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Blog posts February 2014

Energy Update, January 31, 2014

February 7, 2014

In the States

IA – According to a new report released by the Des Moines-based Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa has the potential to exceed the solar power energy of several other states, including Florida, Georgia, and Utah. The Council’s report, which generally analyzes the State’s solar energy power potential and industry, found that if Iowa were to cost effectively produce solar energy, it would place 16th in the nation and could generate a yearly maximum of 7 million gigawatt hours of solar photovoltaic energy. The report also estimates that Iowa could create around 2,500 jobs annually if the State added 300 megawatts of solar energy – enough to power almost 40,000 homes – over the next five years. “There are a number of important benefits that we’ve seen from wind that can be true for solar as well — from cleaner air and water to more jobs and more economic investment,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director the Council. Iowa’s solar power could outside Florida’sThe Des Moines Register

IN – Governor Mike Pence declared a state of emergency in response to the State’s propane shortage. Indiana is among 23 others states that have declared emergencies due to the lack of propane, which Governor Pence suggested is a crisis in the American Midwest, and was reportedly caused by several factors, including cold weather, pipeline issues, and increased prices. About 500,000 individuals, or 10% of the State’s population, use propane to hear their homes. Governor Pence also ordered the State’s agencies to work with truck drivers to expedite permits, waive fees on overweight loads carrying propane, and require state trucks to use alternative fuel to conserve propane. Additionally, the Governor announced that $5 million will be added to the State’s Low Income Housing Assistance Fund for the benefit of residents and local service providers. “Our administration is going to continue to pursue every avenue available to us to help Hoosiers through this severe shortage in propane during this difficult winter,” Governor Pence said. Pence declares energy emergency over propane shortageThe Indianapolis Business Journal and Skyrocketing propane prices cause Indiana to take actionThe Indianapolis Star

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered state agencies to toughen their oversight of oil shipments by rail, specifically by reviewing current safety and spill control plans. The Governor referenced recent disasters in Canada and North Dakota as evidence of the need to take action to secure oil shipments and review New York’s  preparedness in the event of an accident. The executive order instructs the State’s agencies and department to “to evaluate the state’s spill prevention, response, and inspection programs involving rail and ship transport of petroleum products.” The Governor has also requested a report and recommendations to be submitted to his office by April 30. Cuomo orders oversight of oil shipments by railThe New York Times and Cuomo seeks state, federal review of crude oil shipmentsThe Albany Times Union

Regional

The 487-mile southern leg of the Keystone XL Pipeline, called the Gulf Coast Pipeline, is fully operational and has begun transporting oil to refineries in Texas, according to its owner, TransCanada. The northern portion of the Keystone XL Pipeline is awaiting approval from the State Department because it crosses an international border. In order for TransCanada to carry crude heavy oil from Canada’s tar sands, the State Department would need to issue the company a permit. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, after his Department finalizes its environmental impact report, a decision will be made on approving a permit for the pipeline. Keystone pipeline’s southern leg to begin transporting oil to U.S. Gulf CoastThe Washington Post

Federal

Energy, as has been the case during the past few years, played an important part during President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address this year. The President, who spoke for more than hour, declared climate change a fact and mentioned his administration’s efforts to achieve energy independence, including the opening of federal lands and water to drilling. The President stated he would like to set new fuel efficiency standards for trucks and to speed up the building of new natural gas-powered factories and fueling stations for automobiles. In addition to setting emission limits for certain power plants, the President said he would use his executive power to push his agenda, if necessary. The President also noted that natural gas and oil production are each up 14% and 10% respectively over the past four years. Energy plays key role in Obama’s State of the UnionCNN Money

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