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Blog posts May 2019

Energy Update: May 31, 2019

In the States

CO – Governor Jared Polis signed a series of seven bills on Thursday aimed at creating a road map to Colorado’s electrical grid being fossil fuel free by 2040. The seven bills addressed clean air, green jobs, and lower electric rates. The Independence Institute and the Colorado AARP have come out against the bills saying that encouraging utilities to shutdown coal plants earlier than expected will drive up utility bills. Supporters, like Conservation Colorado, see the package of bills as a nationally leading climate policy. One of the new laws sets a goal for Colorado to reduce its statewide greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025; 50 percent by 2030; and 90 percent by 2050. Gov. Polis signs 7 bills on renewable energy, but what does that mean for Colorado’s energy future?The Baltimore Sun

 

WV – Governor Jim Justice of West Virginia has welcomed plans for a new wind farm that is about 170 miles wide. The farm would sit in the middle of two counties and be part of the Black Rock Wind Farm. In discussing the wind farm, Governor Justice said, “This investment is truly great news for Mineral and Grant counties and all of West Virginia. Not only will the project harness West Virginia’s inexhaustible wind…it will continue to stimulate our economy.” West Virginia has installed wind capacity of 686 MW and this project will be a 25% increase to their clean energy output. The new Windfarm will be run by the Clearway Energy Group, which originally proposed the project, and operates other wind farms in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The creation of the wind farm is expected to create 290 jobs and will generate at least $4.8 million in state and local taxes.  West Virginia Governor Embraces Proposed Wind FarmNorth American Windpower

 

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo has blocked a controversial pipeline that would have supplied natural gas to New York City and Long Island. The pipeline was originally meant to run natural gas from New Jersey, across Raritan Bay and New York Bay to New York City. According to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, the pipeline would have had significant environmental impacts on the water quality in New York. The DEC maintains that the construction of the pipeline would result in water quality violations and fail to meet the state’s water standards. In response to the administration blocking the project, environmental advocates are hopeful this is a sign of the Cuomo administration’s commitment to the tenets of his Green New Deal. Williams Company, the project’s developer, plans to resubmit their application, but will need approval from both the DEC and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Cuomo administration rejects Williams pipelineWillamette Week

 

UT – Governor Gary Herbert officially unveiled an initiative that would deliver 1,000 megawatts of energy to Utah’s Millard County. Gov. Herbert said “The Utah Advanced Clean Energy Storage Project will generate enough power to meet the needs of 150,000 households. That’s the equivalent of about 21 percent of the total households in Utah”. The energy storage technologies being used include renewable hydrogen, compressed air energy storage, large-scale flow batteries, and solid oxide fuel cells. He also announced the first deployment of innovative software at the Enel plant at Cove Fort, Millard County. The software will monitor the pumps, using technology that detects anomalies and will offer recommendations on potential maintenance. Secretary Rick Perry believes that this will feed into his goal of bolstering geothermal resources 26-fold by 2050. Epic clean energy storage project bound for UtahKSL.com

 

OH – The Ohio House passed an energy bill that would require Ohio’s electric consumers to pay fees in order to subsidize two nuclear power plants and two coal-fired plants, one of which is located in Indiana. The legislation adds $1 per month to residential consumers’ bills to create a new fund capable of subsidizing power generators. The measure’s advocates contend eliminating energy efficiency programs will save consumers money and will reduce overall utility bills. An organization called Generation Now, a group that receive anonymous donations, has put $2.7 million into TV, radio, and online ads in support of the bill while opponents have spent about $300,000 on ads. State Representative David Leland of Columbus, who is opposed to the bill, pointed to the tornados ravaging the Midwest as proof that stopping climate change is imperative. Ohio House passes controversial energy bill changing electric feesDayton Daily News

 

National

Senator Susan Collins of Maine introduced a bipartisan bill this month to bolster renewable energy storage. Known as the Better Energy Storage Technology or BEST Act, the measure requires the Department of Energy (DOE) to “establish a research, development, and demonstration program for grid-scale energy storage” by providing $300 million over five years to DOE. “Next-generation energy storage devices will help enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electric grid, reduce energy costs, and promote the adoption of renewable resources,” said Senator Collins. “Our bipartisan legislation would help catalyze the development of this technology that holds great promise in the fight against climate change by supporting clean energy generation, including wind and solar.” The bill additionally directs DOE to develop a long-term strategic plan for energy storage. Susan Collins unveils $300M energy storage bill to combat climate changeThe Washington Examiner

