Blog posts January 2010
In the States
State of the States – More than half of all Governors have given their State of the State addresses, and a many of them have included energy issues in their speeches. Some of these are highlighted below. The full text and summaries of all of the State of the State addresses can be found on the Stateline.org website.
AK – Governor Sean Parnell gave his first State of the State speech, in which he advocated drilling for more oil and natural gas, saying that drilling would contribute to a “more secure, domestic energy future.” The Governor specifically promoted drilling in the outer continental shelf and in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.
HI – Governor Linda Lingle focused on energy in her State of the State speech, calling the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative “one of our most successful collaborations.” The Governor cited clean energy as important for the environment, the economy, and security, while introducing new tax incentives, bonds, and a ban on power plants that burn fossil fuels as ideas to achieve the State’s clean energy goals.
IN – In his State of the State address, Governor Mitch Daniels cited the fact that Indiana has been “the fastest growing State in wind power” over the past two years as proof of the State’s strength, and said that “within weeks, you’ll see us explode onto the solar power landscape.” He also said that the State’s goal is to become the capital of the electric vehicle industry, a “potentially massive industry of tomorrow.”
ME – A large portion of Governor John Baldacci’s State of the State Address focused on the future of energy in Maine. In terms of energy production, the Governor focused on the potential for offshore wind power generation, biofuels, and tidal energy. Governor Baldacci also focused on energy efficiency and conservation efforts such as rebates to homeowners for weatherization and grants to businesses for energy reductions.
MS – Governor Haley Barbour touted forthcoming projects in his State of the State address, including coal-to-liquids and coal-to-gas power plants, carbon capture technologies, and creating fuel from waste products such as pet coke and wood waste. Governor Barbour also promoted the expansion of nuclear, biofuel, and natural gas industries, saying that “as long as I am Governor, Mississippi will have an energy policy; and it’s more affordable, American energy.”
OH – Governor Ted Strickland opened his State of the State address with an overview of recent energy programs and investments in Ohio before announcing his new energy proposals. Specifically, the Governor advocated a new “Energy Gateway Fund” that would invest $40 million in State and federal money into solar, wind, fuel cells, energy storage, and other alternative energy projects, and restructuring tax incentives to promote more wind and solar energy production.
UT – In his State of the State address, Governor Gary Herbert unveiled the Utah Energy Initiative, which will develop a ten-year plan to ensure the use of modern technology combined with local inexpensive fuels to create jobs and economic opportunity. The Governor also touted the State’s abundance of energy resources, including wind, solar, geothermal, and hydroelectric, as well as a number of specific alternative energy projects.
WI – Governor Jim Doyle used his State of the State speech to propose new alternative energy initiatives that would increase energy production within the State. Currently, Wisconsin spends $16 billion per year on energy coming from outside its borders. The Governor supported the Clean Energy Jobs Act that would expand the State’s requirement for alternative energy use to 25% by 2025 and reduce total energy consumption by 2% by 2015. Governor Doyle also announced a new “Wisconsin Gold to Green Fund,” a $100 million revolving loan to allow manufacturers to reduce energy costs.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama expressed his continued support for climate change legislation and prodded the Senate to pass its version of the bill after passing jobs and financial regulation legislation. The President called upon opponents of climate change legislation to engage in negotiation by offering concessions on oil and gas drilling and some other issues, and received a standing ovation from both parties when he endorsed building more nuclear power plants. The call to action generated mixed reactions from Representatives and Senators. Climate change bill advocates Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer expressed optimism that a bill would be passed, while some other Democrats were skeptical of the bill’s chances or the President’s commitment to the issue, and some Republicans dismissed the bill’s chances altogether. Obama holds firm on climate bill, but most Senators shrug – New York Times
In giving the Republican response to the State of the Union, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell criticized the Obama administration for delaying offshore production, hindering nuclear energy, and for proposing what he described as “job-killing cap-and-trade energy taxes.” The Governor also said that Virginia may be the first State to explore for and produce oil and gas off the shore of the East Coast. McDonnell’s response for GOP focuses on jobs – Richmond Times-Dispatch
In the States
AZ – Governor Jan Brewer discussed her ideas on the future of energy in Arizona at a business conference in Phoenix, calling for more wind, solar, and nuclear energy production. The Governor said she is a “strong advocate for the development of more nuclear energy in Arizona,” calling the energy source “the cornerstone of our clean energy future.” She also said she is “committed to making Arizona the solar capital of the world,” proposed adding incentives and easing regulations, and signed two executive orders to help promote solar energy. Brewer pushes for nuclear as key part of energy goals – Arizona Republic
MD – As the session begins in the State general assembly, Governor Martin O’Malley is preparing to push for a low-cost plan to increase solar energy, offshore wind development, and electric cars. The Governor is proposing smaller changes to comply with the legislature’s existing goal of generating 20% of Maryland’s energy from renewable sources by 2022, and a need to cut $2 billion from the State budget. Examples include streamlining the process to allow transmission lines from offshore wind farms and a tax break on new electric vehicles. O’Malley to press for legislation on renewable energy – Baltimore Sun
NM – Governor Bill Richardson has signed an executive order instructing several state agencies to coordinate efforts to promote the growth of green jobs and renewable energy. The agencies are tasked with improving the electrical grid, commercializing new clean energy technologies, attracting renewable energy companies to the state, streamlining the permit process for alternative energy projects, and promoting commercial-scale geothermal energy. Richardson orders new steps to build green economy – New Mexico Business Weekly
WV – In his State of the State address, Governor Joe Manchin praised the energy sector and defended the coal industry. The Governor stressed balancing the economy and the environment, heralding both increased wind energy development and new technologies that will allow more drilling for oil and natural gas. His speech also focused on supporting the coal industry by noting the fuel’s ubiquity and low cost, praising an upcoming project to control greenhouse gas emissions at a power plant, and criticizing efforts to “villainize this resource that helped us win two world wars and built the greatest country in the world.” West Virginians urged to ‘stand up for our coal miners’ – Charleston Gazette
President Barack Obama has announced $2.3 billion in tax credits that is expected to leverage an additional $5 billion in private investment, help complete 183 clean energy projects, and create more than 17,000 new jobs. The credits will be provided for a wide variety of projects, including solar, wind, and geothermal energy production, fuel cells, electric cars, carbon capture and sequestration technology, and energy efficiency products. White House awards $2.3 billion in tax credits for clean energy developers – New York Times