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Blog posts November 2013

Energy Update, Nov. 1

In the States

AZ – The Arizona Public Service Company (APS), the State’s largest utility, recently announced it is investing in a new project called Solana to store solar energy as heat rather than electricity. The company currently serves more than one million consumers throughout the State, though mostly in northern and central Arizona, including the Phoenix metropolitan area. The $2 billion Solana project, which is primarily funded with a $1.45 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, is located southwest of Phoenix. The Solana project utilizes a series of mirrors to reflect the sun’s light towards black-painted piping that transfers the heat to tanks containing molten salt, which can store the heat to be used when demand is high, thereby producing electricity even when the sun is not shining. According to Steven Gotfried, a spokesman for APS, Solana will produce about 3 percent of the power it sells, contributing to the State’s goal of 15 percent renewable energy standard by 2025. Arizona utility tries storing solar energy for use in the darkThe New York Times

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the State has created the first U.S. state-based strategic gasoline reserve to prevent shortages during future storms and natural disasters. The State decided to create the reserve in response to the service disruptions and limited supply available during and after Hurricane Sandy. The new Long Island-based reserve is expected to hold up to 3 million gallons of fuel and will initially cost the State $10 million to develop a pilot program. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of Fuel NY, a state-based initiative that requires half of the gas stations in certain New York counties to have backup power systems supported by state funds. “The gap in gasoline supplies during Superstorm Sandy was incredibly disruptive to the daily routines of New Yorkers who needed to get to school and work as well as the operations of businesses during an already difficult time,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. After Sandy, New York will hold strategic gasoline reserves The Washington Post

National and Federal

Eight Governors have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), joining together to lead an initiative that seeks to put over 3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025. The multi-state effort includes California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which together make up almost 25 percent of the entire American vehicle market. The MOU sets goals to produce zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), to reduce greenhouse gases while improving air quality, and to generate economic growth. ZEVs include plug-in hybrid, battery-powered, and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. The Governors also agreed to include ZEVs in public fleets and accommodate them in standardized building codes to make it easier to include electric vehicle charging stations. Governor Brown called the initiative “not just an agreement, but a serious and profoundly important commitment. From coast to coast, we’re charging ahead to get millions of the world’s cleanest vehicles on our roads.” Brown, Governors of seven states join to spur growth of zero-emission vehiclesThe Sacramento Bee

 The National Governors Association (NGA) released its November 2012-June 2013 update of its State Clean Energy Actions brief, which highlights the work of Governors on clean energy, economic development, and reducing energy costs during their 2013 State legislative sessions. The NGA report covers all 55 States, commonwealths, and territories and the more than 350 actions taken by Governors to advance energy policy in their States. The report provides summary data across seven categories, including: clean electricity, energy efficiency, alternative fuels and vehicles, lead-by-example initiatives, clean energy economic development, clean energy research, development, and demonstration, and greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the NGA report cites numerous state actions, including Nebraska’s newly enacted law allowing for a refund of sales and use taxes paid for renewable energy systems. In Illinois, the State enacted hydraulic fracturing regulations while in Mississippi, the State directed its Development Authority to establish a loan program for public schools to purchase school buses ad motor vehicles that run on alternative fuels. The report can be found here.

 In a letter to committee leaders on the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees, the Western Governors Association (WGA) urged Congress to change qualifying requirements for the renewable energy investment tax credit. WGA would like to see the credit allow for  any project that has begun construction by December 31, 2016 to be eligible. Only projects that have begun generating power by the deadline currently quality for the tax credit. The Governors are hoping such a change will lead to greater private sector investment while helping to decrease the risk associated with such projects. The letter, which is signed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, WGA Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, can be found here

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