Viohl & Associates

A Government Relations Firm

header photo

Blog posts September 2014

Energy Update, September 12

In the States

AK – The Alaska LNG Project took a major step forward recently with the submission of a formal request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin the pre-file process, which includes an environmental review, design, and permitting for construction. A joint venture between Exxon Mobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, TransCanada, and the State, the Alaska LNG Project is seeking to build an 800-mile pipeline connecting the State’s North Slope to a concurrently proposed natural gas liquefaction plant on the State’s southern coast. The pipeline is projected to transport as much as 3.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. According to a recent press release, the pipeline and liquefaction facility is expected to create at least 15,000 jobs. Alaska LNG Project takes step forward with FERC filing FuelFix

CO – Governor John Hickenlooper named 19 members to a state task force on oil and gas land use issues. The panel, which was a key part of a compromise between the Governor and supporters of oil and gas-related ballot initiatives, will, as part of its work, examine the role of the State and local governments in siting facilities. The task force will develop recommendations, which can be turned into legislation, “to minimize land use conflicts that can occur when siting oil and gas facilities near homes, schools, businesses, and recreation areas.” La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt and Randy Cleveland, president of XTO Energy, Inc., will chair the task force, which is expected to release it recommendations early next year. “We are confident,” said Governor Hickenlooper, “that the task force members we have assembled to take on these critically important issues for our state are exactly the right group to ensure that Colorado’s economy and environment remain healthy and robust.” Hickenlooper names task force to defuse drilling land-use conflicts The Denver Post

NH – The State’s Office of Energy and Planning released a new ten-year energy strategy, pursuant to state legislative authorization. The plan also calls on the State to “modernize its electrical grid, increase energy efficiency and transportation choices, and diversify the fuel supply.” The strategy plan and its recommendations do not contain any mandates or directives, but rather are intended to be used as tools for lawmakers and State agencies when working on energy policy. According to Governor Maggie Hassan, “the New Hampshire Energy Strategy proposes concrete ways to help reduce energy costs, create jobs, protect our natural resources, and improve reliability and diversity.” New Hampshire given recommendations for new 10-year energy strategyThe Concord Monitor

NV – Governor Brian Sandoval and Tesla Motors’ CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla will build a $5 billion gigafactory, which will produce lithium-ion battery cells, near Reno, Nevada. The project, which is expected to create nearly 7,000 jobs, has not yet been finalized as Governor Sandoval is seeking approval from the State Legislature on a tax incentives package ranging in worth from $700 million to $1.3 billion. The company is expected to generate more than $100 billion in economic activity over the next 20 years if the factory is built. Other States, including Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona, also competed for the project. Nevada lawmakers yet to reach decision on Tesla USA Today and Nevada bets $1.3 billion on Tesla to push beyond gamblingBloomberg

Federal and National

According to a new report by Environmental Entrepreneurs, nearly 13,000 clean energy and clean transportation jobs were created in the second quarter of 2014. That figure is more than double the total number of jobs created during the first quarter. The State of Arizona created the most jobs during the first six months of the year, with nearly 3,100 new positions. California, Michigan, Utah, and Massachusetts, in that order, were also among the top five clean jobs-producing States. The report by Environmental Entrepreneurs also requests that Congress extend tax provisions benefiting the industry at large. The States adding the most clean jobsForbes

The Department of Energy gave final approval for the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) via Sempra Energy’s facility in Hackberry, Louisiana. Sempra Energy expects the project to create approximately 3,000 jobs in addition to several hundred jobs in construction, engineering, and operations. The project is authorized to export up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of LNG for the next 20 years. Louisiana Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter and Congressman Charles Boustany, whose district includes Hackberry, all supported the project. "LNG exports,” said Congressman Boustany, “will provide good paying jobs and economic growth for all Americans and Louisiana is leading the way." Senator Landrieu added that the project will help “to position the United States as an energy superpower.” Energy Department gives final OK for LNG export facility in Cameron ParishThe Times-Picayune


