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Blog posts May 2009

Energy Update, May 15, 2009

May 15, 2009
In the States
MA Governor Deval Patrick, joined by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, announced that $25 million in federal stimulus funding will be used for a new facility in Charlestown, Massachusetts where commercial-sized wind turbine blades will be tested. The Department of Energy had already provided $2 million for this project.  The Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust has committed another $13.2 million in grants and loans.  State secures turbine testing facility CapeCodonline.com
IN Governor Mitch Daniels joined other local officials in welcoming a new partnership between Electric Motors Corp. (EMC), a manufacturer of electric motor vehicles based in Camarillo, California, and Gulf Stream Coach, located in Elkhart County.  The two companies will team to produce light-duty electric pickup trucks.  The CEO of EMC, Wil Cashen, is a native of Mishawaka, Indiana.  The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the business venture has the potential to create as many as 1,600 jobs by 2012.  Electric autos spark Elkhart County hope South Bend Tribune
MD Governor O’Malley has signed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Act and “Smart Green and Growing” legislative package into law, which is intended to protect Maryland’s environment and natural resources, promote sustainable growth, and mandate the strongest economy-wide reduction in global warming pollution of any climate bill in the country. Maryland Enacts Ambitious Climate Protection Law Environment News Service
MN Governor Pawlenty recently signed a bill that will provide funds for a renewable energy testing laboratory at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  The laboratory will be used for testing Swedish and other green-energy technology and could lead to the manufacture of new products that use renewable combustible fuels in MinnesotaState approves $1.5 million in stimulus funds for renewable energy test center U.S. Sweden Partnership Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office
Federal News
As Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee continued to negotiate the details of cap and trade legislation intended to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs), leading Republicans on the Committee promised to try to kill the legislation and then, if unsuccessful, offer amendments to include nuclear power and “clean coal” as alternative sources and expand other domestic energy production, including offshore drilling.  Compromises reached this week by Democrats include:  GHG emissions will be reduced by 17 percent by 2020, instead of the original target  “cap” of 20 percent; a portion of the total available pollution permits would be given as free allowances, with 35% going to utility companies, and utilities would be required to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources and improve efficiency by another 5 percent by 2020 (with Governors having some flexibility to adjust both of these targets if they determine the higher goal for renewables is unattainable). Democrats near agreement on climate on climate bill Washington Post and Republicans push changes to U.S. climate bill Washington Post

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Energy Update, May 1, 2009

May 1, 2009
In the States
GA – Governor Sonny Perdue has signed a new law that will provide stimulus money to businesses as grants for renewable energy projects on commercial property.  Under the new law, up to 35% of a project can be paid for with the grants that will be administered by the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority.  Perdue signs clean energy grants billAtlanta Business Chronicle
IA – Two new laws signed by Governor Chet Culver will give wind power an increased presence in the state.  $1 million in tax credits will become available to wind energy companies for research and development and individual groups such as universities or cooperatives will be allowed to create their own energy systems and qualify for the wind energy production tax credit.  The Governor believes the legislation could produce as many as 400 jobs in Sioux City alone.  Governor signs bills boosting wind energy industryRadio Iowa
IL – At an inaugural Energy Summit held at Southwestern Illinois College, Governor Pat Quinn expressed support for the recently passed stimulus and the domestic green jobs it is meant to create.  He said the state and country will need the millions of jobs that the conservation, technology, and alternative energy funding in the federal stimulus legislation would produce and noted plans for the FutureGen power plant and a new high-speed rail corridor.  State projects, ‘green’ future touted at energy summitBelleville News-Democrat
MO – Governor Jay Nixon has signed an executive order that is expected to save the state $1 million per year by requiring state agencies to reduce energy consumption by two percent.  It will also direct $50 million in federal stimulus money toward weatherization projects on state buildings.  He said the effort will focus on “low-hanging fruit” such as monitoring thermostats and switching to more efficient lighting.  Governor orders less energy useColumbia Daily Tribune
UT – Governor Jon Huntsman renewed his call for renewable and diversified energy in a series of events that focused on the issue.  The Governor attended a high school competition for electric-powered racing cars during which he touted the state’s “land, sun, wind, geothermal and brain power."  He also held a ceremonial signing for a new law that will allow residents in rural areas to create their own power, visited a wind farm that is currently being built, as well as a working geothermal plant.  Renewable energy powers teens’ futureSalt Lake Tribune 
Federal News
Smart Grid Investment – After issuing preliminary guidance for the distribution of $4.5 billion of smart grid funding included in the federal stimulus legislation, the U.S. Department of Energy has indicated it may increase the proposed $20 million cap on individual grants, at least for some portion of the money.  The smart grid spending is intended to create jobs and improve the efficiency and reliability of the nation's electricity grid, but some utilities have questioned whether the proposed grant amounts will be sufficient to significantly lower peak demand, integrate renewable sources, and reduce both energy consumption and demand for new coal-powered plants.  U.S. may raise cap on grants for high-tech power gridWashington Post
Cap and Trade – President Obama spent his Earth Day in an Iowa town in which a shuttered Maytag plant has since been converted to produce towers and turbines for wind energy production.  The president highlighted the growing role of alternative energy and called on Congress to pass a cap-and-trade plan to reduce carbon emissions.  A draft cap-and-trade plan was introduced in April by Congressmen Waxman and Markey and has since been pored over by several groups and members of Congress with concerns about the current proposal.  Many Republicans and some Democrats in the House have cited regional issues such as resource availability, though congressional Republicans are more opposed to the measure on grounds that it may raise costs for businesses and consumers.  While most environmentalists believe that all the carbon credits should be auctioned off, electric utilities make the case that if a large portion of the credits are initially allocated for free by Congress, the financial impact of the cap would be softened and consumers would be better protected.  Auto companies do not oppose the bill but would like 5% of the revenues to develop greener cars and coal companies would like the implementation date pushed back from 2012. Seemingly in response to these issues, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman has pushed back the markup of the bill at least one week, though he still expects it to leave the committee by the Memorial Day recess.  Obama urges passage of energy legislationNew York Times and Climate bill has some on edgePolitico and Dems delay climate change bill - Politico

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