 levels by 2050. It would also require that state agencies be proactive in working toward those goals. It is another in a string of legislation revolving around the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which will implement a cap-and0trade system later this year. Governor Rell has sent mixed signals regarding the legislation, both praising its ends and questioning its costs. State Senate gives solid approval to gas-emission billThe Day

FL – The state House unanimously passed legislation that would overhaul Florida's energy policy. The new policy would require new homes to be 20% more efficient by 2010 and 50% more efficient by 2019, speed up the process of building new nuclear power plants, and require a certain percentage of electricity to be produced from renewable sources. Green energy bill sails through Florida HouseMiami Herald

KS – The contentious debate over coal-fired power plants in Kansas appears to be over. In the last week of the legislature’s session, Governor Sebelius was offered a compromise by the legislature: allow a slightly smaller version of the plants to be built and the legislature would put more requirements on utilities to produce renewable energy. The Governor did not accept the offer and vetoed the bill, in part because it still stripped the Secretary of Health and Environment of much regulatory power. The House attempted to override the governor’s veto only to come up four votes short. The State Supreme Court put the challenges to the state’s denial of permits on the backburner while political and legal actions run their course. And, even if regulatory barriers are lifted, rising construction costs and an uncertain regulatory future may be too great of a cost to begin construction of the more than $3.6 billion plant. Sebelius given ultimatum on power plantTopeka Capital-Journal and Kansas Supreme Court puts coal-plant cases on holdLawrence Journal-World and Building cost may be worse setback for coal plantsWichita Eagle and House fails to override third vetoLawrence Journal-World

MA – As the Massachusetts energy bill winds its way through the legislature, Governor Patrick has made several public appearances in support of the legislation and a green economy in general. Governor Patrick says the bill would be an impetus for businesses to conserve energy, and for many to produce and consume renewable energy, through utility regulation and state rebates on equipment such as solar panels. He also said that the age of fossil fuels is coming to an end and that Massachusetts should be leading the world toward renewable energy, and be rewarded with jobs and a healthy economy. Governor says Mass. can reap benefits from clean energyMIT News and Mass. governor urges more action to develop renewable energyForbes.com

MD – Governor Martin O’Malley signed into law the energy bills passed by the legislature in its final week. Included were tax credits for home renewable energy projects, new standards for new and renovated state buildings, requirements that utility companies in the state produce renewable energy, and a state goal of lowering electricity consumption 15% by 2015. Governor holds off on signing “Alcopops” legislationWashington Post and O’Malley inks environment billsGazette.net

OH – Governor Strickland has signed energy legislation into law which will affect the way Ohioans produce and purchase electricity. The law renews some and places other new regulations on utilities, requires utilities to undertake conservation measures to reduce electricity use 22%, and requires that 25% of the electricity used in the state come from renewable or “advanced” energy sources. That 25% figure is broken down more specifically by solar, wind, and other sources. Strickland signs “hybrid” energy billToledo Blade and Ohio may require renewable energyToledo Blade

PA – Two bills have stalled in the senate which could significantly change the way Pennsylvanians get and use electricity. HB 2200 would promote cost-effective ways to reduce electricity use through energy efficiency and conservation statewide by 1% by 2011 and eventually by 2.5%. SHB 1 would invest $850 million into renewable energy projects. Energy-conservation bills crucialPhiladelphia Inquirer

SC – Of the many energy bills proposed in the Senate this session, three in particular have passed and are in House committees. The bills offter tax breaks and credits for energy-efficient appliances and requires the state to replace incandescent bulbs with Flurescent ones. Senate gives key approval to energy-saving incentivesSpartanburg Herald-Journal

WV – Three coal mining companies have agreed to limit their operations in response to citizens groups seeking a federal court order and a temporary injunction against the companies’ removal processes. The companies were ordered by a judge to notify nearby residents if they were to add any new fill sites, but failed to comply. Coal operators agree to limit valley fillsCharleston Gazette

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