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Energy Update, August 4

August 9, 2017

In the States

CA – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program, which provides the private sector with incentives to pollute less and requires “oil refineries, power plants, food processors and other facilities to buy permits to release greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.” The new law also requires certain industrial facilities to upgrade their old equipment with more modern technology by 2023. The Governor extended the program, which was slated to expire in 2020 and is viewed as the central feature of California’s environmental and climate change advocacy, to 2030. “California is leading the world in dealing with the principal existential threat that humanity faces,” said Governor Brown during the signing ceremony, which his predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the first cap-and-trade bill into law in 2016, also attended. Governor Brown signs law to extend cap and trade, securing the future of California’s key climate programThe Los Angeles Times

CT – Governor Dan Malloy ordered state agencies to review “the economic viability of Dominion Energy’s Millstone nuclear power plant,” one of several nuclear plants at risk of closing thanks to a surplus of cheap natural gas. Virginia-based Dominion Energy noted it had tried for months to find a solution to keep the plant operating while opponents, including other energy generating companies, argue that Millstone’s associated costs exceed its benefits and production. "We must objectively and thoroughly review and evaluate the relevant information and market conditions of the Millstone facility...in the context of reducing costs for consumers and moving our clean energy strategy forward," Governor Malloy said in a statement. "The time for a study without action has passed," Paul Koonce, chief executive of Dominion Energy Power Generation Group, said in a rebuttal. "Without action this year, prospects for continued operation of Millstone diminish.” CT Governor orders review of Millstone nuclear plant viabilityReuters

NY – As part of the statewide “Solarize” campaign, Governor Andrew Cuomo said 850 solar projects have been installed or are in development in New York. The Solarize program, according to the Governor, is “an important component in supporting the state’s Clean Energy Standard,” which was recently updated to require renewable sources to generate 50% of the state’s electricity by 2030. The hyper-local Solarize campaigns are public-private partnerships managed by community and elected officials and the private sector in order to educate and simplify the process by which consumers install clean energy generating systems. “New York continues to see unprecedented growth in the solar energy industry across the state, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing jobs, and driving economic growth," Governor Cuomo said. "By helping residents and businesses install solar energy panels, we are reducing costs for consumers and fueling the clean energy economy in New York for years to come." 850 solar projects announced across New York StateSolar Novus Today

Federal and Regional

Energy Secretary and former Governor of Texas Rick Perry announced $40 million in awards for the “the establishment of four DOE Bioenergy Research Centers, which will provide the scientific breakthroughs for a new generation of sustainable, cost-effective bioproducts and bioenergy.” The Centers, each of which will be led by a Department of Energy laboratory or a university, awarded the grants include the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center; the Center for Bioenergy Innovation; the Joint BioEnergy Institute, and; the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation. “The revolution of modern biology has opened up vast new opportunities for the energy industry to develop and utilize products derived from biomass as a sustainable resource,” said Secretary Perry.  “These centers will accelerate the development of the basic science and technological foundation needed to ensure that American industry and the American public reap the benefits of the new bio-based economy.” DOE provides $40 million in grants to bioenergy research centers

Governors Kim Reynolds of Iowa and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska testified during the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) hearing on the proposed volume obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), urging the EPA to increase the amount of advanced biofuels and cellulosic ethanol to be blended into the country’s gasoline supply. The EPA recently set ethanol levels for 2018 at about 40 million gallons below the 2017 levels and cut cellulosic biofuel requirements to 238 million gallons. “When you’re talking about the advanced biofuels, I think it’s a mistake to go backwards with regards to those targets,” said Governor Ricketts. While highlighting the impact of the cuts on jobs and the greater economy in Iowa, Governor Reynolds said “the near term future for cellulosic is much brighter than the proposed obligations.” Ricketts, Reynolds testify at EPA hearing, urge greater federal support for advanced biofuelsThe Omaha World-Herald

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