Go Back

Energy Update, August 29

In the States

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the State will bundle its numerous solar energy programs into one, unified statewide initiative called NY-SUN Incentive Program, which seeks to add at least 3,000 megawatts of installed solar energy capacity by 2023. The new program will divide the State up into sectors and will assign each region specific incentives and megawatt goals. If New York reaches its goal, the State estimates the new solar energy capacity will be able to produce enough electricity to power approximately 400,000 homes. Governor Cuomo said in a statement the approach will “help the industry plan for the future, spur new development and aid in New York’s transition to a cleaner, cheaper, and more efficient energy grid.” NY bundles solar programs under NY-Sun initiativeWAMC Northeast Public Radio

UT – According to an analysis of public documents by The Salt Lake Tribune, a Colorado-based company operated for years without an air-quality permit from the State of Utah, potentially releasing “tons of toxic chemicals into the air since April 2008.” The company, Danish Flats Environmental Services, rejects the claims, stating that any emissions from its array of evaporation ponds, which process contaminated water and allow waste to more easily be removed, were “de minimis,” or insignificant. Danish Flats, however, recently acquired a permit from the State’s Division of Air Quality (DAQ), which is also probing other evaporation ponds and disposal sites across Utah. According to the executive director of the Canyon lands Watershed Council, Chris Baird, Danish Flats “was out of compliance for many years, but they hung on debating with DAQ over how to estimate emissions.” Utah grapples with toxic water from oil and gas industryThe Salt Lake Tribune

VT – Governor Peter Shumlin, during his latest “Summer Solar Tour,” announced more than $400,000 in grants from the State’s Clean Energy Development Fund. Many of the grantees were township offices and schools, including the Waitsfield Community Solar Project, which received $80,000 to install a solar panel farm near the Waitsfield Elementary School. Waitsfield Town Administrator Valerie Capels said “the 102 kilowatt, 330-panel solar array has been sized to provide enough locally-sourced renewable energy to support the Waitsfield Elementary School (and) additional generation from the solar array will also help offset electric expenses of the municipal buildings including the fire station, town garage and the library.” Clean energy grants announced on Governor’s summer solar tourVPR, Vermont Public Radio


The New England States Committee on Electricity, an interstate organization representing the interests of the six New England states on regional electricity matters, is putting its work on hold. The Committee, whose members were appointed by the States’ Governors, was currently developing a plan to impose a tax on ratepayers in order to finance certain energy infrastructure projects, including a natural gas pipeline, before Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick decided to suspend his support of the group’s work. Governor Patrick would like his administration to examine other infrastructure projects rather than the construction of a network of natural gas pipelines. The other New England Governors voiced their concerns over Governor Patrick’s decision, including Maine Governor Paul LePage, who wrote a letter to Governor Patrick requesting he reconsider his decision. New England governors’ energy effort on holdThe Concord Monitor and Gov. Patrick backs away from regional effort to expand natural gas capacityThe Boston Business Journal


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) recently voted to lift its two-year suspension on issuing nuclear power plant licenses and renewals while also approving regulations regarding the storage of spent nuclear fuel rods. The NRC has suspended any decisions on licensing in 2012 after it sought to consider and analyze the impact of radioactive waste on the environment. The rule approved by the NRC “accepts the premise that radioactive waste generated from reactors electricity can be stored safely for up to 60 years after a plan is closed or indefinitely if a permanent repository isn't built.” NYC finalizes waste rule, lets licensing decisions resumeGreenwire

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the construction of a 700-mile interstate wind transmission project stretching from Oklahoma and Texas to Kentucky and North Carolina. Construction is scheduled to begin on the new transmission line early next year. The line is projected to deliver at least 3,500 megawatts of wind power to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), doubling the amount of wind energy used currently by the TVA. Interstate wind transmission project gets key federal approvalThe Tulsa World


Go Back

2 blog posts

Contact Us

Hall of the States

444 N. Capitol Street NW

Washington, DC 20009

Phone: 202-624-1478