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Energy Update: April 22, 2022

In the States


NM: Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and the Democrats who control New Mexico’s state government say that the goals of promoting renewable energy and protecting the state’s vital oil and gas industry are not contradictory. Governor Lujan Grisham’s administration has imposed some regulatory limits on methane emissions from oil rigs, while promoting hydrogen energy production. Fueled by wells along the Texas border and in the northwest portions of the state, New Mexico also produced more than 1.3 million barrels of oil a day in January. Meanwhile, solar and wind power capacity will reach nearly 1,300 megawatts by June, representing a tripling of the 2019 production total. More than a third of New Mexico’s state budget comes from oil and gas royalties, contributing to the close ties between Santa Fe Democrats and the oil and gas industry. This approach mirrors the recent posture of the Biden administration, which has promoted oil and gas production alongside renewable energy as the country grapples with high gas prices. New

Mexico Democrats offer an energy lesson for the partyPolitico

OK: While emphasizing the state’s strong support for the oil and gas industry, Governor Kevin Stitt highlighted the need to diversify the state’s energy and revenue sources“Back before statehood we were an energy pioneer, and we are so proud of our oil and gas industry. But oil and gas can be very cyclical, and we’ve been kind of riding these waves on commodity prices. We need to diversify,” Governor Stitt said at a press conference. Joining the Governor at the press conference was Tony Aquila, CEO of electric vehicle manufacturer Canoo, a company that recently announced a major expansion in Oklahoma. Governor Stitt noted that 40% of Oklahoma’s energy comes from renewable energy, and that the state was second in the nation for wind power production. The press conference came as the Governor pushed the state legislature to approve a round of tax credits to incentivize electric vehicle manufacturing. Oklahoma sees shift to diversified energy sourcesThe Journal Record

VA: Governor Glenn Youngkin signed a bipartisan bill creating property tax exemptions for small residential and mixed-use solar installations. Previously, Virginia law gave local governments the option to exempt solar installations from property taxes, but many did not adopt the incentive. S.B.

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686, which applies statewide, makes solar installations of less than 25 kW exempt from state and local property taxes. The bill passed the House of Delegates by a 2-to-1 margin, and the Senate unanimously. "Property tax exemptions allow solar companies of all different strokes and colors, to compete on equal footing with each other and allow consumers greater flexibility and choice in where their energy comes from," said Will Giese of the Solar Energy Industries Association. Giese also said he hoped the legislation would encourage more small-scale rooftop solar installations in rural communities. Virginia governor approves tax exemption for residential and mixed-use solar installationsUtility Dive

WI: Governor Tony Evers introduced his Clean Energy Plan, aiming to have Wisconsin use only renewable energy sources by 2050. The plan stems from an executive order issued by the Governor in 2019, which created an Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy. The 172-page document has four categories: accelerating clean energy technology, maximizing energy efficiency, modernizing buildings and industry, and innovating transportation. “If we slow down, we will continue to have floods and we will continue to have really bad outcomes with people’s health,” the Governor said. Proposals within the plan include an increase in the number of homes heated with electricity instead of gas, expansion of solar energy, and promotion of more clean energy jobs in Wisconsin. Evers unveils climate plan to be “carbon free by 2050”Channel 3000

National

The Biden administration announced the release of the first portion of $6 billion in funding to save struggling nuclear power plants from going under. The country’s 93 nuclear reactors generate half of all carbon free electricity, but many are at risk of closure in the face of competition and rising costs. The program was funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and reflects the administration’s support for prioritizing the use of existing nuclear power plants to help meet its clean energy goals. The funding is designed to be gradually released, with $1.2 billion allowed to be disbursed over the next four years. The program was strongly supported by Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who praised the administration for implementing the credits. Biden administration launches $6 billion nuclear power credit program.Reuters

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