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Blog posts August 2009

Energy Update, August 21, 2009

In the States

CT – Renewable energy is a growing industry in Connecticut, resulting in new jobs, thriving small businesses, and millions in new investments.  The new projects range from a small wind turbine on a farm to a million-dollar-plus solar array at a school and are made possible in part through state funds and federal stimulus money.  Clean energy taking root in ConnecticutHartford Courant

NJ – Governor Jon Corzine praised residents, businesses, and environmental groups during the celebration of the 4,000th solar installation in the state.  Solar energy now produces more than 90 megawatts statewide.  The Governor implied that such installations help achieve his goal to increase the use of renewable energy and create more jobs.  New Jersey reaches renewable energy milestoneNew Jersey Newsroom

NY – Governor David Paterson has signed an executive order that will seek to cut emissions from all sources to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.  He also named a Climate Action Council to make recommendations on how to best achieve this goal.  Deputy Secretary for Energy Tom Congdon noted that such a program will make the State more competitive if and when a national carbon-cutting program is implemented.  State joins effort to limit greenhouse gasAlbany Times-Union

Regional and National News

MidwestState officials’ responses to the federal government’s calls for more investment in “green” jobs ranges from alarm to advocacy.  Some see the shift from manufacturing to green jobs as a poor trade-off that will result in a large net loss of jobs.  Others are more optimistic and see it as an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases and boost their local economies.  The number of green jobs is growing throughout the region, but still represents a much smaller percentage of total jobs than the manufacturing sector.  Greening the rustbeltEconomist

National – The federal government is continuing its investment in alternative energy through more than $350 million of stimulus assistance and and other funds released in the past month.  The projects include $52.5 million for concentrating solar research, $13.8 million for 28 wind projects, $21.45 million for community renewable energy projects, $47 million for smart grids and statewide clean energy programs, $6.3 million for biofuel research, and $212 million for other clean energy projects.  US government continues to fund renewable energy R&D

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Energy Update, August 7, 2009

In the States

DE – Governor Jack Markell has signed two bills into law that he says will spur new green collar jobs.  The new laws will require more energy efficient homes and office buildings, encourage zero net energy buildings, and require utilities in the state to reduce energy consumption by 15% in just five years, by 2015.  Governor Markell signed legislation earlier this year promoting home solar and wind energy.  Markell signs landmark energy legislationDelaware Business Ledger

OR – Governor Ted Kulongoski has signed several climate change bills that will lower greenhouse gas emissions in the state.  The new laws require that new power plants be at least as clean as natural gas, new buildings are more energy efficient, and emissions are reported by more polluters.  They also authorize a low carbon fuel standard, and grants for energy efficiency projects.  Governor signs climate change legislationPortland Business Journal

The nation’s Governors agreed to support a goal of requiring new and renovated buildings to be carbon-neutral by 2030 at the National Governors Association Annual Meeting.  The goal is promoted by the American Institute of Architects and endorsed by the US Conference of Mayors and the National Association of Counties. Governors call for carbon-neutral buildings by 2030New York Times

Regional and National News

The Cash for Clunkers program, which provides car-buyers with $3,500 to $4,500 in incentives to trade in gas-guzzlers for cars with much better gas mileage, is running out of its $950 million in stimulus funds.  The House and Senate have passed a $2 billion extension of the program to keep it going.  $2B in clunkers cash on way, senators sayDetroit Free Press and “Cash for Clunkers” gets a $2 billion boostNew York Times

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the chairs of five committees have agreed to get a cap-and-trade bill out of committee by September 28.  Senators have cited several impediments to quick passage of the bill, though, including the complexity of the pending health reform legislation, negative impacts on coal- and manufacturing-heavy states, and spending any additional money after the stimulus and health reform.  Some Senators have stated that it is unlikely that the bill will be passed this year, and will only be harder to push next year as difficult votes are harder to make in election years.  Climate bill may fall by the waysidePolitico

President Obama and other administration officials traveled throughout the country on August 5 to announce the recipients of $2.4 billion in stimulus grants for the development of battery powered vehicles.  The President visited Indiana and Vice President Biden was in Michigan – those two states received the majority of the funds – while other cabinet members traveled to North Carolina, Florida, and Pennsylvania to announce grants in those states.  The grants will fund 50 projects in 25 states.  Obama back in Indiana with message and aidNew York Times and Electric cars get plug from ObamaCharlotte News and Observer

International News

At a two-day meeting between the Obama administration and Chinese officials, the US and China entered into an agreement that states each country’s desire to deal with the climate issue, though no real specifics emerged.  The memorandum of understanding cited climate change as a challenge to be combated by transitioning to a low-carbon economy through “domestic action and international cooperation.”  At the meeting, both countries said their relationship on the subject would be positive and mutually beneficial. US, China end talks with smiles but no progress on climate changeLos Angeles Times and US-China memorandum of understanding to enhance cooperation on climate change, energy and the environment US Department of State

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