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Energy Policy Update: February 2, 2024

In the States

GA: At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp emphasized the need for increased production of clean energy to support the growing electric vehicle (EV) industry in the state. Governor Kemp highlighted Georgia's efforts, including the construction of two new nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle, as critical to meeting the clean energy demands of EV manufacturers. He stated, “We’ve done as much as anybody in the country ... but we’re going to have to have more.” Governor Kemp's focus on promoting Georgia's economic development includes showcasing its energy resources, like the reactors at Plant Vogtle, one of which is already operational. He noted that companies investing in Georgia, such as Hyundai Motor Group and Rivian Automotive, are seeking to produce with clean energy. While Governor Kemp has not advocated for closing existing fossil fuel plants, he acknowledges the industry's shift towards sustainable practices. Despite challenges, including a recent slowdown in U.S. EV sales and workforce recruitment issues, Governor Kemp remains confident in Georgia's position as a leading state for electric mobility. Georgia’s governor says more clean energy will be needed to fuel electric vehicle manufacturing


IL: Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Nexamp, a clean energy company, is set to establish its second headquarters in Chicago and invest an additional $2 billion in the state, reflecting Illinois' growing appeal in the clean energy sector. While Nexamp's decision to move to Illinois was independent, Governor Pritzker credits the state's Climate and Equitable Jobs Act of 2021, which aims to phase out fossil fuels and foster clean energy jobs, as a key incentive. He stated, “When we passed the new law, it incentivized community solar and other kinds of solar and now we have thousands of solar applications to the state, to the IPA [Illinois Power Agency], to build out new solar in the state. So it is happening. And it’s happening on its own because we incentivized it. It’s creating new electricity sources, production, new electric production in the state of Illinois without any new [tax] incentives necessary.” Nexamp's expansion, which is anticipated to create over 3,000 jobs and potentially power more than 50,000 households, is part of a series of investments by clean energy companies in Illinois, including Gotion's electric vehicle battery plant and Manner Polymers' manufacturing facility. Governor Pritzker also highlighted a fellowship program with the City Colleges of Chicago, launched by Nexamp, to support workforce development in the solar industry. Clean energy firm Nexamp to build second headquarters in Chicago—Chicago Sun Times


NM: In New Mexico, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham is spearheading an initiative to finance the treatment and recycling of wastewater from the oil industry, with the goal of developing a new water source for industrial uses and conserving the state's freshwater resources. This plan is aimed at attracting a diverse range of businesses, including microchip manufacturers and hydrogen fuel producers. To support this initiative, the state Environment Department, under Secretary James Kenney, is seeking legislative approval for up to $500 million in bonds to invest in water-treatment and desalination infrastructure. The proposal also includes a new regulatory framework for the reuse of oil-industry wastewater and desalination of naturally occurring brine, which is vital for hydraulic fracturing. This fracking technique has been instrumental in elevating New Mexico to rank as the second-highest oil production state in the U.S. The Environment Department is also inviting technical and economic insights from various sectors to support this project. The legislative session is set to conclude on February 15, by which time the necessary approvals are anticipated. New Mexico governor proposes $500M to treat fracking wastewater—Quartz 


MI: Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the establishment of the U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Center in Detroit, a collaboration with Fortescue, a global leader in zero-emission resources. This center, located at 601 Piquette Avenue, is set to bolster Detroit and Michigan's status as frontrunners in the future of mobility and vehicle electrification, creating up to 600 jobs. Governor Whitmer highlighted the significance of this development, stating, “By choosing Michigan for its first U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Center, Fortescue will create up to 600 jobs and build on our economic momentum. Report after report shows that Michigan is leading the future of advanced manufacturing and clean energy. Fortescue’s expansion in Michigan and so many of the other investments we are competing for and winning are helping us make communities across our state better places to live, work, and invest. Let’s keep our foot on the accelerator and keep delivering on the issues that make a real difference in people’s lives so anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan.” The center will focus on producing key components for the EV industry, such as batteries and hydrogen generators, with an initial $35 million investment. This project is supported by the Michigan Strategic Fund, the City of Detroit’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and various tax incentives. Detroit to become new global hub for advanced manufacturing, clean energy-- WXYZ


National: Sixteen Republican governors, led by Nebraska Governor Jim Pillen, have issued an open letter urging the Biden administration to reconsider proposed electric vehicle (EV) standards by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA's proposal aims to have over two-thirds of new cars sold in 2032 be electric as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The governors, including those from Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming, argue that this push for EVs does not align with consumer preferences and unnecessarily penalizes retailers through government mandates. They assert that while they are not opposed to the EV market, they are concerned about federal mandates that may not reflect consumer choices. The letter emphasizes the need for improved infrastructure to support domestic EV battery production, grid capacity, and charging stations. The EPA responded by stating that the proposed standards are technology-neutral and that both internal combustion engines and zero-emission vehicles are expected to play significant roles in reducing emissions. The draft rule is currently under interagency review after receiving over 250,000 public comments. No Democratic governors signed the letter. 16 Republican governors urge Biden EPA to roll back proposed electric vehicle standards—USA Today

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