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Blog posts March 2009

Energy Update, March 13, 2009

In the States
Governors are continuing to push to diversify their states’ energy portfolios.  Of the 40 Governors who gave State of the State addresses by early February, 25 generally discussed addressing the energy needs of their states and the nation, while also discussing the economic benefits of those policies.  Thirteen Governors advocated increased use of wind as a source of energy, while twelve Governors touted solar power.  Another six mentioned biofuels and the need for more research and growth in that sector.  A number of Governors also spoke about the importance of natural gas, nuclear energy, and coal gasification projects.  The Search for Power - StateNews
Clean Energy Financing
A weakened economy has slowed investment in the clean energy sector and helped to drive down energy prices that had spurred the industry’s growth.  According to New Energy Finance, a London consulting firm, spending worldwide by the public and private sectors on renewable energy development and energy efficiency surged from $34.1 billion in 2004 to $155 billion in 2008.  Expectations for government limits on greenhouse-gas emissions also contributed to these increased investment, but prospects for immediate action are now more uncertain.  And while more than $94 billion included in the new U.S. stimulus plan will be spent in the next 10 years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that annual global spending on renewable energy and energy efficiency would have to average $542 billion through 2030 to avoid dangerous consequences from climate change.  Clean-Energy Sector Looks for Private, Public HelpWall Street Journal
Federal News and Information
The House Energy and Environment Subcommittee reviewed the future of coal at a hearing earlier this week.  Democrats and Republicans agreed that more investment in clean coal technology is needed beyond the $3.4 billion included in the recently passed economic recovery legislation but did not agree on whether a carbon cap is needed.  One funding proposal offered by Rep. Rick Boucher of Virginia would allocate an additional $1 billion per year to develop and deploy carbon capture technologies, though whether effective carbon capture technologies can be developed in the near term was not universally agreed to.  Legislators seek role for coal in carbon-constrained worldThe Hill
Information on Energy Funds in the Stimulus

The recent passage of the stimulus has raised countless questions about when funds will be available and how to get them, many of which still need to be answered by officials.  Many organizations are releasing summaries and other helpful information about these subjects as information becomes available from the federal government.  The National Council on State Legislatures has put together a list of both the spending and tax provisions of the ARRA as it relates to energy.  The US Department of Energy has posted a website that provides information on all 50 states regarding funds allocated for weatherization and the State Energy Program, links to state energy offices and other useful websites, and an overview of the energy situation in that state.  Steptoe & Johnson, a law firm based in Washington, DC, has compiled a list of programs in the stimulus that includes the criteria that a project must meet, restrictions on projects, and links to program websites.  And the National Governors Association has put together a thorough outline of 31 energy and green jobs programs in the stimulus, specifically concerning how they relate to states and Governors.  Summary of energy related spending provisions in the ARRA [pdf]National Council on State Legislatures and Summary of energy related tax provisions in the ARRA [pdf]National Council on State Legislatures and Overview of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009US Department of Energy and Funding allocations in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [pdf]Steptoe & Johnson LLP and State opportunities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Energy and Green Jobs Programs [pdf]National Governors Association

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