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Blog posts June 2012

Energy Update, June 29, 2012

June 29, 2012

In the States

AK – Governor Sean Parnell has signed a bill into law that creates a new fund within the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) that will provide loans, both directly and through banks and credit unions, to finance energy projects in the State.  The authority will also be able to offer loan or bond guarantees.  The new energy fund will help finance small to medium-sized energy projects, such as improving energy efficiency in commercial buildings or developing new renewable energy, and will begin operations this year with $125 million.  Governor Parnell said the new law “will bring the state closer to achieving its goal of 50 percent electricity generated by renewable energy by 2025.”  Gov. Parnell signs bills expanding AIDEA finance abilityAlaska Journal of Commerce

NH – Governor John Lynch has signed a bill into law that fully incorporates thermal renewable energy into the State’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program.  The legislation also gives incentives to biomass, solar, and geothermal project developers equivalent to those provide to renewable electricity projects.  Under the new law, projects such as wood pellet-burning boilers and solar hot water systems must be used to meet a portion of the state’s current RPS standard, which mandates that 23.8 of percent of every utility’s energy portfolio come from renewable energy sources by 2025.  The legislation sets specific percentage requirements that increase over time.  Qualifying thermal projects will also receive the same $29 per megawatt-hour renewable energy credits as other renewable energy sources.  New Hampshire sets thermal renewable energy carve-outRenewable Energy World and N.H. grants full RPS credit to biomass thermalBiomass Magazine

ND – Governor Jack Dalrymple joined Senator John Hoeven in speaking to the Renewable Energy Action Summit, in which they and other government and business officials said that the State’s approach to energy is a model for the country.  Governor Dalrymple said that the State’s goal of doubling energy production between 2007 and 2025 is “almost laughable now” because the State is ahead of schedule to meet that goal.  North Dakota has experienced a sevenfold increase in oil production in the last decade to more than 600,000 barrels, making it the No. 2 oil producer after Texas.  Wind power generation has also increased over the same period of time from less than a half a megawatt to 1,400 megawatts, ranking North Dakota 9th among all states.  Credit for the growth in energy production was mostly given to the State’s comprehensive energy policy, which includes goals for developing each type of energy resource and allows the State to work with the energy industry to ensure that those goals are achieved.  Officials: ND energy policy is model for countryGrand Forks Herald

Federal News

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has upheld a finding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that greenhouse gases pose a public health risk and must be regulated.  A panel of three judges ruled unanimously that the agency’s decision to impose restrictions was “unambiguously correct.” under requirements set forth in the Clean Air Act.  The court also upheld rules that limit emissions from both cars and stationary sources.  Fourteen states joined together in a lawsuit to block the EPA from imposing new restrictions, while 15 other states were part of earlier litigation that forced the EPA to take action.  Virginia’s attorney general said that he will appeal the ruling.  Court backs EPA over emissions limits intended to reduce global warmingNew York Times

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Energy Update, June 15, 2012

June 15, 2012

In the States

CT – Governor Dannel Malloy is proposing a 50 percent increase in the State’s investments in energy efficiency programs.  During a speech to the Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit, Governor Malloy outlined a program that would greatly expand efficiency programs by raising a surcharge on ratepayers.  The plan calls for a 2.1 percent reduction in energy use per year, which equates to a savings of $534 million per year and, according to the Governor, would make Connecticut the most energy efficient state.  Governor Malloy, who has been critical of efforts to expand offshore drilling said, "Dollar-for-dollar, energy efficiency is still the best policy and way better than drill-baby-drill."  Malloy sees $534 million in energy savings a yearDanbury News Times and Malloy pushes for energy efficiencyNew Haven Register

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering lifting the State’s four-year-old ban on hydraulic fracturing in five counties near the border with Pennsylvania.  Under the plan, each town in these counties would decide whether to allow the practice, the environmental effects of which are currently being studied, while the ban would remain in place in Catskill Park, aquifers, and historic districts in the area.  Lifting the ban would also only occur if the process is approved by the State’s regulators, who have said they believe that requiring deeper wells would limit contamination of the water supply.  Shortly after the plan’s outline was published, a series of protests around New York were announced by opponents of gas drilling who prefer a statewide ban.  However, many residents living in counties that would be allowed to drill are in favor of hydraulic fracturing and view leasing their property to gas companies as a way to supplement income.  Cuomo proposal would restrict gas drilling to a struggling areaNew York Times and NY shale gas opponents plan anti-fracking ralliesBloomberg BusinessWeek

