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Blog posts June 2014

Energy Update, June 6

In the States

KS – Kansas’ top environmental regulator recently approved a $2.8 billion coal-fired power plant construction project, just days before the federal government released new rules governing greenhouse gas emissions. The new 895-megawatt plant will be built in southwest Kansas by Sunflower Electric Power Corporation and will, when completed, generate enough electricity to power more than 500,000 homes. Sunflower, which is based in Kansas, already provides power to about 400,000 homes in Kansas via electric cooperatives. “The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has done its due diligence to ensure this plant will deliver clean power to Kansans within current emissions limits,” said Governor Sam Brownback, who believes the new plant will create more jobs and help improve the State’s economy. Kansas gives go-ahead again to new coal plant near HolcombThe Wichita Eagle

NC – Governor Pat McCrory signed legislation that clears the way for permits to be issued for gas drilling through hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, or the process by which the flow of oil and gas is improved by creating rock fissures and fractures through the pumping of pressurized water, sand, and chemicals down well bores. Fracking permits could be issued as early as March 2015 with vertical core samples, which can help determine the presence of natural gas and oil, being taken as early as this fall. “Now for the first time North Carolina is getting into energy exploration,” Governor McCrory said. “North Carolina has been sitting on the sidelines for too long.” NC to start test drilling for natural gas to lure energy industryThe Charlotte Observer

OH – Governor John Kasich is planning to sign a measure to temporarily freeze the State’s renewable energy standards as they apply to electricity utilities. The law, if signed, will also erase a requirement that utilities buy half of their renewable energy from within the State when the standards resume in 2017. The Governor’s office called the bill a compromise solution that will help the State to examine the progress Ohio has made while also holding onto that progress.” Several other States across the country are also considering legislation to repeal or to freeze energy efficiency and renewable energy standards. The standards needed to be changed because they “are simply not achievable or sustainable,” said Republican Rep. Peter Stautberg. Kasich agrees to sign bill revamping green-energy requirementsThe Columbus Dispatch

UT – Governor Gary Herbert brought together State and private sector energy officials for his 2014 Energy Development Summit. During the Summit, Governor Herbert released his energy efficiency plan, which includes 26 recommendations for the State. The Governor encouraged individuals and businesses at the Summit to conserve energy and be efficient consumers of energy. "A big component of this plan is transportation — better transportation, better fuels and more efficient automobiles,” Governor Herbert said. “We want our building codes to (also) be more efficient.” Governor unveils energy-efficiency, savings plan to target industry, farmers, and air qualityThe Deseret News

VA – Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order establishing the Virginia Energy Council, which is tasked with developing an energy strategy for the Commonwealth. The Council, which will include 20 to 25 members, will make recommendations for the Commonwealth’s energy plan to the General Assembly this October. The Council is tasked with developing strategies to increase the diversity of energy used to power Virginia’s homes and businesses, with a specific focus on renewable energy sources, and also to export internationally more of the Commonwealth’s coal. “Virginia must develop an aggressive strategy to protect existing jobs in our energy industries while positioning the Commonwealth to be a leader in new energy technologies,” said Governor McAuliffe. “An innovative energy strategy will enable us to attract the best businesses and entrepreneurs to Virginia, create more jobs in growing industries, and lead a 21st century Virginia economy.” McAuliffe signs executive order to create Virginia Energy CouncilThe Augusta Free Press

Federal and National

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently released a draft rule to regulate carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. The proposed rule mandates that existing power plants cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030 based on 2005 levels. According to federal officials, existing power plants account for 38% of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions and on average, are 42 years old. The proposal is expected to be finalized in 2015 and will then give States another year to execute the rule and will provide several options to meet the new emission targets. "It provides a huge incentive for states and consumers to become more energy efficient," President Obama said. "As a result, your electricity bills will shrink as these standards will spur investment in energy efficiency and cutting waste." Republicans and some Democrats have criticized the regulations, including Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who plans to introduce legislation to block the new rules. Everything you need to know about the EPA’s proposed rule on coal plantsThe Washington Post

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