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Blog posts April 2019

Energy Update: April 5, 2019

In the States
MD – The Maryland State Senate passed legislation that would require 50% of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. The current goal in Maryland is
25% renewable energy by 2020. Supporters of the bill hope that it will move Maryland in the right direction in addressing the effects of climate change. Senator Brian
Feldman, a lead sponsor of the bill, says that it’s a “No-brainer” due to its positive economic and environmental benefits. The bill, however, has strong opposition on the
Eastern Shore as it mainly expands offshore wind projects, which are being contested by lawmakers in those areas. The bill passed through the Senate but is stalled in the
House of Delegates due to a previous failed vote in committee, but supporters hope that the passage of the bill in the Senate will help move it forward in the House of
PR – The Puerto Rico legislature adopted a bill that would set a 100% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) by 2050, putting Puerto Rico on the same track as Hawaii, California,
and Washington D.C. The bill includes multiple interim goals of 40% renewable energy by 2025 and 50% by 2040. Another aspect of the bill places a ban on coal plants
starting in 2028. The purpose of the bill is to make energy both more affordable and reliable as Puerto Rico has some of the highest electricity costs in the country due to the
expense of shipping fossil fuels to the island. Its current energy infrastructure is also susceptible to disruption from hurricanes and other extreme weather. As Puerto Rico
continues to rebuild after Hurricane Mariá, the sponsors of the legislation believe the territory has a unique opportunity to create a new infrastructure that utilizes
renewable energy. The legislation includes a large build-out of solar energy storage and a range of renewable energy incentives for both utilities and consumers. The bill now
awaits a decision by Governor Ricardo Rosselló, who has already expressed his support for the bill and is likely to sign it. Puerto Rico Has Just Passed Its Own Green New
Deal - Forbes

NM – Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham recently signed into law new energy legislation that will make New Mexico another state ultimately requiring major electric utilities to
obtain 100% of their power from carbon emission-free sources. Current law requires that 20% of New Mexico’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020, the
Governor is building on that law by creating new goals of 50% by 2030 for investor-owned utilities, then 80% by 2040, and 100% by 2045. Rural electric cooperatives would
have more time to achieve the 100% emission-free goal. The bill also provides a mechanism to finance the Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) closure of a coal
power plant and creates job training programs for the renewable energy industry while extending assistance to laid-off coal workers. Critics of the bill say that it will still
leave PNM customers paying for the company’s lost investments in the coal industry and do nothing to save related jobs. Critics also say that the bill weakens bedrock
consumer protections by gutting the Public Regulation Commission’s authority. Despite some opposition, Governor Lujan Grisham believes the legislation demonstrates that
“states in fact can respond to the climate change crisis.” The Governor campaigned on pushing energy companies to transition to more renewable energy while also growing
the energy industry. Lujan Grisham signs landmark clean energy bill – Santa Fe New Mexican

FL – The Florida House and Senate are moving forward with bills that would ban all but one form of fracking and natural gas exploration. The bills attempt to reach a balance
between the interests of the natural gas industry and concerns of environmentalists who claim that fracking has an adverse effect on drinking water and may contribute to
an uptick in earthquakes. While some legislators voting for the bills didn’t consider them a perfect solution, they say the legislation is a first step in protecting the
environment. Critics of the bills came from two directions, with supporters of natural gas claiming the bills move Florida’s economy in a regressive direction, while others
believe the bills doesn’t do enough to address concerns regarding fracking because it continues to allow a rock-dissolving process called matrix acidizing to continue.
Fracking has dramatically increased the United States’ oil and natural gas production, but has also been linked to contamination of drinking water and earthquakes. Both the
Senate and House bills will have to be reconciled before being sent to Governor Ron DeSantis for his consideration. Bills bans 2 of 3 forms of oil, gas fracking in Florida – AP

CO – The Colorado Senate voted to send legislation giving municipalities more control over drilling sites for the oil and gas to Governor Jared Polis. He is expected to sign the
bill, but could also let it become law without his signature. Supporters of the legislation are also pleased that the bill makes the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation
Commission put public health and the environment before production in its oversight of the oil and gas industry. Opponents of the bill argue that the measure will reduce
crude oil and natural gas production and adversely affect the state and local economies. While most oil and gas industry groups remained opposed to the legislation, they
were pleased with some amendments added by the Colorado House and agreed to by the Senate. Colorado Senate sends local control oil and gas measure to Gov. Polis'
desk – Denver 7 ABC/The

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