OR – Governor John Kitzhaber has released a draft of his 10-year energy plan for the State that calls for all growth in electricity demand to be offset by energy efficiency and conservation.  Under this plan, the State would retrofit four million square feet of its office space and expand tax incentives, loans, and other programs that encourage energy efficiency.  Governor Kitzhaber’s plan also includes proposed upgrades to the State’s electricity grid to allow for more renewable energy, a 30-percent cut in fossil fuel use in vehicles, and a streamlined permitting and financing system for renewable energy projects that includes establishing a regional energy bank.  The Governor noted that measures that create stable energy and jobs were given priority.  Gov. John Kitzhaber releases draft of Oregon's 10-year energy planOregonLive.com and Kitzhaber releases draft of 10-year energy planSustainableBusinessOregon.com

 

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Energy Update, June 1, 2012

June 1, 2012

In the States

MD – Governor Martin O’Malley has signed three bills into law that are designed to increase the usage of solar energy and geothermal heating and cooling.  The new geothermal law makes Maryland the only state to count geothermal heat pumps toward its renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS), which requires utilities to obtain 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2022.  Governor O’Malley also enacted laws that will increase tax breaks for solar and geothermal projects and move up the deadline on the solar energy RPS, which will now require two percent of the state’s energy to come from solar by 2020 rather than the original 2022.  Maryland Gov. signs geothermal heat pump billContracting Business and O’Malley signs hundreds of bills that will tint Maryland a deeper shade of blueWashington Post and Maryland Legislation To Accelerate Solar Carve-Out Signed Into LawSolar Industry

NC – Governor Bev Perdue has issued an executive order mandating the creation of a workgroup to make recommendations on regulations concerning hydraulic fracturing.  Governor Perdue said that the workgroup should define regulations that allow for energy development while protecting water resources and citizens’ health.  "If done safely, fracking can be part of a larger energy solution to create jobs and help lower energy costs," the Governor said.  State House and Senate Republicans favor a bill that would create a board comprised of House, Senate, and Gubernatorial appointees to develop regulations and lift the moratorium on drilling, but expressed optimism that the Governor is taking action on drilling regulation.  Gov. Bev Perdue issues order to develop fracking rules for North CarolinaFayetteville Observer

OH – Governor John Kasich has said that he will sign a bill into law that will require new regulations on construction of new oil and gas wells, greater disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process, and water testing within 1,500 feet of hydraulic fracturing water wells.  The energy bill, which passed with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate, also requires that the amount of time between drilling and capping of wells be tracked, that well owners purchase insurance, and that waste water imported from other states be disclosed.  Ohio legislature OKs bill on energy fracking rulesChicago Tribune

National News

Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Christopher Coons (D-DE) have founded a working group with other Senators designed to examine the renewable fuels standard in an effort to determine which of its provisions are working and which are not.  The group will dedicate 20 – 30 staff members to a “seed-to-wheel examination” of the standard, which will take into account its affect on markets, the environment, food prices, feedstock, and consumers.  The group’s intent is to bring biofuels and the renewable fuels standard up for discussion in the next Congress, following this year’s elections.  US Senate group starts up “seed to wheel” review of US Renewable Fuel StandardBiofuels Digest

The U.S. Commerce Department has issued a preliminary ruling that will impose a 13.7 to 26 percent duty on wind turbine towers manufactured in China on the grounds that the companies building the towers have received unfair government subsidies.  The ruling comes not long after the Department issued a similar ruling on Chinese solar panels based on unfair subsidies.  After that ruling, the Department also ruled that Chinese companies manufacturing solar panels were “dumping” in the American market and subjected them to additional tariffs.  Wind turbine towers may also face additional duties due to dumping charges in the coming weeks.  Reactions to the rulings among businesses have been mixed.  Steelworkers are in favor of the rulings, as are U.S. solar panel and wind tower manufacturers; solar panel installers say that the higher prices will slow their business.  A lawyer for the coalition of U.S.-based wind turbine tower manufacturers that brought the complaint to the Department said that the decision is a “positive step” and is “where we expected it to be,” while a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that “resorting to protectionism will not solve these frictions.” U.S. imposes duties on Chinese wind tower makersNew York Times and U.S. sets duties as high as 26% on wind towers from ChinaBloomberg BusinessWeek

 

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