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Blog posts September 2012

Energy Update, Sept. 21

In the States

 GA – Governor Nathan Deal announced the construction of a new, $60 million wood pellet manufacturing plant in Sandersville, Georgia. The General Biofuels Georgia, LLC facility, which is expected to create 35 jobs, is scheduled to open in 2014 and will produce industrial-grade wood pellets for sale to a leading European utility. The plant’s capacity is expected to be approximately 440,000 tons per year. “We are committed to making Georgia the No. 1 place in the nation in which to do business,” Gov. Deal said, “and a central plank in our strategy is to boost the manufacturing sector.” Biofuels facility planned for Sandersville, Ga.The August Chronicle and Georgia Governor Nathan Deal: General Biofuels Georgia to locate in SandersvilleWJBF

 NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the launch of a $30 million initiative designed to expedite the development of energy efficiency technologies and to create market channels for energy efficiency technology companies. The new program, titled the Energy Efficiency Market Acceleration Program (EE-MAP), which is being implemented by the New York Power Authority, will fund research, market development activities, and demonstration projects. A Request for Proposals was recently issued in order to execute the initiative. “This public-private partnership,” said Gov. Cuomo, “will help bring innovative green technologies into the marketplace, helping spur economic investment in the clean energy sector and protect our environment, while maintaining New York’s position as a leader in sustainability.” State starts market-acceleration program focused on energy efficiencyCentral New York Business Journal and Cuomo announced launch of initiative to bring new energy efficient technologies into the marketplaceWBNG

 WA – Governor Christine Gregoire said cleaning up the nuclear weapons waste at the Hanford nuclear reservation remains a priority during the last months of her term. In a speech to business leaders, Gov Gregoire stated her work on Hanford is a highlight of her career in public service. The Governor, who continues to urge federal authorities, including Energy Secretary Steven Chu, to continue the clean-up, is confident the Department of Energy will remain committed to the effort. "I feel good about the secretary and his team and what he's doing,” Governor Gregoire said. “So we're going to partner with him. I want to pass the baton to my successor making sure this thing is on track, on time with funding to move this forward.” Governor Gregoire makes last visit to Hanford before end of termNBC KNDU

 WY – Governor Matt Mead urged federal officials to cancel or to scale back their plans to regulate hydraulic fracturing. A proposed rule by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management seeks to require companies to disclose the chemicals they inject down well bores. The fracking process improves the flow of oil and gas by creating rock fissures and fracture through the pumping of pressurized water, sand, and chemicals down well bores. Arguing that states can better regulate the fracturing process, Gov. Mead noted that the rule, which resembles one already in place in Wyoming, is duplicative and unnecessary. In a letter to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, Gov. Mead said “The effect (of the rule) is fewer jobs, less economic development and a dangerous precedent for future regulatory actions.” Wyo. Gov. to Interior: Back off on fracking rulesBloomberg Businessweek

 Federal News

 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced the creation of a division designed to diminish cyber threats and attacks on the nation’s electric grid, while at the same time acknowledging it lacks enforcement capabilities. The new Office of Energy Infrastructure Security will identify best practices and serve as a liaison to private-sector firms. According to the FERC, though congressional cybersecurity legislation has stalled and the Obama administration is circulating a draft executive order on cybersecurity,  the new office will operate within “existing statutory authority…and will not affect most electric utilities,” such as distribution-level utilities, which fall outside the FERC’s jurisdiction. Electric grid regulator creates cybersecurity officeThe Hill

 A proposed $3.5 billion power transmission line was recently approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Plans and Eastern Clean Line project, which will transport wind energy generated in western Oklahoma across a 500-mile kilovolt line to Tennessee, will be built by Clean Line Energy Partners LP in the next five years, if approval is also granted by Arkansas and Tennessee. Oklahoma approved the proposed project last year. The 3,500-megawatt line, according to project officials, will create regional jobs and supply power up to approximately one million homes when completed. Federal energy panel OKs wind power line project in OklahomaThe Tulsa World