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Energy Update: May 3, 2019

In the States

NV – Governor Steve Sisolak has signed into law a bill that requires Nevada to double its Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50% by 2030. This bill was first proposed in 2017, but was vetoed by former Governor Brian Sandoval. In signing the bill, Governor Sisolak said, “This milestone piece of legislation will also help reduce emissions that negatively affect the health and well-being of Nevadans”. The bill sponsored by Senator Chris Brooks easily made its way through both chambers. A ballot initiative has been approved for 2020 that would enshrine the 50% RPS in Nevada’s constitution, however the Governor expressed the view that he didn’t want to wait another year and a half to get the ball rolling on raising renewable standards. Sisolak signs ‘milestone’ bill increasing Renewable Portfolio Standard to 50 percent by 2030The Nevada Independent

 

OH – Governor Mike DeWine has thrown his support behind a nuclear energy bailout bill. The bill would raise $300 million for nuclear energy by tacking on a $2.50 fee to all residential electricity consumers. These fees would, however, be offset by eliminating a separate fee that pays for renewable energy. Governor DeWine believes that the state’s energy policy should be focused on having a reliable grid while limiting carbon emissions into the atmosphere and that, for the immediate future, it is impossible to dramatically reduce carbon without using nuclear power. Public committee hearings on the bill are ongoing. Opponents of the bill say that it would make clean energy more expensive in Ohio and that it would generate half as much clean energy. Amid bailout talk, Gov. Mike DeWine signals support for nuclear energyColumbus Dispatch

 

OR – Governor Kate Brown has expressed her support for a Clean Energy Jobs Bill that is getting mixed reviews from conservationists and environmental activists. The bill would create a system for reducing the pollution generation threshold that requires companies to purchase permits for any new greenhouse gas emissions. The amount of available permits available would decrease over time. Companies are also given an option to generate “offset credits” which are given as an incentive to complete projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These credits can be traded in to cover emissions over what the cap allows. This bill has failed multiple times in Salem previously and may fail again as some environmentalist groups are opposing the bill due to a provision that allows companies to use credits from other states to purchase permits. Despite this opposition, Governor Brown is prioritizing adoption of an emissions reduction program this legislative session. Oregon Clean Energy Jobs Bill has Mixed Support from Environmental Justice GroupsWillamette Week

 

NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo is advocating a Green New Deal that would aim to make the state’s electricity sector carbon free by 2040 and create a council to develop a plan to transition the state to net-zero carbon emissions. However, some environmentalists and advocacy groups have thrown their support behind a competing bill that goes beyond the Governor’s proposal  by  requiring all industries in New York to be carbon-free by 2050, not just electricity. These groups oppose Governor Cuomo’s proposal because they believe it doesn’t go far enough to address New York’s contribution to climate change. Supporters counter that this is the first time that a bill like Cuomo’s has been capable of passing in years with the newly elected Democratic Senate. However, some lawmakers maintain that the Governor’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions only for the electricity sector is closer to the status quo. They believe that more needs to be done to put infrastructure and policies in place that will actually reduce the state’s carbon contribution.  New York's Governor is pitching a Green New Deal. Climate Activists say it's not Green Enough.Stamford Advocate

 

ME – Governor Janet Mills has introduced bipartisan legislation that would create a Maine Climate Council, which would help the state to meet its clean energy goal of reaching 100% renewable energy in Maine’s electricity sector by 2050. The idea for a council was originally announced when Maine joined the U.S. Climate Alliance, which effectively keeps individual states in the Paris climate agreement. Mills was joined by leaders of various food industries as well as State Sen. David Woodsome. The legislation is heavily backed by conservation groups and other groups advocating for a fix to climate change. Maine Climate Council Would Lead State’s 100% Renewable Energy EffortsNorth American Windpower

 

National

This week, the U.S House passed its first major climate-focused bill, HR 9, in almost ten years. The bill would commit the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord from which the Trump administration earlier withdrew. It would require the U.S. to meet its commitments to the agreement, including cuts in greenhouse emissions, and prevent the Trump administration from using federal funds to withdraw from the agreement. HR 9 would also require the Trump administration to help ensure that other parties to the accord fulfill their contributions as well. The bill, however, is unlikely to be considered in the Senate. A Bill to Honor Paris Agreement Goals Could be the First Climate Legislation to Pass the House this Year Pacific Standard  Staking Out Battle Lines, House Votes to Keep U.S. in Paris Climate Pact – New York Times

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