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Energy Update, Sept. 7

In the States

 MD – Governor Martin O’Malley attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Maryland’s largest solar power facility, a $50 million project located on the grounds of Mount St. Mary’s University. The new 16.1 megawatt solar farm contains more than 200,000 photovoltaic panels, covering roughly 100 acres, and is expected to produce 20 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, or enough energy to power 1,700 homes. Baltimore-based Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corporation, built the facility, which is the result of a three-year-old state initiative to boost renewable energy production. "Solar energy means Maryland jobs," Governor O'Malley said. "Over the next 10 years, with efforts like this, we will be putting another 10,000 Marylanders to work on projects like this. There will be a day when solar panels will be as common as shingles on roofs." Solar lights up the Mount The Baltimore Sun and O’Malley talks jobs at solar farm’s completionThe Frederick News Post

 MI – Governor Rick Snyder joined the Michigan Public Service Commission and Consumers Energy in an effort to block the conversion of a natural gas pipeline to one that carries crude oil, citing the plan’s cost for the state’s consumers. Trunkline Gas, which operates two pipelines that carry natural gas to southwest Michigan, has requested that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) allow the transport of crude oil through one of its lines. According to Governor Snyder, who filed a motion with the FERC to block the company’s proposal, the pipeline supplies approximately one-third of Michigan’s natural gas. “This infrastructure is fundamental to energy supply and reliability in Michigan and is vital to heating our state's homes and businesses at affordable prices," Governor Snyder said. Gas pipeline conversion called costlyThe Detroit Free Press

 WV – Governor Earl Ray Tomblin along with leaders from Williams Partners L.P. announced the company will invest an additional $1.34 billion in processing capacity to help separate and to process natural gas liquids in northern West Virginia. Following Williams’ acquisition of two facilities and management of several pipelines in the state, this new investment, which is projected to create approximately 100 new long-term jobs, brings the natural gas company’s total investment in the region close to $4 billion. "Williams' commitment to Marshall County and the entire Northern Panhandle is an example of the growing opportunities Marcellus Shale development is bringing to West Virginia," said Governor Tomblin. "The investment and jobs will have lasting effects on the region as the workers needed will be operating and maintaining Williams' facilities and pipelines for many years to come." $1.34B Project to Add JobsThe Intelligencer / Wheeling News Register

 Federal News

 President Barack Obama issued an executive order calling for an increase in industrial energy efficiency, hoping to spur investment and the expansion of combined heat and power (CHP) processes in manufacturing facilities. CHP technologies generate heat and power simultaneously from one source, thereby burning less fuel, lowering emissions, and reducing energy costs. The order sets a national goal of expanding CHP capacity by 40 gigawatts by 2020, or an increase of 50% in cogeneration plants compared with today, and encourages federal and state partnerships to identify best practices. According to the administration, the new goal will lead to a decrease in carbon emissions by 150 million tons per year, save energy users about $10 billion a year, and result in roughly $40 to 80 billion in new capital investment. “We are taking another step to strengthen American manufacturing by boosting energy efficiency for businesses across the nation,” the President said. Obama sets new energy efficiency goalThe Hill and Obama order targets industrial efficiency, emissionsReuters

 The Obama administration also announced new vehicle fuel-efficiency standards intended to significantly cut American oil consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The new rules, which will apply to model years beginning in 2017, require all automobiles to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. The rule additionally mandates an emission standard of 144 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per mile for passenger car and 203 grams CO2 per mile for trucks. The National Automobile Dealers Association estimated that the standards will increase the price of a vehicle by approximately $3,000 and expressed the concern that 7 million Americans may be priced out of the new-car market. Greg Martin, General Motors’ executive director for communications, said “We expect the rules to be tough, but we have a strong history of innovation, and we’ll do our best to meet them.” EPA issues new fuel-efficiency standard; autos must average 54.5 mpg by 2025The Washington Post

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